Research shows the most hated bug in the US


October 20, 2021

When it comes to bugs, insects, and any other sort of creepy crawler, most of us would agree that fewer is better. Some bugs, however, seem to elicit a much stronger negative reaction in people than others, according to a recent survey that set out to find the most hated bug in the United States.

Pest Strategies, a trusted online resource to help people handle their pest problems, surveyed 3,543 U.S. adults from Feb. 25, 2021 to March 5, 2021, asking them to choose the pest they disliked the most from a list of 20 common bugs found in the U.S.: cockroaches, bed bugs, spiders, mosquitos, ticks, centipedes, wasps, fleas, scorpions, ants, termites, hornets, yellow jackets/bees, silverfish, house flies, crickets, fruit flies, gnats, cicadas and beetles. Respondents included 1,721 women, 1,783 men and 39 who preferred not to say their gender. The estimated margin of error was 2 percent.

10. Fleas

Despite its common name, the cat flea loves dogs and cats equally. PHOTO: COOPDER1/E+/GETTY IMAGES


Respondents who hate them the most: 2.2 percent

Of the more than 3,500 people surveyed, 2.2 percent said fleas are the bug that they hate the most. Women seem to have a particular disdain for the pet fur dwellers, as 2.9 percent of them said fleas were their least favorite bug, while only 1.6 percent of men gave the same response.

9. Scorpions

Respondents who hate them the most: 2.6 percent

While scorpions are only a realistic concern of people living in certain parts of the country — primarily the southwest — 2.6 percent of respondents still claim the stinging insect as their least favorite. Men and women align pretty closely on that opinion at 2.5 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.

8. Ants

Respondents who hate them the most: 2.8 percent

While ants may not seem like the scariest bug on this list, anyone who has had an ant infestation in their home can attest to the unpleasantness of the tiny hard workers. Men, it seems, dislike them even more than women. According to the survey, 3.4 percent of men say ants are their most hated insect, compared with only 2.2 percent of women.

7. Centipedes

Respondents who hate them the most: 4.4 percent

According to the Pest Strategies survey, not only were centipedes the least favorite bug of 4.4 percent of all respondents, they are the most hated bug in the state of Hawaii. The Aloha State was the only state in the entire country where centipedes topped the list.

6. Wasps



Respondents who hate them the most: 4.8 percent

Wasps certainly aren’t the friendliest insects one could hope to encounter. And if you’ve ever been stung by one, you know how much it, well, stings. Still, the threatening pests were named as the most hated bug by less than five percent of respondents.

5. Ticks

Respondents who hate them the most: 6.1 percent

Ticks may not seem as scary as scorpions or spiders, per say, but when you consider the fact that they are responsible for the spread of Lyme disease, you understand why 6.1 percent of survey respondents named them as their most hated bug. They are also the least liked insect in the entire state of Maine, Pest Strategies found.

4. Mosquitoes

Respondents who hate them the most: 12.2 percent

Is there anything more annoying than trying to enjoy a nice summer night outside with friends only to be completely taken out of the moment because you’re getting eaten alive by mosquitoes? Not that we can think of. That’s why the pestersome bloodsuckers are the fourth most hated bug in all of the U.S., and the most hated in four states: Iowa, Kansas, Montana and Pennsylvania.

3. Bed bugs

Respondents who hate them the most: 12.7 percent

Not only are bed bugs the third most hated bug in the U.S., they are the second most hated by women (13.9 percent) and the fourth by men (11.6 percent). They are also the least liked bug in Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

2. Spiders

Respondents who hate them the most: 13.3 percent

What is it about spiders that never fails to make your skin crawl? There is just something creepy about those eight-legged arachnids that you’d probably just rather not think about. Whatever it is, the dislike of spiders seems to be something many of us can agree on. According to the survey results, they are the second most hated bug in the U.S. (13.3 percent) and the third most hated amongst both men (13.5 percent) and women (13 percent).

1. Cockroaches



Respondents who hate them the most: 27.3 percent

The most hated bug in the U.S. by a long shot is the cockroach. In addition to 27.3 percent of all respondents naming cockroaches as their least favorite creepy crawler, the insect is also the most hated in 29 out of 50 states, and the most abhorred bug by both men (24.1 percent) and women (30.6 percent).

How does this list measure up to your customers’ most-hated pests? We want to know! Comment below or drop us a line at


About the Author

Ellen Wagner is a former digital editor for PMP magazine.

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