When left unchecked, what starts out as a sighting can quickly escalate into a major pest problem.
You can have an immaculate well kept home and still run into issues as seasons change, birds congregate and preventative measures aren’t met. Rodents, birds and insects are some of the most common culprits. Besides being a living nightmare, pest problems can seriously devalue your home. If you currently have an infestation you should definitely call in a professional, however, there are also preventative steps you can take yourself before Mickey and the gang move in.
A rodent infestation is perhaps the most annoying and revolting pest problem. Finding droppings or urine is usually the first clue you have unwanted guest. Rodents leave trails on floors, in cabinets and can also leave greasy smears against anything they come into contact with. Rodents also gnaw on furniture, molding and electrical wiring which can be very unsightly. Rats are literally a much bigger issue than mice, they are about three times the size of them, but mice can get into harder to reach places. Regardless, both build nest behind appliances, in basements and in storage areas.
It’s no secret that rodents may host many diseases and viruses. For example, they can spread salmonella, hantavirus, leptospirosis, rat-bite fever and the plague via bites, human ingestion and even through the air. So it’s very important to take precautions before hand (typically in the fall before it get’s cold) by sealing any open holes in your homes walls, plumbing and foundation. You should also make sure all doors and windows close properly. Needless to say, a clean house isn’t as inviting as a dirty one and putting out a few preventive traps and poisons could stop a potential issue in it’s tracks.
Like most pests roaches prefer to be active at night, so spotting one during the daytime could mean you have an infestation. There are a variety of roach species; some are tiny, some are huge and American Cockroaches can even fly from place to place when temperatures are above 85 degrees. Finding dead roaches, waste (small roaches produce waste that resembles coffee grounds and larger ones produce cylindrical droppings) and even noticing musty odors can indicate the beginnings of an unpleasant situation. Spotting oval shaped egg pouches are also a “black flag”, pun intended.
Roaches are also known to carry a variety of bacteria and disease and in some instances are even prone to biting. Though, they prefer to eat decaying organic things, like garbage, they are scavengers and will eat anything, left out food, book lining and even wallpaper. These pest like to hide in damp and dark places and keeping such places tidy can detour a roach problem. But roaches are hearty and spraying insecticides regularly, putting tight lids on garbage cans and caulking the nooks and crannies they can sneak into will make it much harder for them to call your house home. Yuck!
A bedbug infestation can be difficult to spot at first. They not only like to come out at night, the blood suckers do so because their only meal source is animal blood which is easier to get from a sleeping victim. They are actually drawn to warm bodies and carbon dioxide, what we breathe out. Because of their habits, it’s often hard to tell you have an infestation until its full blown. Bedbugs are very tiny oval shaped insects and the smallest of them are hard to spot with the naked eye. But full grown adults are relatively easy to see and are brownish in color. The first sign you have them is the bite marks they leave on you, usually in a line, after feeding. You can also detect them by the subtle sweet musty odor they produce.
Due to their nature and their ability to turn into a full blown epidemic, any history of having a problem with them deters people from many properties. If you suspect you have a problem, and have the bite marks to prove it, check under bed-springs, sofas, floorboards and behind wallpaper for signs of their presence. They are usually found close to where people sleep and relax. The worst part about bedbugs is that they thrive in almost any peopled environment, can stowaway in bags and even on people. You can prevent outbreaks by knowing the signs and may even be able to stop an infestation if you spot them soon enough. If you counter attack, do so by thoroughly cleaning, washing linens in hot water and using insecticides. But if bites persist, you better call a pro.
Many people love birds, we put out bird feeders and enjoy waking up to their songs in the morning. But a congregation of them on your roof is nothing to sing about. Most birds don’t present much of a problem to people but certain species like pigeons and seagulls can bring down property value with unsightly acidic droppings. Bird waste can eat through roofing and pavement. They can build nest in gutters and and other fixtures ruining their functionality and and curb appeal. The good news is, it’s not hard to tell when you have a problem because because you’ll both hear and see them.
Birds also carry fleas and ticks and coupled with their excrement they can be a breeding ground for bacteria and disease. So, before birds of a feather flock to your roof, know there are many preventative measures you can take. Bird spikes, netting, chemical repellents and even lasers are effective in keeping them away before they can nest. Still, old fashioned scare tactics like plastic predatory bird figures. Additionally, new age sonic devices that mimic bird distress calls may do the trick for much less effort.
Having a handle on a potential pest problem can save you money and ensure that you have a happy and healthy home. It can be empowering to tackle the problem yourself, head on, but things can escalate very quickly if not taken care of immediately. You don’t have to be a professional to take preventative measures before a problem arises. But if one does, call a professional, they are well equipped to do the dirty work.