Did you know that insects account for about four-fifths of all animal life on Earth? There are about 5.5 million insect species, yet scientists have only named a little over a million of them.
The thought of insects may have made your hair stand on end, but know that most of them are actually beneficial. Only about 1% are pestiferous species.
Still, 1% is 1% too many, especially if they invade your home and cause bodily and property damage.
For that reason, it’s vital you know when it’s time to call pest control professionals.
To that end, we created this guide on the warning signs you have pestiferous animals at home. Read on to discover what they are so that you can call the experts to remove them from your home ASAP.
1. Mystery Bug Bites and Stings
An estimated 10 million hymenopter insect stings (such as from ants, bees, and wasps) occur each year in the US. Experts say that up to half of the people who get stung develop a local skin reaction. A tiny percentage, about 1% to 2%, develop reactions in other parts of the body aside from the sting site.
On top of those are the bites from biting insects like bed bugs, fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. As with stings, these bug bites also cause skin redness, itching, and swelling in and around the site.
Those reactions are often due to a toxin that the insects inject into the bite or sting site. Considering the tiny size of most bugs, you may not notice them as they bite or sting you. In some cases, such as with bed bug bites, the bite symptoms may appear only after several hours or even days.
Moreover, some insects secrete fluids that act like anesthesia. A perfect example is the mosquito’s saliva, which contains an anesthetic-like compound. This is the substance that can make you oblivious of the bugs at first.
Either way, all those can result in you developing mystery bug bites, bites that you’re not sure of how you got. If you and other family members develop them, their source is likely hiding in your home. Better call pest control services ASAP, as these bites and stings can end up infected.
2. Solid Excrements
The size of pest droppings or excrements is proportional to the size of the animal itself.
For instance, flea poop appears as tiny black dots or flecks in pet fur. Bed bugs leave behind clusters of rust-colored spots near their meal source, such as your bed. Carpenter ant defecations resemble sawdust, which they often excrete outside their nests.
Termite feces look like sawdust, too, but each poop is about the size of a poppy seed. Termite excrements also resemble the color of the wood they feasted on. If you see these near wood structures in your home, take that as a sign of a termite infestation.
If the droppings you see are dark brown pellets with pointed ends, you most likely have a mouse problem. Dark, shiny black pellets that measure about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch indicate a rat infestation. You’re likely to see a lot of these feces, as a mouse can produce up to 18,000 of them, while a rat poops up to 25,000 a year.
3. Unsightly Smear Marks
Pests can leave trail marks on surfaces when they produce excrements as they move. For example, bed bugs can leave splotches of blood as they hop around after a blood meal. Mice and rats eat and then poop right away, so their fresh droppings can leave trail marks.
4. Odd and Weird Smells
Get too near a stink bug, and you’ll find yourself inhaling a strong, pungent odor. Some stink bugs emit odors reminiscent of cilantro, while others produce sulfur-like smells.
If you have termites, your home may smell like mold, mildew, soil, damp leaves, or decaying wood. Bed bugs have more of a sickly sweet smell, which they emit when mating, disturbed, or threatened. Cockroaches carry odors similar to that of oil that’s gone bad.
Rodents, such as mice and rats, produce urine that smells like ammonia. A strong, stale odor in your home can also indicate you have rodents at home.
5. Chewed up Food or Damaged Food Containers
According to a pest guide from this website, homes can harbor multiple pest species at any given time. You can have rodents and cockroaches, bed bugs, fleas, and termites all at the same time.
One reason is that the feeding action of one type of pest can attract numerous others. For example, rats and mice use their sharp teeth to chew through food packaging to access the food inside. They not only contaminate food but also cause it to spill out of the container.
Once spilled, the food’s odors can attract ants, cockroaches, flies, and other insects.
So, as soon as you see holes in packaged food items or food debris in places you don’t eat in, take that as a sign you have pests. Hiring an exterminator should then be your next order of business.
6. Property Damage
Bite or gnaw marks of furniture, surfaces, and even cables are signs of mice and rats. Small holes in baseboards, walls, and floors also indicate rodent infestations.
Hollow-sounding, buckling, and swollen wood panels are solid indicators of termites. The wood itself may also feel damp, or in some cases, the wood may crumble at the slightest pressure.
Property damages to this extent usually signal long-term infestations. These are harder to combat, as they usually mean removing pests of a sizable population. Pest control professionals can still eradicate them with continuous treatments, though.
Call a Pest Control Company Before It’s Too Late
It’s vital to address pests early on before they have a chance to grow their population. So, if you get repetitive bug bites or stings at home, call a pest control pro as soon as possible. These bodily reactions are often the earliest signs of a pest problem.
However, as not all pests bite or sting, you should at least be on the lookout for droppings and odd smells. Ring up a pest exterminator without delay if you notice these other signs.
Want to stay up-to-date on the latest in home, health, and living? Then feel free to read our other recent news and blog posts!