7 Signs You Have Pests

A cockroach on wood.

Pests can go by many names, but most homeowners agree that any uninvited guest in their home is considered a pest. From flies to opossums, animals try to bring their families to a safe and comfortable place by relocating in your home, especially in colder months. Sometimes they go unnoticed, but if you pay special attention, you can find and evict pests before they cause major problems. Here are some clues you may be harboring unwanted pests.

1. Noise

Rodents offer a very distinctive sound when they are busy, typically at night. Once the house quiets for the evening, listen for the scurrying noises in the ceiling or floor above your head. Also keep an ear out for chewing sounds. The most noticeable noise is typically when they chew on wood, scraping their teeth in a recognizable sound.

2. Waste

Any animal that is taking refuge in your home will eventually leave behind some telltale evidence. Feces from mice and rodents are easy to identify, as are raccoon, possum, and skunk droppings. Also keep an eye out for the smallest droppings that look like pepper flakes and could indicate a cockroach problem. Urine can also be visible evidence of a pest problem.

3. Stores

A raccoon on a roof.

If you open a drawer or lift a pillow and find a loose pile of nuts, popcorn, or seeds, you likely have more friends than you care to admit. Rodents, especially pack rats, will not only eat food from your kitchen buffet, but will also hoard whatever they forage for the long winter nights ahead.

4. Damage

In addition to potential diseases that humans can contract from pests in the home, the little buggers can also cause a whole lot of damage. Ants, termites, and cockroaches can degrade the structure of a home. Rodents will chew on anything they can get their sharp teeth on including wires, cabinets, trim, carpet, or any other substance they please. If you see gnaw marks on your antique chair leg or a pile of sawdust anywhere other than beneath your saw, you might have a problem.

5. Bedding

Small animals like to keep warm and create a safe spot for their young just like humans. They are good at using the materials available to them so shredded paper, paper products, or cotton all appeal to them. Watch for evidence of nesting materials disappearing or showing up in piles.

6. Grease Trails

A rat in a house.

Rats in particular like to travel the same paths repeatedly. They use their whiskers to guide them along walls for safety. Like a traffic pattern in your carpet, you may see where they continuously travel back and forth. As they journey to and fro, their long tails will leave a greasy trail, often especially noticeable on the edge of corners.

7. Yard Damage

Other animals that might cause problems for your home don’t necessarily come inside. Instead, they bury themselves in your yard. This not only makes an unsightly mess when they dig up mounds of your neatly landscaped lawn, but nesting grounds and chewing can clog or break water lines as well as electrical or cable lines buried nearby.