Pests can be a big problem for homeowners. Infestations from insects and rodents can cause biohazards, structural problems, and costly repairs. Homeowners who understand the dangers involved and how they can be prevented can protect their family members and anyone else who enters their home.
What Are the Signs Of An Infestation?
Knowing the signs of an infestation are important. Sometimes, infestations will be very subtle. Other times, infestations are quite obvious. Some of the signs of an infestation include:
- Faeces (especially in corners, under sinks, behind doorways, along hallways, in confined areas and in food pantries).
- Holes chewed through the walls.
- Sounds in the walls like chewing, scampering and running.
- Holes chewed through boxes of food.
- Visual sightings.
Some signs of infestations are more difficult to spot. For example, some wood-eating insects will leave only the slightest trace of an infestation. Presence of saw dust along the baseboards of a wall, or holes in a wooden door or roof joists may be the only indications of a problem. Other animals (bats, for example) can live for many years in a loft without ever being noticed.
How Do Pests Get Into Homes?
Typically, pests enter homes via holes and cracks in the perimeter of the house. Depending on the structure of the home and the way the homeowner maintains the property, there may be many points of entry for pests.
Vents into and out of the home must be covered with slats, wire or hardware cloth to prevent small mammals from entering. Mice, squirrels and other small animals can sometimes enter homes through these holes in the wall.
Mice can sometimes squeeze into a home through the crack under the front or back doors. Weatherstripping and sealing the home can prevent this from happening. Mice and other animals can also enter the home if the door is left open for any period of time.
Cracks in the Foundation
Insects can enter the home through cracks in the foundation, if they are wide enough. Sealing the cracks in the foundation can cut off access to the home. Oftentimes, extensive repair may be required to properly reseal a cracked or otherwise damaged foundation. In this case, homeowners should contact a professional for assistance, rather than attempt a DIY repair.
Holes in the Loft
Animals like squirrels and rats are known to enter the home through holes in the loft. Often, these holes are made by the animal itself. Small animals are known to identify weaknesses in loft vents and chew through old wood and other barriers to make a hole just large enough to make entry possible.
What Are the Dangers of Pest Infestation?
There are many ways that pests present a danger to people. Understanding these problems can help homeowners to protect themselves.
Pests can carry diseases that endanger people. Different types of animals can carry different diseases including rabies, hantavirus and even the plague. Insects can also cause health problems for people through bites and stings. Insect bites can cause irritation and even allergic reactions that can have deadly consequences.
Odours from pests can compromise indoor air quality, leading to problems like asthma and general discomfort. Pests cause smells by nesting in vents and by living in confined parts of the house, like basements or the loft. Smells can come from the animal’s body odour, or may spread through the house via the animal’s urine and faeces. Sometimes working with a professional cleaning and odour neutralisation provider is necessary to rid the house of smells after the animal has been eliminated.
Some pests (rodents in particular) love to chew through wires, which can cause fires through wire arcing and other problems. Fire hazards are a particular threat in homes where rodents have been living in the loft and the walls.
How Can You Prevent Pest Infestation In the Future?
The best way to protect a home from pest infestation is to have the home regularly inspected for infestations. Homeowners who periodically enter their loft or basement to look for problems may find it easier to keep insects and small animals at bay. It’s also important to perform regular maintenance around the house. Sealing cracks and holes, making repairs as needed and keeping the house clean can prevent animals from gaining entry or deciding to stay if they do get in. By taking proper care of the property, many homeowners can avoid the worst of the problem.
Justin Havre, CEO of Justin Havre & Associates
Justin Havre is a Calgary native and owner of Justin Havre & Associates. Justin believes knowledge and a keen eye are the best tools for helping homeowners protect their homes and their health.