A pest infestation at home can do massive amounts of damage, from the serious structural problems caused by termites to the risk of disease that comes with rats, cockroaches and other pests. Some common household pests in Victoria include ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, rodents, spiders and termites.
Unfortunately, many homeowners won’t even realise there’s a pest infestation until it’s too late and the damage is done. Generally, an infestation will take place out of sight inside walls, ceiling spaces or inside the structural timbers or flooring.
Getting an annual pest and building inspection from a registered builder is a good way to stay on top of any pest problems. However, if you know what signs to look for, you can spot infestation early and take care of the pests before they cause serious damage to your home.
So let’s have a look at some of the most common signs of pest infestations.
- Live Pests
If you see one pest flying or scurrying around, then it’s highly likely that there are plenty more that you can’t see. Pests like termites or wasps congregate in colonies, so if you see one there will definitely be more. Even solitary pests, like spiders, will be attracted to the same conditions in or around the house, so if you see one, then it’s likely there are more around.
It’s important to be proactive about pest control. If you see one pest, assume there are more and call in a pest control expert for a property and building inspection.
- Nests and Casings
Finding an abandoned nest or nesting area may be a sign of a former pest infestation. However, it’s just as likely to be a sign of a current infestation. So if you find an abandoned nest, you should assume that there are nearby nests in use.
Insect casings, wings or limbs are another good sign that you have a pest problem. These can accumulate in hidden places like attics and crawl spaces, but are just as common on window sills and in the corners of rooms.
- Pest droppings
Droppings are another common sign of a pest infestation. Look for signs of pest droppings in areas popular with pests like basements, underfloor areas, attics and crawl spaces. Again, don’t assume that droppings are just a sign of a single pest. While rodent droppings will be pretty easy to spot, insect droppings may not be as easily visible and may be nothing more than a moist or slightly greasy film.
- Greasy marks and build up of grime
Rodents and insects tend to follow established paths throughout a building and often they will leave greasy trails as they rub up against walls and floors. You may also notice additional dirt and grime around the house like crumbs, food matter, hair or material the pests have been gnawing on.
- Damage to walls, floors and furniture
Pests will gnaw, scratch and burrow into a range of surfaces, often creating very visible damage. Look for gnaw marks or scratches on walls or skirting boards, damage to wiring, damage to furniture and fabric, channels and holes in timber flooring or puffing or softness in timber surfaces like window sills.
- Strange sounds or smells
Scratching, bumping, squeaking or rustling sounds, especially at night, can also be a sign of a pest infestation. Generally, you’ll hear these sounds coming from the walls or roof, but also sometimes from the underfloor area or even outside if you have problems with rodents.
Bad smells can also be a sign of pests. Often a smell of decay could mean there is a dead rodent somewhere in the house. Other bad smells could be the build-up of pest droppings or mould or moisture damage caused by a pest infestation.
These sounds and smells can come and go, so make sure you get them checked out as soon as you notice them instead of just waiting for them to dissipate.
Damage from serious pest infestations can end up costing tens of thousands of dollars to repair. And then there’s the serious health and safety risks to you and your family that come with sharing your house with dangerous or unsanitary pests like rats and roaches, fleas, spiders and wasps. At the first sign of a serious pest infestation, you should call in the professionals for an inspection and eradication.