Every year, termites alone cause billions of dollars of damage in the USA.
They’re not the only guilty parties though. All types of pests can wreak havoc in your home, cause discomfort, and even spread serious diseases.
Most times, a call to a pest control expert can prevent you from becoming a victim of pest activity. The trick is knowing when to call for help.
You don’t need super-sleuthing powers to track down pest activity before it’s too late. These are the obvious, and not so obvious signs that pests are taking over your home.
1. You’re Hearing Things
Do you hear strange sounds inside your home at night? If things are going bump, squeak, or munch in the darkness, you’ve got company.
When a pest’s busy destroying your woodwork or helping themselves to your supplies, they aren’t particularly secretive about it. All that gnawing makes a tell-tale crunching sound.
Just like humans, pests need to communicate with each other regularly. They use their voices to announce their whereabouts, find a mate, and defend themselves.
We’re all familiar with the sound of crickets and mosquitoes but did you know long-horned beetles make a squeaking sound and click beetles click.
Cicadas produce an unmistakable summer symphony that’s quite pleasant – from afar. Up close, the buzzing sound they make with their wings is deafening.
If you’re hearing things in your walls or ceiling, or you can’t figure out where the sounds are coming from, a pest control expert can help silence the din and ensure a peaceful slumber and peace of mind for all.
2. There’s a Strange Smell in the Air
Pests can cause several unpleasant odors. Some of them carry food off to their lairs and lose interest in it, leaving it to rot.
If you can smell a decidedly rotten smell, search for signs of discarded food. It could lead you to a pest hiding place.
Sometimes an accumulation of droppings and urine can also cause a horrible smell. If you notice the awful smell of a rotting corpse, you’ve likely got a dead rat in one of your walls or under a cabinet.
Most pests have a type of personal odor too. You’ll start to notice these signature scents if you have large congregations of these smelly creatures in your home.
Here’s how to identify pests by their odor:
- Sweet and musty odor- bed bugs
- A urine smell – mice
- Ammonia small – rats
- Pungent oily odor – roaches
Humans’ sense of smell isn’t well developed, so if you can smell these small critters, you’ve got a big problem. It’s not always their body odor that’s the problem either.
Pest droppings can really stink up the place when they start to accumulate.
3. A Trail of Evidence
Rats and mice mark their territory, so you’ll notice a urine smell wherever they’ve staked a claim in your home. They’ll also scatter their droppings as they gnaw on your earthly belongings and your food.
Mouse droppings look like black sesame seeds or grains of rice, and rats produce a larger version of the same. Cockroach droppings look similar but vary according to the size of the roach.
If you notice cockroach droppings, get help right away, they can cause asthma attacks in susceptible people.
Since bed bugs live off blood, you’ll notice a coppery smell wherever they’ve left their droppings – usually on your mattress, sheets, and upholstery.
Flies decorate every surface they land on with tiny black splatters.
Termite droppings, called frass, look like shavings. You’ll usually find them piled up outside holes in wood. That’s because termites push their droppings out of their tunnels.
You might notice these piles of tiny droppings on windowsills, wooden banisters, in your basement, or a quiet corner of a room.
Don’t assume you’ve got termites; carpenter bees also leave shavings behind when they harvest bits of wood from your home. Rather get an expert to identify the source of the problem and treat it correctly.
4. Unexplained Dirt and Grime
Pests grovel around in the filthiest of places. So, they’re inclined to leave a trail of grime behind them as they forage.
Have you noticed that your home seems to get dirty overnight after a thorough cleaning, or your walls are always caked in grime no matter how often you clean? You could have a serious pest problem.
Pests don’t clean up after themselves either. They’ll leave bits of discarded food, crumbs, and even hair as they move around your home.
If you follow these trails of dirt, you might find their hiding places or nests.
5. There are Body Parts Lying Around
Many insects have an exoskeleton that doesn’t increase in size as they grow. That means they must shed this hard outer layer so they can move on to the next phase of their life.
You might notice these shells or other body parts like wings, legs, and limbs lying around your house.
At the end of their short lives, bugs simply roll over and die, so you might even find entire beetles, cockroaches, and other pests littered throughout your home.
Spider webs are an obvious sign that you’ve got eight-legged guests sharing your home. You might not even notice these tiny translucent threads unless they catch a ray of sunlight or the arachnid’s next meal.
Often, dead bugs attract more predatory bugs to feast on their remains, so don’t simply sweep them up and forget about it. Call a pest control service to get to the root of the problem and resolve it.
6. Things Are Going Missing
Rats and mice help themselves to anything they can find when they’re building their nests. Usually, they’ll tear off tiny scraps of paper, stuffing, or upholstery.
They’re not averse to stealing anything they find lying around if they can carry it off. So, if you’re missing a glove or a sock (who isn’t?) you could be unknowingly feathering a resident rodent’s nest.
You’re likely to find these lost items tucked away in quiet spaces like your crawl space, attic, underneath your flooring, or between your walls.
7. Something’s Eating Your Belongings
Rodents also chew things for their own survival. Their teeth grow constantly, and if they don’t wear them down enough, they’ll starve to death.
So, if you notice clusters of groove-shaped bits on your wooden furniture, that’s a sign that a rat’s been sharpening its teeth on your stuff. They’re not averse to drywall, baseboards, and insulation either.
Get in touch with a pest control company before they reduce your home to splinters.
Another pest that springs to mind right away at any mention of wood is the termite. Keep tabs on your woodpile, porch, fences, and other wooden items. If you notice small tunnels, pinholes, frass, or discarded wings, you could have the beginnings of a termite problem.
You probably won’t spot the culprits themselves, so get help identifying the source of your wood damage before things get out of control. Termites multiply extremely quickly and they’re a lot easier to deal with in small numbers.
Outside pests are difficult to identify unless you see them at work. It’s easy to tell if you’ve got unwanted garden visitors as they’ll chew your plants’ leaves and flowers. You’ll need an expert to advise you on the best course of action though.
A word of caution – always hire a pest control service that uses safe, eco-friendly pest control measures. Every garden needs some bugs, and you want to keep your pets and children safe too.
8. Something’s Eating You!
If you walk up in the morning covered in bites, there are a few things that could have snacked on your blood during the night. Mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and bed bugs survive on blood.
While most of these bites will swell and itch immediately, bed bug bites usually only flare up hours after the fact. This devious trick means you could sleep with these critters for some time before you realize what’s eating you.
Bed bugs are rarely caught in the act due to this delayed response. So, if you develop unexplained itchy bites during the day, check your mattress.
It’s easier than you think to end up with a bed bug problem and they get out of hand quickly. What’s more, they can survive for months without a blood meal and their feeding habits are random.
So, they might leave you alone for months at a time, lulling you into a false sense of security. In the meantime, they’re multiplying by the thousands.
Tick bites are painful at first but they’re not particularly itchy and you’re unlikely to know the source unless you catch the critter in the act. Always check yourself for ticks if you’ve been hiking or walking in the long grass.
These creatures can transmit Lyme disease via their bites. So, if you don’t go out in nature and you get bitten, get an expert to check your yard for these critters.
They usually hang around the doghouse, play structures, and treehouses.
9. They’re Coming Out of the Woodwork
The most obvious signs of a pest infestation are the pests themselves. If ants are marching one by one around your home, you need to call for help.
Few pests exist in isolation, and visible pests are sure signs to call pest control services. If you see one, there are surely more in hiding somewhere.
A lone praying mantis or moth is usually no reason for concern. Simply release them back into the wild and get on with your life. Most other pests multiply rapidly, so it only takes two to start an infestation.
Even spiders, which usually operate on their own, produce hundreds of eggs in a sitting, so it’s easy for their numbers to get out of hand.
10. Signs They’re Multiplying
Rats aren’t the only insects that will set themselves up for life in your home. Insect nests are at the heart of any pest problem.
Keep tabs on hideaway areas of your home for signs of nest building, like accumulations of fabric and wood scraps. Other nesting insects include bees and wasps.
You should never attempt to deal with bees on your own. Any disturbance can harm these fragile creatures and it’s imperative to preserve as many as we can. Bee removal is a job for the experts.
11. DIY Pest Control Isn’t Working
Knowing when to call pest control services is vital to keep your family and the environment safe. Most commercially available pesticides contain ingredients that kill unintended species and might have toxic consequences for children and pets.
So, if you can’t swat it or remove it from your home safely, leave it alone and call for professional help. Professional pest control services know all the most effective ways to remove pests safely without harming your family, pets, or the ecosystem.
Make Informed Decisions
It’s tempting to save money on professional pest control solutions by trying homemade concoctions to get rid of household pests. There’s no harm in trying, but you’re bound to end up frustrated.
What’s more, most of these pests will continue multiplying unabated while you waste your time with ineffective measures. So, don’t sit on the fence about calling pest control when you notice any of the above phenomena in your home.
The quicker you get the help you need, the cheaper and more effective it is.
Do you have more household problems to solve and not sure where to start? Browse our blog for a wide range of solutions to everyday issues.