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Identifying Common Household Pests and How To Deal With Them

Use this guide to help spot household pests in your home.

Identifying Common Household Pests and How To Deal With Them

From ants marching across the kitchen counter to rodents nesting in the attic, pest infestations are something no homeowner wants to deal with. Beyond the ick factor, these intruders can cause a whole host of problems including property damage and even health issues. Learn how to identify household pests before they take over, and what to do when you find them. 

Stop the Insect Invasion

Ants, cockroaches and other insects are a pervasive problem in many homes. They can enter through tiny cracks and are often found searching for food in the kitchen. Remember to use DIY pest control methods with caution, as many can be harmful for children and pets. 


Ants are social insects and follow established trails, so if you see one there are likely many more. Even if you haven’t spotted any ants, you might notice crumbs or small pieces of food in strange places. Be on the lookout for small dirt piles near your home. Carpenter ants excavate wood to build their nests, leaving behind piles of sawdust. If you discover ants in your home: 

  • Eliminate food sources by keeping your kitchen and dining areas clean and free of crumbs.
  • Seal entry points such as cracks around doors, windows and foundations.
  • Use ant baits and traps for short-term control. For long-term elimination or large infestations, contact a professional


Cockroaches like to stay hidden from humans. While you may see discarded skins, you’ll also want to watch out for other signs. Cockroach droppings resemble black pepper or coffee grounds and are often found near food sources or in dark, secluded areas. You might find them inside cupboards or closets. Check behind furniture, between books or other hidden areas for their egg capsules, which are oblong, brown casings. When cockroach populations get big enough, you’ll notice a heavy, musty odor. If you think you’re dealing with cockroaches: 

  • Maintain a clean and dry environment, especially in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Use traps and baits to reduce their numbers.
  • Consider professional pest control. Roaches are resilient and reproduce quickly.

Stinging Insects:

Stinging insects like wasps and hornets are especially dangerous pests, as they can trigger serious allergic reactions. If you’ve noticed increased activity in or around your home, be on the lookout for paper-like nests and distinct buzzing noises coming from wall cavities or attic spaces. When dealing with stinging insects: 

  • Avoid disturbing the nest. If you must remove it, consider doing so at night when the insects are less active.
  • Wear protective clothing if attempting to remove a nest.
  • For safety and effective removal, it is best to hire a professional, especially with bees, which may require relocation instead of extermination.

Get Rid of Rodents

Rodents love cozy areas like attics and crawlspaces. Mice and rats will nest wherever they can find a warm place to lay their head and ample food. Rodents are particularly harmful to you and your family as they can carry diseases and cause damage to electrical and HVAC systems. 


You might have a mouse problem even if you don’t see them. Listen for squeaking, scratching and rustling in walls and ceilings, particularly at night. Look for grease marks or smudges along walls or floorboards and small, ¼ inch droppings that are pointed at both ends, often found along walls, in cupboards and under sinks. You may also notice gnaw marks on wood, plastic and even food packaging. They nest in fabric, shredded paper and dried plant matter. These nests can be found in secluded areas of your home, in storage boxes and inside walls. If you have mice: 

  • Reduce clutter to eliminate nesting sites, seal food and maintain a clean environment. 
  • Inspect your home for any gaps or holes and seal them with steel wool, caulk, or cement.
  • Use traps according to their instructions. Avoid rodenticides as they can be harmful for kids and pets. 
  • Seek professional rodent removal and inspection services for safe, lasting control. 


Similar to mice, you can spot a rat problem without having seen an actual rat. Listen for loud scratching sounds and look for large gnaw marks, even on hard materials like pipes and cinder blocks. Their droppings are about a ½ inch long and may be spindle-shaped. Look for burrows along your foundation and nearby gardens, woodpiles or garbage areas. Track marks or greasy rub marks are indicators of their presence. If you suspect a rat problem: 

  • Eliminate potential rodent harborage locations such as heavy vegetation, piled garbage, and outdoor clutter near the building.
  • Place baited traps in high-activity areas, but be careful of the risks associated with DIY pest control methods. 
  • Enlist the services of a professional to avoid non-target poisoning and ensure effective treatment. 

Eradicate Household Pests For Good

Unwanted guests can invade even the tidiest homes, and DIY pest control can be risky and ineffective. Brooks Pest Control provides comprehensive pest and rodent services that are eco-friendly and safe for kids and pets. We back our services with a 100% satisfaction guarantee – if the pests come back, so do we. 

Don’t let pests overstay their welcome. Reach out today to schedule a visit, including same-day, next-day and Saturday services.