No matter the season, household pests from bugs to rodents can thrive in your home as long as they stay out of sight.
You might be able to spot them out in the open, but if you can’t expel them from where they’ve set up shop in your house, then you will continue to encounter unpleasant creepy crawlies and experience their unwanted effects, whether that’s bites, destruction of your possessions or exposure to diseases they can carry.
If you can’t seem to find the source of your pest problem, here are the locations you should check.
Spiders like ceiling corners because of their strategic location for making webs and hunting prey. Cockroaches are also effective at traveling on the ceiling to avoid being underfoot, so make sure you look up when hunting for the source of your pest problem; you could find their entry point into your home lies above. Many folks are also used to finding dead bugs inside light fixtures. Insects are naturally drawn to their light and warmth, and if they keep a safe distance, they can survive and hide out in them.
Most people know to be on the lookout for bed bugs in their beds, but any piece of furniture could make an enticing home for nasty pests. Carpet beetles earned their name because they can be destroying your carpets from the bottom up. They often make their homes under carpets, in upholstered furniture or in boxes of clothing -- anywhere where they feast on synthetic fabrics or animal fibers such as wool, felt, leather, silk, fur or feathers. While most people imagine fleas living on furry friends, a flea infestation can thrive in your upholstered furniture or carpet where young fleas can munch on dead skin cells and dander.
Your home doesn’t have to belong on an episode of “Hoarders” to appeal to bugs. Even orderly stacks of books, cardboard boxes or pieces of paper can provide enough food and a cozy hiding place for pests. Some varieties of cockroaches love dining on paper and cardboard products, and even envelope and book binding glue. Having a ready supply for them means they won’t just take up long-term residence in your home, but will also destroy your documents by eating them and covering them in waste and bacteria.
If you suspect pests are coming from your garage, but can’t find where they’ve holed up, check in and around your car. Mice and rats in particular can weasel their way into your car’s trunk or under the hood where it’s warm and dry. They can wreak serious havoc in there, chewing and relieving themselves on your floor mats as well as gnawing through wires. Cockroaches, spiders and fleas have also been known to find their ways into vehicles and set up shop.
Even if you don’t have a car parked in your garage, this area is particularly attractive to pests. Dark and with less foot traffic, many animals will retreat here after raiding your house. It’s an easy waypoint between outside and inside, and provides sources of shelter and food through such things as garbage, cardboard boxes, grills and more.
Both bugs and rodents want to stay out from underfoot as well as move about your home without catching your attention. Floor seams are where insects such as cockroaches will scurry to and disappear in when you flick on the lights. On top of making an ideal hiding spot, they can collect debris that bugs can feed on. If you notice smudges or stains along your baseboards, it’s likely that mice, who avoid open spaces, are using these as thoroughfares through your home. Mice leave grease trails when the oils and dirt from their fur brush against your wall, as well as tiny brown feces pellets.
Pests - big and small - are attracted to firewood or brush piles around your home. Opossums, which are nocturnal, seek places to hide from predators and will happily make their home in your yard in these concealed areas. Dangerous insects such as spiders and scorpions also love these areas because they’re dark, low traffic places where they can hide undisturbed until they’re ready to hunt. This is why you should always check your firewood for hidden passengers before bringing it indoors.
Both inside and outside plants provide a food and shelter source for intrepid insects. Having greenery close to your home can also attract pests, which can then find their way inside through small openings. Inspect any potted plants for bugs such as spiders and scorpions before bringing them inside. Also keep shrubs, trees and bushes well trimmed with some distance between them and your house.
The crawl space, the open area between the ground and the bottom of your house, is inviting for many pests seeking someplace safe, cool, dark and damp. Rodents, termites, carpenter ants, hornets, wasps, crickets and more can infest a crawl space.
Closets feature a variety of desirable factors that attract pests. They’re dark, with plenty of nooks and corners for hiding, receive little foot traffic, and for bugs with a taste for fabric, they’re like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Moths, silverfish, carpet beetles and crickets all enjoy dining on your clothes, while mice, spiders and more could be snuggled up in your closet.
Spiders don’t just weave their webs in places visible to the naked eye. Even if you’ve cleaned cobwebs from the corners of your ceiling, your arachnid problem could persist because they’re living in cracks in the wall or around windows. Wolf spiders in particular are known to like these crevices, and they don’t mind a tight fit because they don’t make webs.
One of the most unsettling sounds is the pitter patter of little paws scratching inside your walls. If you suspect you have rats or mice but haven’t spotted them, they could be holed up in your walls, where they can do serious damage by chewing through electrical wires and insulation. If you suspect you have these pests in your walls, it’s important to seal all the openings they could be getting through -- except one or two. These are the places you set your traps. This also help ensure that the animals don’t die inside your walls if you choose to use poison.
Since many drains and pipes lead to the outside, these openings are a common way pests get into your home. On top of loving to live in dark, damp places and to munch glue and paper, silverfish eat cellulose-containing products, such as shampoos and shaving foams, and they find their way into your bathroom by following their nose, so to speak. Rats and mice are excellent swimmers and will even come into your house through your toilet from the sewers. Cockroaches also have no problem climbing in and out of open faucets and drains.
There are often gaps between appliances and their wall hookups that bugs and rodents can hide in. Stoves and refrigerators can have running motors that provide a warm place to snuggle up. Firebrats are known to love ovens and even fireplaces. Radiators can also be attractive for their hiding places and heat, while water heaters provide both moisture and warmth.
Whether they’re by the curb, next to your building, in the garage, under the sink or in your kitchen pantry, insects and rodents will sniff out your trash from a mile away. They will also hang out in recycling bins, as they’re changed less frequently. Putting a little vinegar in the bottom of your bins, as well as rinsing them out regularly with bleach, with ensure no bugs are or will want to be living there.
While many bugs prefer the dampness of basements, rodents notoriously prefer being warm, high and dry. Attics are an attractive location for squirrels, opossums, raccoons and even bats to take up residence as the insulation can be used for making nests along with materials like paper and fabric found in an attic. If you hear scratching overhead or pieces of ventilation are spurting from your system, check the attic.