House hunting can be exciting as well as overwhelming. There are so many factors to consider: What neighborhood do you want to live in? What can you afford? How many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need? Do you want something move-in ready or a fixer-upper?
When making your checklist of house hunting must-haves, make sure to add “pest-free”.
Looking for pests probably isn’t the first thing you think of when house hunting, but it’s one of the most important. You certainly don’t want to inherit a pest problem when moving into your new home; depending on the pest, the problem could range from a minor nuisance to a danger to your home and/or health.
Since it’s not always possible to get a professional inspection of every house you tour, here are seven red flags that you should be on the look out for.
# 1 Living or dead pests
This one seems obvious, but the charm and potential of a new house can cause homebuyers to overlook “just a bug or two.” Look at pictures online (see our helpful Pest Library) to familiarize yourself with common pests. If, during your inspection of the home, you find living or dead bed bugs, cockroaches, mice, or other pests, understand that you’ll probably need professional intervention to resolve the issue. It doesn’t mean you should cross the house off your list but you might want to talk to a trusted pest control company (like Scherzinger Pest Control) to get an idea about the time and money you’ll need to invest to resolve this problem.
# 2 Pest Control Items
Items like mouse traps, bug spray, insecticides, roach bait, and even diatomaceous earth can indicate that the seller has had, or still has, pest problems. If you see items like these, you might try talking to the homeowners about the extent of the problem—but be aware that they may downplay the problem somewhat in order to put their house in the best possible light.
# 3 Pest Droppings and Egg Casings
Pests are extremely good at hiding, making them difficult to find in normal circumstances—let alone during a brief home tour. What you can easily spot, however, are their droppings and egg casings. Check for droppings throughout the house and for casings behind furniture.
Tip: Keep in mind that bed bugs especially are excellent at concealing themselves. For ideas on where you might find them read Hide and Seek: 5 Unexpected Places Bed Bugs May Be Hiding.
# 4 Signs of Nests
Mice, rats, and other rodents will make nests out of shredded paper, fabric, and whatever else they can find. Check the nooks and crannies of the house with a flashlight for evidence of nests. Small holes in the walls and floors and gnaw marks can also be signs that rodents have invaded the house.
# 5 Foul Odors
A large pest infestation will almost certainly come with an odor particular to the pest. Mice and rodents will often cause the home to smell like urine, while bed bugs will make the home smell musty, like an old wet towel. Cockroaches in large numbers are said to have an oily, musky smell. If you smell any foul odors while touring the house, it’s likely there is a a problem of some kind (ex. pests or mold).
# 6 Strange Sounds
Most signs of pests can be found using your eyes, but don’t ignore what your ears tell you. If you hear scratching, scurrying, gnawing, or squeaking, that is a good sign that there are rodents present.
# 7 Signs of Termites and Termite Damage
While it can be difficult to detect termite infestations, there are a few tell-tale signs. These include a muddy-looking substance on wood surfaces as well as small holes and mud tubes in wood. Extensive termite damage will hollow out wood, which you can check by tapping the wood and listening to the sound. Termites themselves often go unseen, but you may be able to spot small termite wings, particularly around windowsills, that are shed in the spring.
We hope our tips help you determine if the house you’re considering is everything you ever wanted—or infested with disgusting and harmful pests. Keep in mind that while any of these seven signs are definitely red flags they don’t automatically mean the house is a no go. When you work with an experienced pest control company (like Scherzinger Pest Control) most infestations can be cleared up completely.
Concerned you might have a pest infestation on your hands? Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.