Old rural homes + bugs- what to tell guests

Hi all-

Looking for some suggested description language to explain that although we have regular preventative exterminator treatments and thoroughly clean + check our 2 Airbnb’s… they’re also each 200 years old and very rural. So the occasional bug(s) are just part of the country experience lol.

Background: Twice we’ve gotten guests this summer from NYC who have commented that there were some bugs and marked us down pretty low for cleanliness after they left because of it. Otherwise we have perfect 5’s, we honestly do everything we can to stop any from coming inside but the occasional spider or insect is inevitable here.


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Exterminating bugs does not mean an armed guard patrols the perimeter of your property with a can of bug spray. It means that you have temporarily treated the area from a specific date. Spider webs (for example) can be spun in less than an hour. Guests who think that a spider web is a sign of dirty housekeeping need education.

I always tell a guest who finds a dead bug “Thanks for telling me! Looks like the extermination process is working!”


Spiders are good guys, I don’t even kill them in my house anymore.

Maybe you could add something early in the description. “This is our much-loved older home in a rural area. You may see wildlife in the yard and the occasional outdoor insect making an indoor appearance. If that makes you squeamish, this is not the booking for you!”

Then if you get a public comment critiquing the insect population, you can, if you choose to answer at all, cite the quote from your listing.


Love this! Great idea, I don’t want any more squeamish city folk who freak over a spider :rofl:


You could add “We do use pest control services regularly, but are careful not to overuse toxic chemicals in and around the house.”

Then your complainers look like wusses AND environmental cretins! And you appear (and are) eminently reasonable.


I have an 100 year old house and I too have gotten these complaints - ants after it rains a lot and off course always spiders. Here’s what I put in my listing now:

  1. The house is over 100 years old located in New England and while we work very hard to keep the suite clean it’s possible during unusually warm weather in the winter and thaws and rain in the spring, a bug might sneak in. (IE: Spider,lady bug, ants or even a bee). None of these bugs are harmful and we are happy to remove them, vacuum and spray with non-toxic essential oils if something has snuck in. Also, because there are conservation lands at the top of our street, there is also wildlife such as coyotes, foxes, turkeys, skunks, ground hogs, fisher cats, deer, raccoons, squirrels, moles, and others. Most of these wildlife are never seen and they keep to the woods but an occasional spotting is possible.

Our place is in south west Spain, and dates from around 1740, which means bugs and shit are simply what it is.

We have geckos throughout the building, we have ants from June until September and we have fuck off great cockroachs for half off the year.

Fumigation etc doesn’t work, we’re in the old historic centre where some of our sewers are still several hundred years old.

I got a slap round the lug from my OH last week when I suggested that if guests mention the cockroachs, I say to them “don’t worry, they tend to die quite quickly by the time they reach the apartment, so just leave them and the ants will deal with them” :rofl:

So off I went and flushed all the drains with an amoníaco solution! Keeps them at bay for a while!

Still get 5* on Airbnb and a 10 on BDC for cleanliness :relaxed:



I once found a mouse head and guts in the corner of my kitchen behind a spare chair, that my cat had left, but at first I couldn’t figure out what it was, because it was teeming with ants. I just left it there and it had been completely devoured by the next morning :crazy_face:

Luckily I didn’t have a guest in residence at the time (if I had, I would have cleaned it up)


We have some creepy, harmless things called firebrats. They are almost translucent and incredibly quick. Then come the stink bugs and an occasional bunch of ladybugs. Our house was built in 1811. I see spider webs but rarely the spiders. When I had it inspected prior to purchase in 2000 the exterminator told me he found dead bugs in hidden places that were probably older than I was. I don’t mention the bugs in my description or when I walk people around. However, if I’ve had a run of multiple sightings inside I warn people. They should be more concerned about the ticks and mosquitos outside.


If I’m honest, I actually find ants fascinating little creatures. I remember one time last year when they’d got a hold of a dead beetle, maybe an inch or so in length, and were gradually carrying up a wall. It was such a precise exercise that I stood and watched them for ages. Sadly, as it was within our guest area, so I had to zap them and sweep them up.

There are so many little nooks and crannies in our old building that we know we’ll never eradicate them completely, so from around June through to September it’s a case of encouraging guests not to leave food out and to sweep up crumbs etc.

Ants and cockroaches in the summer are just part of the joys of living in this neck of the woods, although some years it is worse than others. We’ve been fine for cockroaches until last year, but after chatting to others here, it appeared that we’d just been lucky the previous years :rofl:

Hot humid summers and a privatised water company who don’t fumigate the sewers often enough make the perfect breeding ground!

So far, we’ve been fortunate, only one guest has mentioned anything, and they did it privately, unlike this property:

Check out some of the reviews! Hosts like this give us all a bad name.


If you had more squeamish NYC folks (as we apparently do) you probably wouldn’t lol.

I do thorough checks before guests arrive (after our cleaning person) and after they depart - there was 1 spider web in the corner and I found 2 dead beetles in the entire home after they left.

Nothing else was considered “unclean” by the guests (I followed up). Some people just have ridiculous expectations of a 200 year old country cottage.

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My 83 year old house has tiny beetles every spring, and sometimes other insects, as well as spiders. I have wood floors, and every spring I sprinkle diatomaceous earth powder along all the baseboards and use a rattail brush to sweep the DT into the cracks. This creates a barrier that will kill or disable many of the critters.

I do keep bedbug traps as detectors under each bed and check them after each guest. They use a pheromone which occasionally attracts those beetles.


Oooh I’ll try this trick!!

Several nice things about diatomaceous earth:

  • Not toxic.
  • Effective against most crawling insects and spiders
  • Easy to apply
  • Easy to vacuum up excess
  • Easy to find & purchase
  • Cheap

I used diatomaceous earth inside when the dogs got fleas, on upholstery, floorboards and even brushed through the dogs’ coats (but keep away from face so they don’t inhale it), and a hose sprayer with beneficial nematodes outside. Worked well and no toxic stuff needed.

Unfortunately not in Mexico where I live. My local nursery had never heard of it. I brought some down from Canada.

I have never used it in the house, but use it in the garden. I had a problem with something called tomato root nematode, a bad type of nematode that destroys not only the tomato plants, but did in my root crops, too. Last season I worked some DE into the soil and it worked.

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Bugs! We have a request for all of our guests - the scorpions keep the other pests down, please do not pet them or try and take them home. Also, shake out your shoes in the morning. Daddy longlegs are another crowd pleaser. Only had a couple of guests who were really perturbed. We let everyone know this is the country, that we are guests in the critters’ home, and to try and not disturb them as much as possible. Look, take pictures, identify, but don’t mess with them. Also recommend iNaturalist so they can actually learn about the critters here on the farm.


We are in the boonies so this is what our listing says: “We are very rural and surrounded by national forest. We keep the cottage very clean (check our reviews) but you might hear the chirp of a cricket in the bathroom or find a moth fluttering near the porch light or lamp by the bed. Nature’s local residents are our neighbors.” Works for us.


Love this!! Our biggest issue we battle is small spiderwebs and the perception of some city guests that it’s not acceptable or unclean. We always have the cottage professionally cleaned and then do a check the day of arrival to make sure there aren’t any issues/cobwebs (plus we have regular preventative exterminator treatments). They just love the corners of old homes and can spin a web so quickly after it’s brushed away.


We’ve only had one couple who were clearly city slickers. Everyone else comes here to hike and bird so they are outdoors people and used to an occasional creepy crawler. For that I am very thankful. Oh, and it helps that I’m married to an entomologist. LOL