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Spring Cleaning Tip: Watch for Signs of a Pest Infestation
Published on May 03, 2012
Spring is the time when many pests crawl out of hibernation and begin making appearances around your home. Fortunately, it’s also the time of year when many homeowners deep-clean and air out their homes – an excellent opportunity to root out any pest infestations that have been hiding all winter.
As you go about your spring cleaning, practice proactive pest management by keeping an eye out for signs that may indicate an infestation. If you spot any of these, it’s a good idea to call on a pest control service for a more thorough home inspection.
Areas of the Home to Inspect for Pests
Every part of your home can potentially house a pest infestation, so you should keep your eyes peeled throughout the entire spring cleaning process. However, some areas are particularly attractive to unwanted invaders; consider giving these rooms an extra-thorough examination.
Kitchen. Your kitchen is a likely starting place for many pest infestations. Dirty dishes, hidden crumbs and stored food items provide a ready food source for a variety of pests, including ants, rodents, meal moths and other common pantry invaders.
Bedrooms. Even though bedrooms get used regularly, they’re also the most common site of infestation for certain pests – namely, bed bugs.
Storage spaces. Because they are often cluttered and infrequently used throughout the winter, closets, attics, crawl spaces, basements, garages and other storage areas provide the perfect place for pests to hide and nest.
Common Signs of a Pest Infestation
Signs of a pest infestation can be subtle and easily overlooked. As you go about your spring cleaning chores, remain alert to these red flags:
Gnawed food packaging. Torn, scratched or shredded food packaging often indicates that a pest has been nibbling at your stored goods. If you find evidence that your food stores have been tampered with, throw away any affected items and call a pest control service. Transfer clean pantry goods into airtight glass or plastic containers to prevent inviting future infestations.
Droppings. Rodents, cockroaches and other pests are clever at hiding, which means their droppings will often appear in out-of-the-way locations. As you clean, poke deep into cupboards, under appliances and furniture, behind boxes and into all those nooks and crannies that rarely see the light of day. Keep an eye out for rodent pellets, urine stains and any other signs that pests have been sneaking around. If you do find rodent droppings or urine, let a pest management professional handle the cleanup, as rodent droppings can transmit the Hanta virus if handled improperly.
Nesting materials. If you find bits of shredded paper, fabric or insulation as you clean, there’s a good chance rodents or other larger pests have been nesting in your home.
Unusual holes or sawdust piles. Wood-destroying insects such as carpenter ants are the bane of many homeowners’ existence, especially because their presence is so hard to detect. If you find small piles of sawdust or a powdery residue near the woodwork in your home (such as windowsills or molding), it be the handiwork of a wood-destroying pest. Call a pest control service immediately, as these invaders can cause structural damage to your home. Other signs of wood-destroying pests can include loose trim, sagging floors, mud tubes, and blistered or wavy wood.
Dried blood flecks. As bed bugs feast on the blood of their victims, they leave feces that can appear as tiny blood spots. If you notice small, brown flecks on any bedding, walls or furniture – most likely in the bedroom, but bed bugs can hide out elsewhere in your home, too – consider asking a pest management firm to inspect your home for these bloodsucking pests.
Wings or carcasses. It’s normal to occasionally find shed wings or insect carcasses around your home. However, if you find them in multiple locations as you clean, or discover a large concentration of them in a particular area of your home, you may have an infestation on your hands.
If you do find signs of an infestation, don’t panic. It’s also not a good idea to go out and buy a bunch of over-the-counter pesticides, as these can often make matters even worse. The best place to start is to have a pest control service inspect your home to correctly identify the pest. Your pest management professional can then recommend the most effective course of action.