Are you living with unwanted guests? It is not uncommon for a stray cockroach or rat to make its way into a home. This can be easily handled when dealt with quickly. But what about when pests breed and multiply, taking up residence in your home?
In order to address a pest infestation, homeowners first need to know the subtle signs of a pest infestations. Termites, rats, cockroaches, bed bugs or other pests can take over a residence and lead to potential structural damage and health complications. Even in desirable City Centre homes, infestations can be a deal breaker for home buyers.
Learn what to look for when it comes to signs of a pest problem in your home.
Getting Rid of Termites in the Home
Termites can destroy the structural integrity of a home. Termites consume wood and can eat their way through support beams and other wooden structures of a home. Not only can the structure become infested, but antiques, furniture and other wooden items can also harbor and become a meal for termites. Homeowners may be able to see the shed wings of termites and their excrement that resembles sawdust. Other signs of an infestation include visible holes and sagging floors. In addition, if you tap on wood and it sounds hollow, you may have stumbled upon a termite infestation. Termites can be difficult to exterminate but it needs to be done as an infestation can reduce home value and cause safety issues in the structure of the house. This is tough enough for homeowners, but anyone trying to sell may find it difficult to get offers if these issues aren't fixed.
Getting Rid of Rats and Rodents in the Home
A home with a rodent problem can be an unsafe home. Rats chew and gnaw on things. In addition to creating holes in floors and walls or around the property, rats can chew on electrical wires. This tendency can lead to electrical issues in a home and potentially a dangerous situation for all residing within. Deal with signs of a rat infestation to protect your home and your family.
Getting Rid of Wasps in the Home
As the summer season continues to move forward, the wasp population continues to grow. Wasps can become quite a problem if you're planning a backyard barbecue and have a wasp nest nearby. As the summer progresses, wasps commonly become more and more aggressive.
Bald-faced hornets and yellow jackets like to make a nest under decks, in bushes, in the ground or in trees. The hanging nests can grow to be the size of a basketball or even bigger. Sometimes you may not know that there is a nest until you disturb it. Once disturbed, the wasps become very agitated and you'll find yourself running for cover very quickly.
Prevent Wasp Nests from Forming
Here are a few things you can do to help prevent the creation of a wasp nest on your property:
- Remove any fruit that has fallen from trees
- Treat any exposed wood
- Look for any hollow entry points along windowsills, decks and driveways and seal them up
- Make sure that your outdoor garbage cans are closed tightly
- Cover any proteins and sweet drinks that you may be enjoying outside
- Place wasp traps along the edge of your property
If you Discover a Nest
If you plan on handling the nest yourself, look for a spray that can reach a minimum of 4.6 m. This will reduce the chances of getting stung by the wasps. These products are available at most hardware and home improvement stores in the local area. The best time to spray the nest is before sunrise or after sunset. Wasps are more active during the day.
If you are allergic to wasp stings you should never try to handle a wasp nest on your own. Call a local professional instead.
Getting Rid of Voles in the Home
These are small rodents that can be anywhere from 12 to 20 cm in length with dark brown or gray fur. They make their way through the yards by burrowing tunnels and you can often see the evidence when you're looking at your yard. It looks like there are runways on the lawn and you may see further damage as well.
Most exterminators will use trapping methods to get rid of these rodents along with toxic pesticides that are put into the holes. It's a difficult situation to deal with since many homeowners don't want to have mousetraps in their yard or chemical pesticides that can be poisonous to children and pets.
Here are a few other alternatives that you can try if you want to stay away from the trapping and pesticide use:
- Put cinder or gravel barriers around your garden. This barrier should be about 7 inches deep and at least a foot wide. The particles in the cinder are sharp, which can deter the voles from rushing into your garden.
- Wrap a piece of mesh or chicken wire around your tree bases to prevent girdling of the trunks. The wire should extend down below the soil.
- Many gardeners use castor oil to help with this problem.
The castor oil method was researched at Michigan State University and it was discovered that a pint of this oil distributed over 5,000 ft.² would work. Their research showed that using less wouldn't be effective while using more would be wasting your money.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs in the Home
You have probably heard of bed bugs - those nasty little creepy crawly insects that love to terrorize a home and its inhabitants. If you’ve never had the unfortunate experience of dealing with these bugs in your home before, consider yourself lucky. They are one of the hardest pests to exterminate and often it takes multiple treatments to get rid of them completely. If you're renting and having a hard time getting your landlord on-board, you may need to seek the advice of a bed bug attorney.
How to Determine if You Have Bed Bugs
If you wake up in the morning and find yourself mysteriously covered in bites, this can definitely be considered as a clue. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have bed bugs since there are other insects that can bite you at night but bed bugs are a possibility.
Another sign of bed bugs is brown or reddish colored skid marks on your sheets. It’s terribly gross to think of and even more disgusting to look at in real life. Apart from these 2 obvious signs, it’s actually quite difficult to see a real bed bug. These critters hide away during the light of day planning the sneak attack they can make at night. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean that they’re not there.
Where do the Bed Bugs Hide?
Here are just a few places that bed bugs choose as their hiding spots:
- Underneath a mattress
- In a bedframe
- Inside cracks in the wall
- In cracks in wooden furniture
- In piles of clothes
- In picture frames
- In hardwood floor groves
- Just about anywhere there is a thin crack or crevice
Bed bugs are Hard to Find
Even exterminators have a hard time diagnosing a bed bug problem. In fact, most extermination companies these days have a canine that works for them that has been specially trained to sniff out bed bugs. If you think that there is any chance that bed bugs have taken over your home or any room in it, you have two options. You can search online for how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress, educate yourself a bit, implement the proper bed bug removal treatment based on your situation or call in the professionals. These bugs multiply like crazy and they are the hardest insects to find and to get rid of in a home.
Signs of Other Pests
In addition to termites and rats, cockroaches, bed bugs and other pests can make your home theirs. Signs of an infestation may be found in the bathroom and kitchen, in addition to the basement and attic space. Look for:
- Dead bugs inside the home. If there are many bugs of the same type you may have an infestation. Common places to find dead bugs are on window ledges and in the basement.
- Dust mites are microscopic insect that also love to live in mattresses. Their main source of food is flakes of dead human/pet skin. They are not visible to the human eye but if you suspect there is a problem, dust mite sanitation for your mattress may be required.
- Pest droppings. Learn what different types of droppings look like and recognize signs of bed bugs and roach egg cases. Some droppings and other forms of evidence are almost invisible to the naked eye.
- Nesting. Rodents, such as mice and rats, will create nests out of available materials. A red flag would be shredded paper. Then look behind appliances, inside cabinets and in nooks and small crannies in the home with a flashlight for potential nests.
- Smells. Pests give off certain smells. In fact, specific smells may indicate the presence of a type of pest. A sweet and musty odor is associated with bed bugs. A musty, urine smell is common to mice. An oily smell similar to soy sauce is related to cockroaches.
- Grease tracks and marks. Mice and rats leave tracks along the routes they take regularly. Dark grease marks may be found along the walls. Footprints, urine trails and fecal droppings through a dust path may also indicate the presence of rats or mice.
Getting Rid of Pests
When it comes to pest remediation, one of the best ways to keep unwelcome guests away is to prevent them from getting comfortable by making the home unappealing. With crickets, this can mean taking out the trash regularly so it doesn’t build up and attract them or keeping a dehumidifier in the basement to prevent pests who like dark, moist places.
However, prevention isn’t always possible or successful, so what do homeowners do when the pests are already in the home? Here are some different strategies homeowners can use for helping get rid of the pests who have already gotten settled in:
- Set out traps. There is a wide variety of different pest traps available for homeowners to buy that target different pests. If the home has pets living in it, be sure that the traps are pet-safe.
- Use a cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with a drop of dish soap to trap fruit flies.
- Keep the home clean in order to take as many appealing places to live away from pests as possible.
- Seal entry points to the home by using mesh or chicken wire for larger creatures or caulking for insects.
These DIY pest remediation ideas can be helpful for small outbreaks, but if the insect problem or rodent problem becomes an insect infestation or rodent infestation, it’s time to call a professional exterminator.
Selling a Home When You Have a Pest Infestation
The problem with a bug infestation is that it is often difficult to get rid of pests once they have taken up residence in your house. While bugs are an inescapable part of living in this world, no one likes to share a home with them. If you are selling a Calgary home with a pest problem, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to find a buyer willing to deal with it.
It goes without saying that you should first do everything you can to get rid of the pests. Extermination companies are here to help you and hiring one can protect your home and its market value. Let the exterminator know that you are selling the house, and work with him or her on ways to minimize the evidence of pest extermination.
Invest in repairing any damage caused by the bugs. Not only is pest damage unsightly but the bugs may have compromised the safety of the home. For example, termites can weaken the structural integrity of the home. Once you get rid of them, have the house inspected and repair any damage.
The law requires full disclosure of any problems with the house. Therefore, you must tell your real estate agent and the buyer that the home has a pest problem. One way to overcome the challenge of revealing this information is to offer to pay for a year's worth of extermination services upon purchase of the house. A buyer may still consider the home if they feel they will have help combating the infestation.
You should still be prepared to lower the asking price, though, when selling a Calgary home with a bug problem. A bug infestation is often a sale killer, so even an offer that is less than what you want may be better than nothing at all.
The Well-informed Homeowner
There are many signs related to a pest infestation. While a homeowner may not see visible signs, they may smell odors or hear sounds that could indicate unwanted company. In order to reduce the likelihood of attracting pests, keep the smell of garbage to a minimum. Check outdoors for nearby breeding grounds, damaged patches of lawn and burrows in weedy spots near the property and garbage areas. Tenants and homeowners may also speak with neighbors about any issues they may be having to help identify which type of pests may be likely to the area. Call a professional exterminator at the first sign of a pest infestation in or near your property.