The 6 Worst Pest Infestations You Can Have—and How to Prevent Them

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated January 17, 2022
A bright kitchen with a wooden countertop
Photo: Martin Deja / Moment / Getty Images

Highlights

  • Rid your home of potential food sources, such as crumbs and open containers.

  • Avoid moisture from leaks, damp areas, and standing water.

  • Inspect for bedbugs while traveling.

  • Keep your yard free from food sources like trash and birdseed.

  • Call an exterminator to take care of pests if you’re in over your head.

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The last thing any homeowner wants is to play host to a bunch of freeloading pests. Don’t illuminate your home’s “Vacancy” sign just yet. Here’s a look at the most common infestations—and what you can do to keep the little buggers out.

1. The Worst Case of Cockroaches

Roaches have a way of making your entire place feel tainted. These fast-moving and ick-inducing creatures seek the same sustenance as human beings, so it’s important to rid your home of any temptation. Things that can attract them include:

  • Food morsels from dirty dishes, pet food, crumbs, or spills.

  • Full trash cans, especially those containing food waste.

  • Areas of moisture from spills and leaky pipes or appliances.

Luckily, there are many simple and natural ways to prevent (or deal with) a roach infestation, such as keeping a clean house and leaving out soap, baking soda, or boric acid to kill them. Mix any of those roach-killing ingredients with some sugar to bait them to their doom.

2. Ant Home Infestations

Ants outnumber us by far, so it’s not surprising that we bump elbows with them constantly. However, when those icky armies march through our homes, there’s no chance of peaceful coexistence.

The number one way to prevent this? Don’t give the ants anything to eat. Seal up sugary snacks and other food items that’ll attract them. Keep your pet’s food bowl in a pie dish filled with shallow water. Since ants can’t swim, they won’t ransack leftover morsels.

Once they’ve discovered a food source, they can be tough to get rid of. Avoid using poison if you have any pets or small children. Instead, enclosed ant baits are a good option. If you can’t shake the infestation, contact an ant exterminator near you.

3. Rodent Hostile Takeovers

Stuart Little is cute on the big screen, but he isn’t when he chows down in your pantry and uses your walls as a toilet. Again, it’s important not to leave out edibles like crumbs, trash, and open food containers. It’s also vital to seal your home’s perimeter to eliminate potential entry points.

Along with taking the proper precautions, keep an eye out for signs of a rodent infestation, such as droppings and chew marks. Also, check your yard for food sources like birdseed and nut-producing trees. Cleaning up and eliminating what you can may prevent the critters from entering your turf in the first place.

4. The Worst Bedbug Infestations

A spacious and bright bedroom
Photo: Jasmin Merdan / Moment / Getty Images

Nothing will give you the heebie-jeebies more than having literal bugs in your bed. The worst part? They’re incredibly hard to get rid of. That’s why being proactive to prevent a bedbug infestation is crucial. Here’s what you can do:

  • Wash secondhand clothes right away, and avoid secondhand furniture.

  • Inspect for bedbug signs on your bed and linens, as well as in your bedroom.

  • Look for itchy, red bites, which are often in a line or cluster.

  • Consider purchasing a mattress cover to prevent the bugs from burrowing deep.

  • Inspect for bedbugs while traveling, and don’t leave your clothing on or near the hotel bed.

Non-chemical bedbug treatments like steam and heat treatments can be effective, but bugs will hide in every small crevice. If you have trouble eradicating all of them, a local exterminator can help get rid of them for good.

5. Termite Home Buffets

Anytime moist or damaged wood is available, termites put on tiny bibs and get ready for a meal. They can also chew their way through the wood on the ground or near your home’s foundation.

  • Avoid having any wooden structures directly touching the ground.

  • Deal with sources of excess moisture like leaks and pooling groundwater ASAP.

  • Never store firewood or other untreated wood against your home or near a crawl space.

Once termites have started their nom session, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of them on your own. More often than not, the issue calls for fumigation from a termite control service near you.

6. Wasp Nests

The sight of a wasp is enough to make any grown human cry out in terror. Unfortunately, they often shack up around our home, building entire nests out of nope. A great way to keep them away is by putting up a decoy nest, which you can find online or in your local hardware store. It’s also important to seal trash cans and avoid leaving food around the outside of your home.

Preventing Household Pest Infestations

Pest control is all about taking proactive measures to make your home unappealing and inaccessible. 

Whether the pest flies or crawls, it’s crucial to avoid leaving out anything they can eat. It’s also paramount to seal your home of any holes, cracks, or openings that could invite them in. Moisture is another common culprit, especially during the spring. Now that you’re aware of their temptations, you’ll be better equipped to prevent any unwanted intruders.

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