Hidden Signs You Have a Pest Problem in Your House

A hole torn in a piece of white cardboard.

Chances are, you've had pests inside your home. You may even still have hidden pests and not know it. Determine whether you have resident pests by learning to read the signs. The most common pests almost always leave a calling card.

Hidden Household Pests: Where You'll Find Them

In many areas, pests wake up from hibernation as the weather gets warmer, and start looking for places to call home. They'll seek out sheltered spaces with access to food and water so they can start having babies as soon as possible. While there is no part of your home that isn't attractive to marauding pests, the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and storage spaces are their preferred real estate.

Kitchen - The kitchen is a prime source of food and water for pests such as cockroaches, meal moths, rodents, and ants. If the drain isn't kept clean, it can be a magnet for gnats. Dirty dishes left on the counter, sink, or in the dishwasher (with the door left open) offer a buffet for kitchen pests.

A dirty kitchen pan

Bathroom - The bathroom is a source of water, and pests need to stay hydrated, just like us. Water left over from using the sink, shower, or bathtub can make a refreshing oasis for unwanted visiting critters. Some pests like dark cool places—the shaded spots under sinks and inside vanity drawers are ideal for them.

Bedrooms - The main pest for bedrooms is the bed bug. These tiny blood-sucking creatures make their homes in a variety of places. These include the mattress, headboard, curtains, drawers, luggage, and wall molding. If the area is dark, it's especially appealing to bed bugs. If they take up residence, they'll feed on the blood of nearby sleepers, leaving red and itchy rashes or spots on the body. They are not selective in what area of skin they dine on, and although they prefer humans they will also target dogs and cats. While not disease carrying like cockroaches and rodents, bed bugs cause allergic reactions in some people, and in rare cases those reactions can be life-threatening.

Storage Spaces - More prime real estate for pests include the garage, basement, attic, storage sheds, and crawl spaces. These areas usually contain a variety of storage boxes and a lot of clutter. Because their dark, cool conditions and their minimal human use, these areas are highly appealing for pests.

A pile of sawdust near a wall

Signs of a Pest Infestation

As you go through your checklist of hiding places, look for the following signs:

Blood - If you find dried flecks of blood on your mattress cover, pillows, walls or any piece of furniture in your home, this is a sign of bed bugs. The blood will appear as tiny brown flecks. Eliminating bed buds requires the services of a professional pest control service.

Holes - Nibbled holes in cardboard food products, shredded packaging, and scratches on products are all indications that pests are present.

Scat - Dried droppings and urine stains are signs of pests such as cockroaches, rats, and mice. The Hanta virus can be transmitted via rodent droppings, so be sure to clean up carefully using powerful disinfectant.

Dust - Piles of powdery sawdust may suggest an infestation of carpenter ants. Small bored holes in wooden surfaces are another red flag.

Wings - Shed wings and other parts of insect carcasses are common to find. In large quantities, though, they imply the presence of a nearby bug community.

A thorough cleaning of your home is a good place to start. If you find some signs of pests, take action to remove them.