Having the neighbors over can be a lot of fun, but when the neighbors are the raccoons who live in the woods behind the house, most homeowners would prefer they stay away. Critters come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but they all have one common trait: they can be destructive to a home. Homeowners should always keep an eye out for signs of unwanted pests in their home, but many people aren’t sure of what to look for. Here are some of the tell-tale signs of some of the different common household pests.
Identifying Household Insects
When it comes to insects, cockroaches are the one most people think about, but cockroaches are only the tip of the creepy-crawly iceberg. Here are some of the others insects homeowners should be watching for:
- Cockroaches: Large numbers of cockroaches will have a strong, odorous smell. They also leave skin sheddings, fecal matter, and egg shells behind.
- Termites: Homeowners will likely notice termites because of the damage they cause to a home. Look for long grooves in wooden furniture.
- Ants: Food attracts ants, so it’s common to find them in messy kitchens, especially during the summertime. Ants don’t do very much visible damage, but they’re highly visible.
- Crickets: Listen for chirping in a home, and keep an eye on garbage cans and waste bins. Crickets are attracted to garbage, and if they’re in a home, they’re bound to be close by.
Homeowners can buy insect traps and poison to place around their home, but if the infestation is too large, hiring an exterminator may be required. Homeowners should also be careful using pesticides around their home and if they have small children or pets, use an EPA registered disinfectant and pesticide spray that can safely minimize or eradicate bug problems .
Identifying Other Pests
Is there anything worse than insects in a home? Arguably, larger pests. Fortunately, it’s more difficult for larger critters to get into a home, but they can still be destructive outside and around a home. Here are some signs to look for:
- Mice: Mice have teeth that never stop growing, so they have to chew constantly to prevent them from growing too long. Look for gnawed furniture and fecal waste, and also listen for scurrying sounds, especially at night.
- Groundhogs: Look for burrows outside. Groundhogs need to dig holes large enough to fit through, and that can mean a safety hazard for feet that get stuck in them.
- Bats: Listen for chirping and scratching noises inside walls and attics. At dusk, go outside and look for bats flying as this is when they’re most active.
- Voles: Voles can be easily mistaken for mice, but they’re larger and have shorter tails. They’re commonly found tunneling through gardens, which destroys roots. Look for their tunnels, dying plants, and partially eaten plants, especially if there are vegetables growing.
While it is possible to trap animals outside a home, this can be inefficient and dangerous, especially when it's done as a DIY project and not handled like a professional. Using things like mousetraps can kill a large variety of other creatures, which can be harmful to the environment. Homeowners can hire animal trappers who use humane no-kill traps and relocate the animals after they have been captured. Leaving it to a professional also takes the danger out of the equation because the homeowner won’t have to deal with the animals themselves.
When dealing with pests, there’s a chance to deal with the problem on one’s own, but in higher numbers, it’s always best to call in an Eagle Ridge professional to help. If allowed to live in a home for too long, pests can take over, so it’s important to always keep an eye out for pest activity.