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When to Call an Exterminator

Are you worried about creepy crawly visitors in your home? An insect infestation can happen to anyone, but that's not very comforting when you find bugs crawling around your home. Knowing what to look for can help you spot a pest problem early before the invaders take over your home.

What Are Some General Signs of a Pest Infestation in Your House?

Some signs of an insect infestation can be pest-specific, but others are more general in nature or apply to most bugs. If you see some of these general signs of a pest infestation, dig a little deeper to figure out exactly what's bugging your house. Some common signs of pests include:

Chew Marks

Pests typically enter your home for food and shelter. You might notice chew marks on food packaging, furniture or walls if you have pests in your home.

Odd Smells

Many pests give off various odors. Musty smells can be a sign of pests in your home.


Insect droppings are often small, but some types leave visible droppings. Rodent infestations are often more noticeable with this sign because their droppings are usually larger.


Rodents are the easiest to hear scurrying in the walls. You can sometimes hear insects as well, especially cockroaches running across your floors at night or large numbers of bugs in your walls.

Pest Sighting

Seeing bugs in your home is a definite sign of an issue. It's not always easy to tell how big the pest problem is if you only see one or two bugs. There could be a lot more hiding in your home. If you see live or dead insects, take that as your sign to call an exterminator for help.

Tell-Tale Signs You Have a Problem With a Particular Pest

Some pests are easy to spot. Ants often make themselves known by marching right across your floor in search of food. Spiders often crawl along walls and weave webs out in the open. Some pests can be a little more secretive, but they often give little clues about their presence. If you want to know specifically what kind of pests you're dealing with, look for these signs.


Spotting termites quickly is essential because they can be very destructive. If they go undetected long enough, they can cause major structural damage to your home. Some signs of termites include:

  • Holes in wood
  • Tiny holes in drywall
  • Windows and doors that stick
  • Hollow sounds when you tap on wood structures
  • Sagging floors
  • Termite wings
  • Droppings that look like tiny tan pellets
  • Termite swarmers flying around your home
  • Mud shelter tubes along your foundation


Another pest that's difficult to exterminate is the bedbug. As the name suggests, they like to spend their time in beds and feed on blood. Bedbugs have an oval shape and brown coloring. To tell if you have bedbugs, look for these signs:

  • Bite marks on your body
  • Blood marks on bedding
  • Rusty spots of excrement
  • Musty odor
  • Tiny eggs or eggshells
  • Skin shed by nymphs, which are pale yellow
  • Live bedbugs along mattress seams, box springs, bed frames and furniture seams


Cockroaches like dark, damp areas, which makes under-sink areas and behind appliances popular spots for them. They eat just about anything, from food you leave out to wallpaper paste. Cockroaches are nocturnal, so your best chance of a sighting is at night. However, you can spot signs of cockroaches during the day, including:

  • Musty, oily smells
  • Reddish-brown streaks
  • Droppings that look like tiny specks of pepper
  • Cockroach skins
  • Chew marks around your home

What Should You Do If You Suspect an Infestation?

You might be able to handle a minor insect infestation yourself, depending on the type of insect. For instance, an ant infestation might be manageable with ant poison. Some ways to deal with pest infestations include:

  • Cleaning up all areas of your home to remove things that attract pests
  • Placing food in airtight containers
  • Repairing leaks to reduce moisture that attracts some pests
  • Using a dehumidifier to reduce moisture
  • Keeping garbage secure
  • Cleaning up leaves and other debris outside your home to avoid attracting insects

More extensive infestations are better left to the professionals. They understand what works and can ensure they handle the problem correctly. They can also offer ongoing treatment to prevent new infestations. Some infestations, including termites and bedbugs, should always be handled by a pest control company. They're too difficult to get rid of with DIY methods. Professional-strength options that only licensed exterminators can use are often necessary.