Pest infestations usually aren’t particularly subtle. In fact, most people discover they have pests after running into obvious damage or the culprits themselves. They probably don’t feel this way, but people who run into their pests early are the lucky ones. The faster you run into your pests, the faster you can take steps to wipe them out.
Unfortunately, it’s not always so easy to tell you have an infestation. Pests are shy. They don’t want to meet you any more than you want to meet them. It would be the ideal relationship, except that pests will damage your property whether or not you can see them. Some of this damage is hard to see until it’s significant. Here are four subtle but potentially expensive ways pests can make problems for you without ever crossing your path.
Pests get into homes by finding or making small access points near windows, doors, or the foundation. To work their way in, they often have to push their way through insulation or weatherstripping. These access points don’t disappear after the pest has used them, either. The small gaps pests create to enter a home often become the source of hidden drafts. These drafts, in turn, help other pests like rats and mice find their way in.
Drafts aren’t just a pain because they attract pests. They also drive up indoor humidity, force your HVAC to work harder, and make your home less comfortable. Fixing drafts is one of the most effective ways to prevent pests. Look for damaged insulation in unfinished parts of the home. Check weatherstripping on doors and windows to make sure the weatherstripping is snug and undamaged. Look for damage around door and window frames, too. Consider having damaged frames replaced, or at least seal cracks with caulk.
Termites, carpenter ants, and powderpost beetles can all inflict significant damage on wooden structures. The problem is, this damage can be hard to identify… at least until it’s significant. Termites and carpenter ants usually start breaking down wood in places where you wouldn’t see the damage unless you went looking for it. As they continue breaking the wood down, they carve tunnels through it. They use these tunnels to move further into the wood and to access new sources—including sources in your home!
Wood-destroying pests don’t inflict damage over night, but the damage they do inflict can get significant. Termites carve tunnels through structure-bearing wood until it needs to be replaced. Powderpost beetles eat holes through wooden furniture. Different kinds of wood-destroying pests leave behind different evidence. Termites build mud-tunnels to move from the ground to wood nearby. Carpenter ants leave behind sawdust-like wood shavings as they excavate. You may be able to spot pinhead-sized holes made by powderpost beetles in your wooden furniture.
Rodents love to sharpen their teeth on electrical cords. They frequently chew plastic—the soft plastic cover over cords—and expose the wiring within. Sometimes, they’ll even damage the wire itself, releasing the electrical current. Rodent-related electrical damage is especially dangerous because it often goes unnoticed. Rats and mice are shy, so they usually chew on wires that are hidden. It can be hard to notice damage to “hidden” wires until it’s already become a serious problem.
Rat’s penchant for wire-munching can be dangerous in several ways. Most obviously, there’s an electrocution hazard. Check for damage before you touch any wire, even if you don’t think it has a charge running through it. Damaged wires might also overload and short out or even damage attached appliances. Worst of all, exposed wires can overheat and spark, which could lead to dangerous electrical fires. Keep an eye on electrical wires in vulnerable areas of the home. If you spot damage, move or replace the wire immediately!
Not even your books and papers are safe from a potential pest onslaught! Roaches, silverfish, beetles, termites, and even lice can all tear into paper as a food source. Paper damage can be particularly difficult to identify because pests most often go after stored paper products. It’s not like you crack open those stacks of books packed away in your basement every day.
When pests infest stored paper, they’ll keep eating until they don’t have anything left to munch on. Obviously, they’ll destroy whatever they’re feeding on in the process. Paper also gives pests material to build nests in and food for their young. After they’ve snacked on paper, they might make their way to other parts of your home. The best way to prevent paper damage is by storing paper products in humidity and temperature-controlled places. If you’re storing paper for long periods, keep it in airtight, hard-plastic containers.
The worst pest infestation is always the infestation you don’t know you have. As soon as you know you have an infestation, you can start doing something about it. Looking for these hidden signs of pest damage can be a good way to find infestations early.
Once you find a potential infestation, the hard part is past. The next step is as easy as calling Plunkett’s Pest Control. We can find and wipe out any pest infestation, no matter how early or subtle it is.BACK TO BLOG