What You Need to Know about Your Pest Problem

Updated August 29, 2019
termite damage on a house eave
How can you prevent termite damage?

So, you’ve spotted a bug in your house and you can’t sleep another night knowing that it’s creeping around somewhere. Before you hit the shelves for any and all products that proclaim effectiveness, there are a few things you should know.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Killing what you see doesn’t fix the problem.

The pests you see are likely only a small representation of the bigger problem you have. For example, pest control experts near you say that once you see termites, you already have a significant infestation. Termites can chew away at your home’s structure and produce thousands of eggs per day, all without giving a single sign of their presence. If you just squash the one termite you see, you aren’t getting anywhere.

Pests can hitch rides on you and your family members.

One of the most common ways that bugs can get into the home is you! From visiting an infested house unwittingly to leaving luggage on a bug-ridden hotel room floor and resting your backpack against a tree — you might be your own worst enemy. Check your luggage and belongings after trips and long hikes and wash your clothes in hot water. If you have a pet, you’ll want to keep an eye on them as well.

Trial and error can add up quickly.

Seeing a bug indoors isn’t pleasant, and it can send you running for the store without a clue as to what you should buy. Do your research before you go. Over-the-counter products all function differently and target different species. Do you know what kind of ant you saw? Do you know how to target the colony, rather than fight a constant barrage of worker ants until the season changes? Perhaps most importantly, do you know which products are safest for your family and pets? Don’t throw your money away in your rush to solve the problem.

Related: Angie's List of Pest Inspectors Near Me

Cleanliness is close to pestlessness — but there’s more.

A clean home is a good start to keeping pests out. But your crumbs aren’t the only thing pests crave. Mice and rats are looking for warmth, and cockroaches are looking for moisture.

  • Check the interior and exterior perimeter of your home. Seal creases and block holes that make for easy passageways. Consider weather stripping for your doors and windows and screens or hardware cloth for vents.

  • Don’t let water stand. For pests, a puddle of water will be like an oasis in the desert that is your house. Clear away standing water in your sinks, bathrooms and basement. If mosquitos are an issue in your area, you should also be mindful of standing water in your yard. Mosquitos can breed in the smallest pools.

  • Declutter your home and seal away tasty aromas. Cardboard, clothing piles and fragrant pet food provide these critters with everything they need to survive. They burrow into your clothing to raise their families and they snack on everything from cardboard to dog treats. Put pet food in airtight containers, recycle cardboard boxes and keep your laundry in a hamper.

With negligence, you’ll quickly be outnumbered.

Handling an insect or rodent infestation isn’t something to put off until next month. If you’re too busy to do it yourself, hire a professional as soon as possible. Your problem is probably bigger than you think, and it’s only getting worse. Mice can have five to 10 babies per litter, up to 10 times per year! And roaches can lay one capsule of up to 48 eggs at a time. Does that make your skin crawl? According to Angie’s List, the cost to hire an insect control service averages around $150-$200. On the other hand, pests like termites and ants can cost thousands of dollars in property damage.

Scams can be just as rampant as the pests themselves.

We get it — you want them gone and you want them gone now. But stop yourself before you dial the number on the flyer you found stuck in your door. This is another area where research is key. When hiring a pest control company, look through their reviews and testimonials and seek out the most reputable company. Otherwise, you could get scammed into paying more for less effective services ­— or you could even get locked into a worthless contract.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.