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How to Inspect Your Home & Be Your Own Pest Boss

Pest problems are a year-round hassle! Wherever you live, some varmint is bound to look at your home and think to itself, “Hmm, that looks like a GREAT place to live!”

Do you want to be your own pest boss, before you call Pest Boss? You can so long as you’re prepared for it! Here are some suggestions on how to inspect your home for potential pest problems.

What this article is NOT about

  • It is not about exterminating pests yourself. Sure, there are plenty of products you can find at your local hardware store, but they only work in catching one or two varmints—not exterminating an infestation’s worth. Some products can only do so much to be effective.
  • Identifying one pest online doesn’t make you an expert. Some varmints get confused with one another depending on their location. Sure, you may find evidence of a pest in your bedroom, but there is a big difference between a bedbug infestation versus a carpet beetle one. A professional knows the difference and should be consulted with before you assume that everything Google says is correct.
  • It is not about going full DIY with exterminating pests. Seriously, there is only so much one person can do by themselves to get rid of certain varmints—and a lot of the time, going DIY can make a small problem bigger! Plus, some varmints (e.g. raccoons, voles, and skunks) can cause more harm if you attempt to get rid of them yourself given their uncanny abilities to spread diseases and awful smells. There are a lot of other reasons we don’t recommend the DIY route, which you can read more about here.

Now, here’s where you need to inspect for potential pest infestations.

Bathroom

We hate it when varmints intrude our personal space in this room! These are the kinds of pests that can get a little too close for comfort when we’re trying to take a bath or do our business:

  • Silverfish
  • Firebrats
  • Cockroaches
  • Phorid Flies
  • Ants

For all of these cases you will need to inspect the plumbing, baseboards, and bathtub and sink drains. Some homes have a washing machine and dryer in the bathroom or in near proximity to it. You will have to check behind and underneath these appliances also (get help though, these are heavy!). A lot of the pests we’ve listed prefer to live in the dark and damp, and the bathroom is their favourite spot for those same reasons. Silverfish and firebrats in particular love sneaking under the baseboards to remain undetected by predators. Keep an especially sharp eye out for mold and mildew, which are not only toxic to humans but may also be a breeding ground for varmints.

Kitchen

Pests love food as much as we do, and they’re the last thing you want to find in your breakfast cereal. If you suspect an infestation, this is one of the spaces to check first next to the bathroom. Look specifically for these particular varmints:

  • Ants
  • Fruit flies
  • Blow flies
  • Grain beetles
  • Flour beetles
  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Cockroaches
  • Silverfish
  • Firebrats
  • Moisture ants

While the locations of each varmint differs, you should always approach inspection with a sharp eye. Check your kitchen sink’s plumbing (both in the drain and under the sink), cupboards, floors and baseboards, and your refrigerator inside and behind. You may have a huge cleaning job ahead of you if you discover signs of infestation such as foul smells, crumbs where there shouldn’t be, rotting and decomposing food, and too-damp spots.

Bedroom

The bedroom is your sanctuary in terms of getting a good night’s sleep. That’s why it’s especially disturbing when these pests disturb our slumber! Some varmints you especially need to look for include the following:

  • Bed bugs
  • Carpet beetles
  • Silverfish
  • Firebrats
  • Ants
  • Spiders
  • Clothes moths
  • Fleas

Telltale signs of varmints in this area include black specks in your bedding, blood droplets on your pillow (this is a sure sign of a bed bug infestation), a weird smell like overripe raspberries, holes in your clothing, white or dark specks on the carpet, and cobwebs to name a few. You will need to inspect the following if you suspect pests are invading your bedroom:

  • Mattress covers and bedding
  • Pet beds (if applicable)
  • Scratching post (if applicable)
  • Plug sockets
  • Closet
  • Dresser drawers
  • Windowsills (if applicable)
  • Curtains (if applicable)
  • Inside shoes

Again, cleaning up may be necessary unless the infestation is too large for one job.

Living Room

Don’t you hate it when you sit on the couch to relax and then a creepy crawling varmint comes out of nowhere? The living room can be host to even the most lived-in space in your home, especially if you don’t do regular chores like vacuuming and dusting. A dark corner that’s beyond your reach is a pest’s favourite abode. With this in mind, keep a sharp eye out for any one of these varmints who may want to watch Netflix with you after a long day at work:

  • Spiders
  • Ants
  • Termites
  • Silverfish
  • Firebrats
  • Asian lady beetles
  • Carpet beetles
  • Carpenter ants
  • Fungus gnats

Be sure to look in the following areas for potential pest problems: behind and under couches, the corners of the walls, window panes, the fireplace (if you have one), books, shelves, houseplants, and near electronics or electric sockets. Bite marks in books means there are silverfish and firebrats nibbling away at your reading list. Windows are an ideal place to invade if there’s a weakness in the sealing. If your living room is next to or near the front hallway, check the door and frame to also investigate potential openings for varmints.

Attic and/or Basement

Some of the most dangerous varmints love to hide out in our attics and basements, because they’re dark, cool spaces that most of us don’t usually access unless we have to. Some of the spaces these varmints choose to nest in are also too small for us to reach and remove properly, which is when professional extermination is required. These varmints in particular are ones you should watch out for:

  • Squirrels
  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Raccoons
  • Birds
  • Wasps
  • Hornets
  • Spiders
  • Opossums
  • Raccoons
  • Phorid flies
  • Cockroaches

One way all of these pests can infest is via roof access. Check the walls and insulation for holes and weaknesses, and check all storage boxes and trunks if you keep most of your storage in either one of these areas. Your furnace, if you don’t clean it enough times, or it’s switched off for the season, may also potentially be a home to pests. Check the furnace and clean it up unless you want to smell fried varmint!

Garage

The garage may be a heavily trafficked area for some homes, but it’s also a haven for pests if you ignore nooks and crannies inside for too long. Like the attic and basement, garages are cool and warm enough for some pests looking for a new home of their own. 

Varmints you need to look out for include:

  • Birds
  • Silverfish
  • Firebrats
  • Squirrels
  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Millipedes
  • Wood lice/sowbugs

Check under the shelves if there are any installed, under or inside cars, cardboard boxes (if any are kept inside), and any damp or dark spots on the floor and ceiling. We know we keep mentioning silverfish and firebrats in this article, but that’s because they are especially sneaky and love to infest all sorts of areas in homes! So that’s why they’re almost on every list here.

Exterior (Back and front yards)

Spotting the occasional wildlife in your back and/or front yard is inevitable; we have to remember that most wild animals are our neighbours, and the majority of them contribute to keeping nature balanced. However, they can be pretty nasty neighbours if we let them do whatever they want! Some wildlife even spread diseases that can be deadly to some, especially kids and pets.

Stay safe as you examine the front and back yards for these particular varmints: 

  • Rabbits
  • Voles
  • Moles
  • Ticks
  • Wasps
  • Hornets
  • Pavement ants
  • Fire ants
  • Raccoons
  • Birds
  • Squirrels
  • Skunks
  • Opossums
  • Grasshoppers
  • Crickets
  • Wood lice/sow bugs

A lot of the places you especially need to look into are garbage cans, recycling bins, the lawn and garden(s), bushes, trees, fences, treehouses (if you have kids), hose faucets, tool sheds (including the doorway and walls), logs/firewood that you keep near your home, and cardboard boxes if you keep them in the shed. Any one of these places can be dark, damp, and smelly enough for a varmint.

Roof

Like the yard, the roof is a prime location for certain varmints to access. The chimney is a likely location since it’s difficult to investigate for everyone (we don’t recommend you checking there either! Leave that task to a professional exterminator and pest boss). These varmints can be especially troublesome to eradicate if they gain roof access to your home:

  • Wasps
  • Hornets
  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels
  • Birds

Check the gutters, flue, and windows if needed from a safe distance. If you hear any noises coming from the fireplace (see our previous point about the living room), or you know it’s been a while since you last cleaned, or–worst of all–you smell something bad, that’s when you need to report to your local pest boss for help. Seriously, leave all roof-related infestations to the experts!

They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere!

Some varmints will infest only in certain areas of the home where the damp and the dark exist. These varmints unfortunately can infest allllllll of the home no matter what room you’re in:

  • Termites
  • Crickets
  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Cockroaches
  • Wasps
  • Hornets
  • Honey bees (yes, unfortunately)
  • Asian lady beetles
  • Silverfish
  • Firebrats
  • Ants (all of them!)

It’s tough to know the size of the infestation of these pests by yourself. That’s why we highly recommend avoiding the temptation to invest in your own pest control and instead call for an exterminator or a wildlife removal expert. Seriously, a genuine pest boss knows what they’re doing!

If you’re suspicious of any of these pests in your home, or you’re afraid there’s something else we forgot to mention here, then visit our Pest Boss’s Click-a-Pest section where we go into a little more detail on each varmint.

Congratulations, you’ve become your own pest boss! If you need to hire the real deal for your pest problems, give us a call. We’ll get you, varmints!

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