What pests can hurt your home and how to know what to look for

Bed bugs and rodents and lice, Oh my! These are just a few of the great many common household pests that plague millions of homeowners each year. Not only are pests annoying to live with, they can also end up being awfully expensive to eradicate or clean up after. Pest infestation can cause expensive damage to your home if not treated properly. Ignoring even everyday pests, like squirrels or mice, can be very costly down the road.

Squirrels

Squirrels are so familiar to us that some homeowners tend to look the other way until the damage has gone from minor to major. Squirrels are usually looking to find a way into your attic space by any means possible, which means chewing through your soffits and siding. If you see any evidence of their entrance to your home, or hear them moving around in your attic, it is best to immediately contact a professional. An expert can assess where the squirrels are entering the home, whether they have offspring in the attic, and then plan a course of action to trap the squirrels and relocate them. It is very hard to effectively get rid of squirrels yourself. Along with mice and rats, squirrels are responsible for a quarter of all indeterminable house fires, so it is imperative to act promptly when dealing with these pests.

Mice & Rats

Rodents pose a great health risk to your family as well as damaging your home in the process. Mice and various species of rats carry a slew of viral and bacterial diseases wherever they go, which usually will be where your food is stored and prepared. Salmonella in your pantry is not a good thing! Signs of rodents include droppings and gnaw marks on food containers or electrical wires. An exterminator can determine points of entrance. They will give you options as far as snap traps, glue traps, and humane ways to eradicate. It is not recommended to use poison as means of elimination. Poison comes with obvious risks, as well as the high probability of not being able to locate the rodents once they expire.

Termites

The most invasive insect when it comes to home damage is undoubtedly the termite. Termites cause over five billion dollars of property damage each year in the United States. To add insult to injury, the damage is not usually covered by insurance. Termite infestations can be identified through their droppings, which look similar to sawdust. Noticeable holes in wood, wood that sounds hollow when tapped, and sagging floorboards can all help to determine the presence of termites. There are different species of termites, so you should contact a professional to figure out the most effective method of extermination before structural damage to your home becomes severe.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs are extremely intrusive once they become present in a residence. Bed bugs are known to most frequently hide in the seams and crevices of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards. They can also be found underneath baseboards or behind loose wallpaper. Bed bugs are a huge inconvenience. Most homeowners experience highly undesirable living conditions that make sleeping almost impossible. It is very easy to spot bed bugs through red stains on mattresses and sheets, a musty odor, or the presence of eggs, egg shells, or live bugs. Infestations are also commonly first discovered by the unsightly bites bed bugs leave on hapless sleepers, ick! Removing bed bugs will need to be done by an experienced professional to avoid further infestation and damage.

Bees & Wasps

Hives will generally be spotted outside of your home, though it is also possible for them to construct their hives inside of your home. Either way, these pests can be dangerous as well as destructive. While bees are more of an annoyance than anything, due to the threat of being stung, they should not be ignored. Carpenter bees can cause extensive damage tunneling through wood over time. Honey bees won’t cause as much damage, but removal of the hive will require a professional due to its dangerous nature. Wasps are much more aggressive and should be treated with even more caution. The removal of the hive is imperative not only to avoid sting attacks but also to prevent it from attracting other pests like moths and rodents.

Ants, cockroaches & beetles

Run of the mill pests like ants, cockroaches, and beetles are extremely bothersome and can sometimes be very hard to get under control. There are several types of ant baits that can be very effective, but it depends on what kind of ant you’re dealing with. Common household ants can usually be treated with simple gels or traps, while fire ants and carpenter ants may require different means to eliminate. Ants can cause electrical problems or eat through insulation, requiring costly construction fixes that will be greater than the cost of an exterminator. Cockroaches are a different story as they carry serious diseases such as salmonella and dysentery. Their presence calls for immediate action.

Other pests

There are a slew of other household pests that can intrude into your life and cause major issues. Bats, snakes, and moles are common, while other pests may be rare and hard to get rid of. A qualified pest control expert should be contacted in these cases.

Warning signs

There are usually noticeable signals that can identify pest problems. Kitchens, laundry rooms, and garages are the typical locations to find signs of bugs and vermin. Actual sightings of pests can alert you to their presence, but more frequently homeowners will see droppings, eggs, nests, or carcasses. There can also be certain smells and sounds that are recognizable as signs of infestations. The smell of ammonia can mean mice or rats, musty odors come with bed bugs, and roaches commonly smell oily.  Any sounds of movement, scratching, gnawing, or squealing in walls or ceilings are indicators of rodents or large bugs. It is important to take notice of holes inside or outside of your home, chewed up wires or furniture, and burrows in garbage or overgrown areas outside of your home. Be aware of any dark tracks along walls or footprints that mice and rats can leave behind.

What to do

When you are faced with a pest problem, you can attempt to resolve the problem yourself, but it is much more reliable to let a professional take care of the problem. A professional extermination will make sure that the entire infestation is eradicated. They will be able to correctly diagnose the exact species of pest that is afflicting you and the best course of action to guarantee you remain pest free. There are certain measures that you should take to maintain your pest-free home such as sealing open spaces like door sweeps, making sure garbage is tightly sealed, and carefully storing food.

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