Keeping Pests Out of Your Home: What You Need to Know

| April 4, 2016 | 0 Comments

household pestsBirds, bats, rodents, insects—these are all things that we’d rather not see in our homes, yet sometimes they seem to find their way indoors. What do you do then? The world of pest control can get complicated, as some pests call for an exterminator while others call for animal control or a specialized remover.

There exists a wide variety of pests that could wreak havoc on your home, so here is a look at some of the most common household pests.

Ants

How to identify them: Ants might be easy to spot since they tend to gather around stray food crumbs, but you can’t always see them. They are tiny to the naked eye, after all; tend to travel along crevices; and can hide in your lawn, walls, or foundation.

Some signs of an ant infestation include exposed food overrun by ants, stray ants in unusual places in the home, and ant nests located outside close to the home.

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Why they’re problematic: Ant colonies reproduce very quickly, so it’s important to address an ant infestation as quickly as possible. An infestation of ants isn’t necessarily dangerous, but it is a terrible nuisance.

What to do about them: Proper sanitation and food storage can reduce your ant problem (and prevent future ant problems), but ultimately it’s best to call a pest management professional who can identify the cause of the problem, determine which type of ant has invaded your home, and spray your property.

Bats

How to identify them: Bats most commonly take refuge in tiled roofs and attics. They are most active at night, so listen for noises in your attic and roof at this time, and look for them entering and leaving your home at dusk. Bats also leave behind foul smelling droppings, so a bat problem will likely become apparent very quickly. You might also begin to see a brown or black stain where they are entering and leaving your home, as the oils from their fur can leave behind a residue

Why they’re problematic: As this article states, bats chew through wood, wiring, insulation, and more and can therefore cause significant damage to your home. They can also carry rabies and other harmful diseases.

What to do about them: You’ll need to a hire a trained professional who specializes in removing bats humanely, as there are laws protecting bats. It’s best to follow up with a roofing professional as well since they can damage your roofing structure.

Birds

Blue Rock ThrushHow to identify them: You can usually identify birds nesting in your roof or attic by listening for their chirping sounds early in the morning.

Why they’re problematic: Bird droppings can actually wear away at your roofing materials, eventually causing leaks. Moreover, bird nests can clog your gutters and drains, and their nests can actually become a fire hazard since the materials they use are highly flammable. The birds themselves can carry a number of harmful diseases as well.

What to do about them: Certain species of birds have laws protecting them, so you should check local laws first to see if you can legally move the nests. When in doubt, it’s best to call a critter control professional about your bird problem.

Rats and mice

Common house mouse looks out from a mink in the wallHow to identify them: Rats and mice commonly take shelter in the roofing structures and attics of homes, as well. You can detect mouse or rat infestation by listening for scratching or scurrying sounds in your roofing area at night.

Why they’re problematic: Mice and rats can damage your home significantly by gnawing on wood, plumbing, wiring, and other household items in order to keep their teeth sharp. Their droppings can also be a tremendous nuisance.

What to do about them: This is another problem for pest control (yep, they handle more than insects!) Mousetraps are, of course, another option, but you never know how widespread your rodent problem may be. It’s best to follow up with a roofing professional as well since they can damage your roofing structure.

Spiders

How to identify them: Spiders tend to be visible to the naked eye, so chances are if there is a spider problem, you know about it. Even still, many spiders do hide in dark areas, so it’s possible for some time to pass before you notice a problem.

Why they’re problematic: Spiders are a scary nuisance, of course, but their bites can also be harmful. Some types of spiders even have fatal bites.

What to do about them: This is another problem from a pest management professional.

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Termites

How to identify them: Drywood termites tend to hide in the framing, furniture, and hardwood flooring of homes, so you may have to look for signs of damage in order to identify their presence. Signs include hollow sounding wood in your home, frass (termite droppings), cracked paint, and mud tubes on exterior walls.

Why they’re problematic: Termites can cause damage to a number of areas in the home because of their tendency to chew through wood. Ultimately they can undermine your home’s structure completely.

What to do about them: This is clearly a problem for pest control. It’s best to follow up with a home contractor if as well because of the damage they can do to your home. To prevent termite infestations, you’ll want to eliminate moisture problems in the home, keep firewood away from your foundation, and place screens on outside vents.

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