Beginner’s Guide to Pest Infestation
Young people buying their first home are often unprepared for some of the more unpleasant aspects of being homeowners, such as various types of pest infestation. As a result, they don’t always take the steps that can prevent such an invasion from occurring in the first place.
Common types of infestation
Of course, the area of the country in which one lives often has a great deal to do with the types of pests that found in homes. There are some that are inherent pests, however, such as rodents and insects.
Rodent infestations frequently consist of mice, rats, squirrels and chipmunks. These creatures love skittering about the fields and woodlands during warm summer months when the food supply is abundant, but when the cold winds of winter arrive, they seek warmer and drier locations. These comfy new digs may very well be your home, garage or shed, where they can wreak havoc with any stored items you may have. Those memorable kindergarten drawings so lovingly packed away become the perfect medium for nesting materials; the large bag of dry dog food for Fido stored in the garage becomes the midnight buffet, and little cubby holes in the attic or garage are ideal new homes for your new guests. The first indication that you are no longer alone in your home may be unusual noises in the walls and ceilings; the scrapings of tiny toenails clipping across the joists as the rodents scurry about in their daily business of collecting food and nesting materials. Proof of their presence may also be finding droppings of the creatures; fresh feces will be soft and shiny whereas aged feces will be grayish in color and easily transformed to dust when touched with a stick or shoe. You may also notice an unusual smell, created by the creatures themselves as well as by their urine and waste.
Insects are a different story altogether. They can be found generally at any time of the year if there is a supply of food and water for them to access. Ants are common during the heat of summer; always traveling in the same pathway from the outdoors to their favorite haunt…your kitchen. There will often be a steady yet intermittent traffic pattern by the little busybodies, making it easy to detect their presence. Moths are detectable as soon as you see the winged creatures flitting about your home. Many people make the mistake of thinking one simply flew into the house and therefore take no action until suddenly it seems as though they are throughout the house. There are two types of insects that cause the greatest dread of pest infestation among homeowners: bedbugs and cockroaches. The presence of bedbugs, if not visually seen, will be noted by the evidence of their bloodsucking activity during the predawn hours upon your own body.
Knowing the type of pests that are common in your area and their habits will be the first step in preventing infestation. Rodents that traditionally begin to seek accommodations in late fall can be deterred by following a few steps. First, carefully check the exterior of your home for cracks or crevices that can be used as entry points and then seal them. Eliminate potential food sources by placing Fido’s food in a plastic container and not leaving his food dishes out when not in use. Remove leaf and brush piles outdoors, and get rid of old newspapers or magazines that can invite burrowing. Use wire mesh covers on all exhaust vents.
Bedbugs present special problems. They can be deterred by keeping your mattress in a zippered encasement and eliminating wood and plush furniture from the bedroom. Using white as much as possible at least identifies their presence earlier before their numbers become unmanageable. Cockroaches can be prevented in much the same manner as rodents. At the first sign of either of these insects, call an exterminator before the problem gets out of hand.
Pest infestation of some type is always a possibility in any neighborhood. Knowing which pests are common in your area and then taking steps to prevent their invasion into your home and property is much more effective than trying to get rid of them after the fact.