While most pests thrive in the great outdoors, there are many types of bugs and rodents that will happily make their way inside your home during the winter, opting for the available food, water, and shelter of your cozy house instead of trying to survive out in the elements. Rodents, cockroaches, spiders, termites, and other pests are extremely active as temperatures drop, and if given the opportunity, they will find their way in and invite all their friends. Here are six things to look out for that may signal that your Charlotte, N.C. home has been infested.
Rodents often seek shelter during the winter, and some can fit through an opening as small as a dime. That means if you don’t carefully seal every crack and crevice with caulk or steel wool, you may be providing a comfortable home to these four-legged invaders. One of the most obvious signs of rodents is their droppings. Small round or conical droppings close to potential food and water sources are a clear indication that rodents have taken up residence.
2. Bite Marks and Stains
If a hole isn’t quite large enough for a mouse or rat to fit through, they can easily chew around the opening until they are able to squeeze through. Some rats can even gnaw through plastic or lead pipes. Seeing bite marks around potential entry points or on objects near food and water sources means that rodents aren’t far away. They also will sometimes leave greasy dark stains or tracks from their oily fur.
3. Fur or Bug Carcasses
Fur, wings, or other bug parts are clear indicators that pests have been present in the home. Be on the lookout for insect wings or greasy fur, as well as the carcasses of dead bugs, especially on windowsills.
4. Nests or Webs
Spider webs are obvious evidence that spiders are present, and you should be consistently removing them to keep the arachnids at bay. Moths leave behind a silky web-like material on walls or in food. Mammal nests are also important to keep an eye out for. Rodents like clutter and are resourceful when building nests, so signs of nests may include torn/shredded newspaper and dirty or damaged fabrics.
5. Damaged Wood or Sawdust
Termites are incredibly destructive and can lead to structural damage due to their wood diet. If you notice any damage to the wood in your home such as trim or furniture, it’s likely that termites have made themselves at home. You may also spot shelter tubes in the wood, which the termites use to travel within.
6. Odd Sounds or Smells
In addition to the physical evidence they leave behind, pests can often be detected by paying attention to the sounds and smells in your home. Scratching or running sounds in the attic or inside walls can indicate rodents, as can gnawing or squeaking sounds.
There are also some distinct smells that come with certain pests. Mice can give off a musty or urine-like smell, while roaches can have an oily or soy sauce-type odor. The smell of ammonia may indicate that there are rats and stink bugs and Asian lady beetles let out distinct smells when squashed.
Finally, pay attention to your pets. If they show a sudden interest in a certain area or seem to be chasing something around, it can alert you to all types of pests.
There is never a time of year that is free from pests, which is why it is important to maintain a year-round contract with your pest control professional. If you’re experiencing an infestation this winter, be sure to contact us as soon as possible to put a stop to it.