You’ve probably developed strategies for getting unwanted guests out of your home — talk about something boring, yawn really loudly, or insist on a creepy group hug. You may have some unwanted guests that you don’t know about, and those are the ones that take more effort to get rid of. Watch for signs that the following pests have taken up residence in your home.
Image via Flickr by Steve Smith
Cockroaches have a distinctive appearance, so a sighting makes it obvious that you have a problem. However, cockroaches are nocturnal and don’t usually show up during the day, so look for other signs of their presence. Watch out for egg cases, which are small, dark brown, and oval-shaped. Their feces and regurgitated food are little dark sparks that resemble ground pepper. Another one of the signs of a cockroach infestation is the smell. It’s strong and oily. The stronger the smell, the more cockroaches you have to deal with.
Your furry friends will love you even more if you stay alert to the signs of a flea infestation and tackle the issue immediately. If you notice that your pets are scratching themselves more than usual, pick through their fur and look for dark little insects that are about 2.5 mm. Also keep an eye out for red and black droppings. Your pets aren’t the only place where you might have an issue. Eggs, larvae, and pupae might be somewhere in your home or garden.
Image via Flickr by UGA College of Ag
A lot of children think that these nasty buggers are just part of a fun saying that goes along with bedtime. If only that were the case. The first sign of a bed bug infestation that you’re likely to notice is the itching bites. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the bed bugs are in your home, however. A further pest inspection is in order.
Learn what bed bugs look like. The adults are reddish-brown, without wings, and about the size of an apple seed. Keep in mind, however, that they can look different depending on their stage of life and how long it’s been since their last meal. The first link in the previous paragraph has pictures.
Bed bugs must shed their exoskeletons in order to grow, so look for the ones they’ve discarded. The shed skins are usually translucent and the shape resembles, well, bed bugs. Look along mattress seams and baseboards as well as in ceiling and wall junctions. If you have an infestation, you’ll also see dark fecal spots.
You work hard to keep your home comfortable and in good condition, and the last thing you want is termites wreaking havoc on the wood. Some signs of a termite infestation as listed at realtor.com are:
- Wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Termites thrive in dark and humid conditions, so you won’t usually see them on the surface.
- Swarms of winged insects or discarded wings.
- Cracked or distorted paint on the surface of wood. This gives the buggers an opening, so seal cracks as soon as possible.
- Mud tubes on exterior walls. Termites build them to provide moisture while they search for food.
- Frass. This term refers to termite droppings, which are the same color as wood.
Yes, mice are one pest that you definitely don’t want to crush with a shoe. Imagine the mess! These industrious rodents usually chew their way through obstacles to get to their food. Look for strange holes and teeth marks on the bottom of your pet food bags. You might see crumbs and other debris around the area. Mice droppings are small oblong pellets.
Don’t just use your eyes. The sound that these creatures make are usually among the signs that you have a problem with mice. If you hear scratching or other odd noises from inside your walls or ceiling, take note of the specific area so you know where to start your hunt.
Unfortunately, silverfish aren’t tasty lake-dwelling temptations. Experts describe them as “teardrop-shaped insects that measure up to 12-19 mm in length. Three long bristles on rear. Grow from egg to adult without visible change in appearance.” They like dark, damp areas and move quickly, so an infestation might be difficult to detect at first. Look for feeding damage on clothes and paper, since they feed on sugars and starches. Silverfish feces is tiny and looks like pepper.
Is your skin crawling yet? Hopefully you don’t have any cause for alarm, and it will stay that way if you notice signs of infestation early on so you can prevent a small problem from becoming a full-blown nightmare.
Joy Nelson is a professional freelance writer in the Seattle, WA area. She wants her home to stay comfy and pest-free.