Japan Today
Image: iStock/ kuppa_rock

Common bugs in Japan and how to get rid of them

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By Elizabeth Sok

Cherry blossoms erupting in full bloom usually signal the end of winter and the beginning of warmer weather. While this transition is beautiful, it also has an unfortunate side: the start of the long bug season. Common bugs in Japan are often associated with its more humid months in July and August. Still, some creepy crawlers make their first appearances as early as April and stick around well into the autumn.

The last thing you want to see in your new home or apartment in Japan is unwelcome guests. And, although most drugstores have remedies to get rid of the pests, we also think there’s room for co-existence (except with cockroaches).

So, we’ll introduce some insects that may be causing you trouble, especially in the spring and summer seasons, and how to manage them and when to get rid of an infestation quickly.

1. Gokiburi (Cockroaches)

Image: iStock/ Antagain

Gokiburi are one of the more unpleasant pests to come across in Japan. They can be especially active during the summer. Cockroaches are commonly found near garbage disposal areas, lurking in entranceways, nibbling on kitchen scraps or drinking water in your sink.


  • Avoid leaving dirty dishes overnight in your sink, and regularly clean your kitchen floors and surfaces.
  • Wear gloves when removing dead cockroaches, as their bodies carry harmful bacteria.
  • If you plan to vacuum the roach carcasses, it’s best to immediately throw away the bag or empty the canister, as the bugs may be carrying eggs that can hatch later.
  • Place poisoned bait around your home.

Lethal Removal

Non-lethal Removal

2. Dani (Dust Mites)

This pest may reduce your home’s air quality. Image: iStock/ Nataliia Yankovets

Although not visible to the naked eye, this pest may reduce your home’s air quality. Dust mites enjoy warm temperatures (between 25-30 ℃) and high humidity (around 60-70%), so expect that as temperatures increase, so will their growth numbers. They are particularly troublesome for people who suffer from allergies or who have asthma.


  • Regular vacuuming of floors and carpets, and cleaning dusty areas will help reduce the amount of dust mites in your home.
  • Wash bedding frequently and place futons and pillows in the sun, as high heat and UV light can kill dust mites.

Lethal Removal

3. Jinsanshibanmushi (Drugstore Beetle)

These beetles are often found in bags of rice or flour. Image: iStock/ Tomasz Klejdysz

Click here to read more.

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No mention of Centipedes, Wasps or hornets in or around the home.

The articles critters while certainly troublesome can be more easily handled than the trio I mentioned.

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