Household Pests 101: How to Identify and Combat a Pest Infestation

Rohan Mathew

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Are those rodent droppings in your kitchen? If you see spiders in your home, does it mean you are infested? And how can you tell if you have bed bugs?

You’ve got lots of questions about household pests. And we have the answers.

In this guide, you’ll learn to spot the signs of a home pest infestation and get valuable pest control tips. Learn all you wanted to know about common household pests (and then some) by reading this guide.

  1. Flies

Flies are one of the most common household pests, and the easiest to spot. Unlike other pests, they don’t hide their presence, avoiding daylight and humans. In fact, they make a habit of getting right in your face and landing anywhere on your body.

Besides being highly annoying, flies can pose a health hazard to members of the household. Some species can transmit diseases to humans, including E. coli, Salmonella, dysentery, and cholera. And some, including deer flies and horse flies, give you painful bites that turn into itchy red bumps.

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Spotting a Fly Infestation

Many geographical areas have annual seasons of increased fly populations. During these seasons, many flies enter your home every time you open a door or window.

Thus, seeing lots of flies in your home doesn’t necessarily indicate an infestation. But, when you seem to have more flies inside than you see outside, and their numbers keep increasing, it’s likely they’re breeding in your home.

Flies feed on rotting organic material, so they often breed around trash, pet habitats, and the kitchen sink. Look for areas in the home where they seem to be more concentrated.

Combating a Fly Infestation

Use fly ribbons to decrease the excess fly population and replace them as needed. If you know of any nests in your home, destroy them.

Only use lidded trash cans. Keep trash areas, pet habitats, food prep areas, and your dinner table clean at all times.

In fact, do a deep cleaning of your home. This will probably wipe out any nests, anyway.

Alternatively, or if this doesn’t work, call professional exterminators.

  1. Ants

There are around 1,000 different species of ants in North America. And these species differ in size, color, behavior, and diet.

Thus, the specific way that ants infest your home varies greatly between species. You could even be infested by multiple species at once.

They can ruin everything in your pantry and swarm your home. And they’re a constant source of paranoia every time you sit on your couch or take a bite of food.

Spotting an Ant Infestation

Typically, you’ll see ants swarming or marching in lines. Sometimes you may spot only one or two scouts, blazing the trail for the others to follow.

You may see ant nests as small dirt hills in your yard. Although, some household ants like to nest in walls, electrical outlets, or other secluded areas of your home.

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Combating an Ant Infestation

You may wish to spray ant repellent around doors and windows to limit the ways that ants can enter your home. But there are still other ways for them to get in, like cracks and air vents.

For that reason, the best solution is poisoned ant bait. You can find these at most stores, even the grocery store.

Lay the ant bait in their path, against the walls, and/or in corners of your floor. Then, let them be for a couple of weeks.

Don’t try to kill or remove the ants during this time. You need the ants to take the bait back to their nest to destroy the whole colony for good.

You may want to try different types/brands of bait to make sure you use one that works. Or, call the exterminator.

  1. Bed Bugs

Bed bugs may be the creepiest pest on our list. They live secretly in your bed and wait for you to fall asleep so they can feed on your blood. Then, when you wake up, you’re covered in itchy bite marks.

The good news is, the bites do not transmit diseases and aren’t seriously harmful to most people. Although, some people may react to the bites with hives or even blisters.

Spotting a Bed Bug Infestation

Bites aren’t a sure sign. Many bugs may bite you in the night. You’re also unlikely to spot live bed bugs as they’re unbelievably good at hiding.

You can, however, spot their droppings. They look like little black dots, like ballpoint pen marks, on your sheets and other bedding.

You also may find their shed skins. Unexplained blood spots on your bedding are another telltale sign.

Combating a Bed Bug Infestation

While it’s possible to remove a bed bug infestation on your own, it’s also extremely daunting. First, you need to identify all areas of infestation. Then, you need to completely clean out your bed area.

Remove any items under or near your bed. Seal any loose wallpaper or cracks in the wall by your bed.

Next, kill the bed bugs. They’re surprisingly easy to kill with heat above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wash your bedding and pillows and dry in the dryer on high heat. Steam clean your mattress and the carpets in your room.

As if all this wasn’t enough, the main problem is that, as we said, they’re very good at hiding. After all this, you might still miss one or two bed bugs. Then, the colony starts all over again.

It’s a much better idea to leave it to professionals, like Custom Bed Bug.

  1. Spiders

Spider infestations vary as much as ant infestations. And, while spiders’ numbers are smaller, they may be a more serious threat.

While most species aren’t dangerous, others can cause uncomfortable symptoms and, in extreme cases, death. Some of the more dangerous species, like black widows, are actually very common in some areas.

The good news, however, is that spiders are very territorial. So if you have one dangerous spider in your home, you’re unlikely to have any others nearby.

In other words, if you have a large population of spiders in your home, they’re not likely to cause you much harm. Still, due to their creepy, crawly appearance, this comes as small comfort to most of us.

Spotting a Spider Infestation

As stated, spiders are territorial. So you’re likely to only see one at a time. But if this happens a lot in your home, it’s most likely an infestation.

Other signs of spider infestations are excessive spider webs, cobwebs, and egg sacks. The egg sacks look like dime-sized puffs of white cotton candy.

Combating a Spider Infestation

An effective, name-brand, spider-killing insecticide should wipe out all spiders in any areas that you spray. Of course, that’s the catch. Spiders tend to nest where no one can see or reach them.

For this reason, it’s best to hire professional pest control to handle spider infestations. Only they can wipe out spider populations in the most secret places in your home, like within the siding of your exterior walls.

However, there’s a little-known and hilarious trick you can try to scare all spiders away from your home. Get a pet tarantula.

Remember how we said spiders are territorial? It’s said that they can sense the presence of a tarantula in your home. And no other spider around will want to invade that territory.

  1. Mice and Rats

Wild rodents of every kind are notorious for transmitting rabies and other dangerous diseases. Besides that, they might bring other pests with them into your home, like fleas and ticks.

Furthermore, they can damage your belongings and your home. They work hard to literally tear down your home so they can rebuild it their own way.

Your books and family photos are shredded to build their nests. They might even gnaw through walls, insulation, and wiring, which is very dangerous.

Spotting a Rodent Infestation

Rodents leave a lot of droppings. Older droppings are hard and greyish.

If you see lots of dark, squishy droppings around, that means they’re fresh. Therefore, you have live rodents in your home. If they haven’t started nesting already, they soon will.

Rodents like to travel via familiar pathways. You’ll see long dirty smudges and/or footprints on their runways.

Rats are mostly odorless. But mice give off a distinct musky smell. You may also detect the stench of their dead or their urine.

Lastly, shredded material, gnaw marks, and scratching noises (especially at night) in your home indicate a rodent infestation.

Combating a Rodent Infestation

Since rodents can carry disease, it’s not advisable that you go ravaging the nest on your own. And mousetraps/DIY fumigation products can be as hazardous as the infestation itself.

There are some traps you can buy that are safe for your family and pets. But it’s anyone’s guess how well they’ll work for your infestation.

Rather than waiting and hoping/trial and error, you’re better off calling in the professional exterminators.

Remember This Guide When Dealing With Household Pests

Did you spot any of these signs in your home? If you do suspect you have household pests, remember the tips in this guide. Also, share this guide if you know someone else who needs help with pest control.

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