You see a lot of spiders
Seeing spiders in your home is never fun, regardless of whether you’re phobic or not. But you’ve probably never thought about why spiders are in your home and not outdoors within their own element. It’s because a spider’s main diet is made up of insects. If there are plenty of bugs in your house, a spider will follow. If you don’t see any bugs appear, don’t think the issue is resolved. It just means spiders are controlling the population.
…and lots of ladybugs
Ladybugs look cute and harmless but they are sturdy predators within their own world. Their delicacy of choice is the aphid, a pesky little problem child of the insect world that can run riot in your garden. Ideally, you’ll want to amass an army of ladybugs outside your house. Seeing them inside is nothing but a sign of mite, whitefly and scale infestation.
You hear tapping from the walls
Termites will make themselves known, usually by accident, by banging their heads against your walls, emitting a tapping sound. Don’t entertain this as cute, termite sounds are a pest emergency. Alert pest control experts immediately, as termites may be operating in huge colonies within your home. The more is very much not the merrier in this case.
You wake up with bites
Getting bug bites during the summer while outdoors is, while annoying, fairly normal. But if you begin to notice bug bites emerging first thing in the morning, it may be a sign that you’ve got an infestation of bugs somewhere in the house. Double-check your bed and surrounding area. If you find bed bugs, call a pest company to take care of them.
You find dead bugs
This sounds like an obvious tell-tale sign. But some may be tempted to think a dead bug is a good bug, and a sign that an infestation is over. This is not true. It just further confirms that there are bugs in your home, and you need to solve the issue before it gets out of control. Take note of whether the dead bugs are all the same type of pest. If so, you could have a colony on your hands.
You find droppings
The thought of having piles of insect droppings in various areas of your house is enough to make your skin crawl, but you’d be well advised to keep an eye out, even if yo aren’t anticipating an infestation. Even little old bugs and insects leave behind noticeable droppings if you look close enough. Then there are the bigger ones, such as termites, who leave behind tiny brown pellets, similar in size to uncooked rice.
The house begins to stink
Different pests give off different odours, but they all have one thing in common: being bad. Infestation is not a good smell, whatever the pest. Bed bugs have a sickly sweet odour, while cockroaches have an oily odour. God forbid your infestation of bugs turns into an infestation of mice or rats. Then you’ll really know about it. Rodents leave behind a musty, urine smell.
You find tracks and markings
It’s not just droppings that you have to watch out for, but general tracks and marking. A lot of insects and bugs are dirty things, and will usually leave behind their own version of footprints. Cockroaches leave behind reddish streaks, for example. It’s hard to notice the tracks the smaller the insect is, but if you pay attention, it should become apparent.
You begin to hear noises
A throng of small insects working together can make an almighty sound. The larvae of many pests of timber, for example, can be heard as they gnaw wood. The sound has been likened to a nail being scraped across a piece of timber. Meanwhile, the larvae of wood wasps can gnaw so loudly it may sound like a mouse. So keep an ear out when the house is quiet to see if there’s anything you’re missing when the TV is on.
Your home and plants become damaged
Bugs eat stuff. That’s usually their method of travel. An obstacle? Eat it and pop through to the other side. As such, you should do a quick glance over your plants and furniture now and then to see if you notice any random holes or rips. Termites will usually wreak havoc in basements and attics while moths can damage clothing by laying eggs that hatch and feed off of the materials.
You find skin
There’s something uniquely repellant about cockroaches, and the news that they shed their skin as they scuttle around your house does nothing to help. If you keep finding thin, papery brown skin that almost looks like cigarette paper, it’s time to get the exterminator on the phone.
Your pets keep scratching themselves
Fleas will opportunistically bite humans, but they’re actually far more interested in your pets. If you notice your cat or dog scratching itself more than usual, especially if it appears to be doing so with ferocious intensity, there’s a strong chance they’ve picked up an infestation of the bouncing, bloodsucking bugs.
If you find moth cocoons in your home, you can more or less be certain that you’ve got an infestation on your hands. The cocoons look like small, hairy pods, and they are usually a dark grey or light brown with a musty smell. If the cocoon has a metallic shine, then it belongs to a butterfly and isn’t a cause for concern.
You spot hopping fleas
Fleas are tiny, around one eighth of an inch in length, but they can be spotted by the human eye. You’re most likely to see fleas hopping on your carpet, curtains or other fabrics, and they’re so fast that you might not be sure you’ve actually seen anything. However, if you keep thinking you see tiny specks bouncing around, you might not be imagining it.
You spot bed bug shells
As baby bed bugs (known as nymphs) mature, they grow out of their shells and discard them. These shells are often one of the first signs that people spot when they have an infestation. They are normally a light straw colour and slightly translucent, and they can have a distinctive, pungent odour.
You find eggs
Cockroaches lay eggs at a prodigious rate, with a single female capable of giving birth to 800 new roaches a year. This is the reason cockroach infestations can grow out of control in no time, so you should seek professional assistance if you happen to find the dark, brown egg capsules that cockroaches lay.
You find blood stains on your sheets
Like many bloodsucking creatures, bedbugs inject an anticoagulant as they feed to prevent blood clots from ruining their meal. As a result, bedbug bites tend to bleed for some time after the insect has finishing feeding, leaving telltale stains on sheets and pillows. This sign generally appears shortly before people start noticing itchy bites on their bodies.
A trail of ants
Spotting a few ants inside your house is rarely a sign of trouble, and usually just means the insects have gotten lost. An uninterrupted chain of ants, on the other hand, usually means you’ve got an infestation on your hands, especially if the chain is moving in both directions and carrying food or other items.
Moth holes in your clothes
Moths can be one of the most irritating creatures to infest your home, thanks to their penchant for eating your clothes. The telltale sign of a moth infestation is seat holes spontaneously appearing in clothes that have been hanging up in wardrobes, with the insects preferring articles made out of wool, silk or fur.
Piles of dirt on your garden
If you spot piles of dirt stacked up on your garden, it could mark the entrance to a new ant nest. As the insects excavate their new home they carry out soil and other dirt, piling it up near the entrance. Over time, the ants’ digging can begin to affect house foundations, eventually even leading to subsidence.
Your floorboards are creaking
Floorboards make tempting targets for termites, and they are often one of the first areas of a house to sustain damage during an infestation. As floorboards are weakened by termites, they will become more sensitive to movement, resulting in them becoming noticeably squeakier over time.
You find flea dirt
As fleas leap around your home in search of their next gruesome meal, they sometimes leave behind microscopic “flea dirt,” which over time can build up enough to become noticeable. This dirt looks like reddish-black streaks or particles, and you’re more likely to notice it on light fabrics, such as your bed sheets.
You spot larvae crawling around
Insects have one of the most fascinating lifecycles in the animal kingdom, starting as worm-like larvae before metamorphosing into their final form. If you spot larvae crawling around your home, it probably means that an insect has laid its eggs in your house, and you should act promptly before you find yourself dealing with a full blown infestation.
You find mud tubes on the foundation of your home
One of the telltale signs of a termite infestation is so-called mud tubes, which are small tunnels that the insects dig around their nests. These tubes are around the width of a pencil, and the termites use them to travel in safety between their nest and a source of food – such as your new chest of drawers.
You find maggots
Flies like to lay their eggs on decaying food to ensure that the maggots that hatch out of them have ample food to sustain them after they spawn. Unfortunately, this often results in the winged insects laying their eggs inside kitchens, particularly in food waste bins. If you spot maggots, you have a short window before the problem turns into a fly infestation.
You find baby centipedes
Centipede infestations are rare, but occasionally these creepy crawlies will invade homes in search of insects to prey on. If you spot baby centipedes running around the place, it’s a good sign that one or more adults has set up shop in your home. While they aren’t harmful to humans, their numbers can still quickly explode, meaning you should definitely call an exterminator.
The windows or doors in your house are sticking
If a door or window in your house is suddenly sticking when you try to open it, it could be an early sign of a termite infestation. Window and doorframes often have exposed wood, and thus are easy for the insects to reach. Over time, termite damage can cause the frames to warp, leading to sticking issues.
Wasps flying in the same direction
Wasp infestations can quickly ruin what should be idyllic summer months, with the stinging insects menacingly lurking around your house in huge numbers. If you see a lot of wasps in your garden or near your bins, and most of them seem to be flying in the same direction, it could be because they’ve built a nest somewhere in your home.
Paint often hides termite damage, which is why infestations are most commonly discovered when people redecorate. Sometimes, however, the insects’ activities do result in visible damage to the paintwork that covers wooden furniture and fixtures. Patches of discolouration or bubbling are both signs that termites are feasting on the wood beneath the paint.
Certain species of insect, such as paper wasps and hornets (the latter being perhaps the scariest infestation to deal with), build their nests out of a mixture of chewed wood and saliva. If you find damage to wooden structures around your home, it could be because winged insects are taking chunks out of them to build their own home.
You keep finding wings
Once they have established a colony, termites produce winged individuals which take to the air to mate. Once they have reproduced, these termites lose their wings, which can look strikingly similar to fish scales when they dry and often form into piles, serving as an ominous warning sign of the infestation.
Piles of sawdust on your decking
As their name suggests, carpenter ants build their nests by using their powerful mandibles to chew burrows into wood, and they have spelled doom for many a patio. While the holes that carpenter ants dig can be hard to spot, they leave obvious piles of sawdust at the entrance to their nests.
Many species of insect have short lifecycles, so it’s not unusual to find dead bugs in your home from time to time. However, if you’re finding deceased creepy crawlies with increasing regularity, especially if they all belong to a single species, it’s probably because there’s a high number of the bugs in your home. In other words, you probably have an infestation.
Signs of feeding
Cockroaches are voracious feeders, and will consume anything they can get their mandibles on. While this includes things like houseplants and wallpaper, cockroaches prefer actual food, and they will often chew through packaging to get to it. Pet food is also often eaten, as well as food left on plates when you aren’t looking.
You have clusters of bites
If you keep finding clusters of incredibly itchy bites on your body, you’ve probably got a flea infestation. Fleas will generally bite you on your legs and ankles, leaving between two to five bites in a single feeding session, although they may also target moist areas such as armpits and groins while you sleep.
You‘re having allergy symptoms
Many people are allergic to the the exoskeletons and faecal matter that cockroaches leave in their wake. If you’ve suddenly developed allergy symptoms that appear to be worse in certain rooms, especially if you’re not generally prone to allergies, investigate for other signs of a roach infestation.
Dark spots on bedding
Unsurprisingly, most of the signs that you have a bedbug infestation can be found on your sheets. As well as the trademark bloodstains that are the result of the insects feeding on you in the night, small dark spots on your sheets are often left by bedbug excrement.
Damaged electrical wires
Ants will chew their way through pretty much anything in their path, including wood, concrete, and electrical wires. If your appliances are starting to malfunction, check the wiring for signs of damage, and bear in mind that exposed wiring can be an extremely dangerous fire hazard.
You have sloped floors
Floors that begin to slope or sag are often one of the first signs that something is going wrong with your home’s foundations. While there can be a number of causes for this, one of the most common is a termite infestation. The insects are masters at evading detection, and over time they can cause serious structural damage to your house.
You find rows of bites
Bedbugs feed on your blood at night, injecting an anticoagulant that leaves itchy, red bites which generally appear in easily identifiable rows. This is because bedbugs tend to feed in groups, and they normally stay close together while doing so. If there are large numbers of bugs, the rows can also form into zigzag patterns.