Common Household Pests and Why They're In Your Home

A mouse sitting in a small sheltered space.

No one is immune from creepy, crawly pests walking, flying, jumping, or hopping into their home. Pests are wily survivors and know what it takes to get past barricades to find food, water, and shelter. If you're seeing pests in your home, the goal is finding out why they've infiltrated and how they've gotten in.

Types of Common Pests

Ants on a piece of wood.

Some pests are more prevalent in certain regions than others. Once you've identified what's in your home, you'll be ready to put together a plan of action. The top 10 house pests, according to a leading pest control company, are the following:

  • termites
  • bedbugs
  • cockroaches
  • rats
  • mice
  • fleas
  • ants
  • flies
  • wasps
  • mosquitoes
  • spiders

The Reasons Pests Are in Your Home

The causes of a pest invasion in your home can be multiple: they've found a weak spot that allows them easy access, you're leaving food and water sources available, they're looking for a safe and secure place to make a nest, or they're escaping weather such as freezing snow or high heat.

Easy Entry Points

Someone caulking a window.

One of the first things a pest control service will do to eliminate pests is to look for the source of entry. This means walking the property inside and out to find evidence of entry points. A common entry area often overlooked by homeowners is around the door frame, especially at the bottom where there is a gap between the door and the floor. If the weatherstripping is in ill repair or non-existent, this provides an avenue for pests. The area around window frames can also be problematic. Any cracks or crevices are an open invitation, and what may seem like a tiny tear in a screen is a gigantic opening for small pests.

Keep in mind that rats and mice can slip into very small spaces, so caulk and seal areas that are prone to gaps such as around piping under the sink and around portable or window air conditioners. If you have an attic window that hasn't been checked for damage recently, it's the perfect opening for wildlife to enter.

If you like to go to flea markets and yard sales, keep in mind that bed bugs are renowned travelers and furniture, backpacks, luggage, and clothing are just a few of their modes of transportation.

Pets and Wildlife

A squirrel sitting on a tree and eating an apple.

You don't have to have pets to have fleas. If your neighbors have pets that aren't on a regular flea treatment schedule, fleas can get in your yard and come inside attached to your socks, pants, or whatever they can latch onto. Wildlife, including squirrels, also has fleas, so if you're serious about pest control, do what you can to prevent the local wildlife from accessing your property.

Cozy Shelter

Once they've infiltrated, there's more you need to do to not only prevent entry again, but also address issues inside the home that will continue to draw them inside. One problem is things that are stored in boxes. This is heaven for cockroaches, rats, and mice. Not only do these storage solutions attract small rodents and bugs, but they keep the pests hidden from your view. It's best to pack items into plastic storage containers, which removes hiding places.

Available Food Sources

If you have pets and leave food bowls out around the clock, it's the same as ringing the dinner bell for pests. Other sources of food for pests include an open garbage bin, dirty dishes in the sink, and food items left out that should be kept in the refrigerator or a tightly sealed container.