Pest Identification Guide


Regardless of how clean you keep your home, pests are bound to make their way inside somehow. After all, they’re called pests for a reason. Oftentimes, people may be aware they have pests, but aren’t quite sure what exactly is lurking beneath the shadows.

Luckily, there are a few ways you can identify what type of pest you have so that you can start taking care of the problem as soon as possible.

Identifying Rodents

The first sign that you have rodents present in your home is finding droppings around your home, especially in spots where food is present. This can include drawers, pantries, cabinets, and more.

If you think you’ve found droppings, look closely at the food packages to check for bite marks. If your packages have been opened, chances are there’s a rodent present. Aside from these obvious signs, some less apparent ones can include stale smells in hidden spots, holes in the wall, and sounds of scurrying within the walls.

Once you’ve determined you have a rodent infestation, it can be difficult to decipher just what type of rodent you may have present. Although many types of rodents look the same, there are some differences that can help you figure out what type of rodent it actually is.

Mice for instance, can grow to be six to seven inches long, including their tail. Their fur tends to be a grayish-brown, which also covers their tails. Their undersides are white and they have small black eyes and short noses. Their droppings are on the smaller side and have pointed ends.

Rats on the other hand, are quite different from mice despite both being rodents and both having long tails. They are slightly bigger than mice, stretching to about nine inches in length, tail included. Rats can weigh up to two pounds and have brown and grey-colored fur. Unlike mice, a rat’s tail is completely hairless, which is its most distinguishing feature.

Rat droppings are about 20 mm long and are shaped like a capsule, as opposed to mice droppings which are shaped like rods. Rats have long teeth that need to be sharpened, so they are constantly chewing on just about anything they can get their teeth into. As a result, you may find that a lot of your personal belongings have been destroyed.

Those who have found that the damage to their home has been done on their lawn, as opposed to the inside of their home, may be suffering from a mole infestation. Moles like to dig, particularly in lawns and gardens. A sign that you have a mole infestation include raised ridges in the earth where a mole has been digging and holes in the ground.

Moles are much bigger than mice and rats – weighing around 4.5 ounces and up to 6 inches in length. Moles appear not to have any eyes despite the fact that they do. A moles claws are also extremely large due to the fact that they use their claws to dig.

Identifying Insects

Insects are perhaps the most common form of pest found invading a home. These can include roaches, bedbugs, termites, spiders, and even ticks.

Spiders are perhaps the easiest to identify out of the entire group. They have eight legs and several pairs of eyes. Luckily, spiders don’t fly due to their lack of wings. However, this doesn’t stop them from being able to enter your home. You can typically find spiders hiding in clothing, firewood, or even décor that has been stored in attics or basements for long periods of time.

Spiders typically make their way into a person’s home via open windows, under door cracks, and even through loose screens. The good news is, there are only two types of spiders in the United States that are dangerous to humans. These are the brown recluse and the black widow.

A brown recluse can be identified via the violin-shaped marking on top of its cephalothorax. Black widows can be identified by the red hourglass-shaped marking underneath its abdomen.

Bed bugs are another common insect that tend to infest homes in swarms. They are incredibly difficult to get rid of and tend to spread rather quickly. The worst part is, bed bugs are hard to find and are good at hiding. Bed bugs can be dangerous to humans, especially if not caught in time.

The main sign that your home may be infested with bed bugs are the bite marks that tend to show up on humans in the shape of a triangle. They can also be identified by the droppings they leave behind, which are small and can be found primarily in bed corners.

Another common insect that can be found in a person’s home is a cockroach. You can tell if you have a roach infestation if you are constantly finding dark droppings around. Cockroach eggs are typically found nearby.

Cockroaches tend to live in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and even drains. Many usually come out after it has rained and when the weather is warm. They can make their way into your home through drains, through your garage, or by sneaking underneath doorways.

Roaches prefer humid environments, which is why you can find them in bathrooms and kitchens, particularly in cupboards.

Termites are also incredibly common in homes, especially homes made out of wooden structures. Termites tend to do a lot of damage in homes, to the point that they can destroy them completely. Some common signs of termite activity include discolored drywall, tiny holes in the drywall, stuck windows and doors, and piles of wings throughout your home.

Termites burrow deep into your home’s wooden structures and may even destroy a large part of your home before you even discover them.

Termites have long, brownish bodies and may look like ants. The only difference is, they have wings. Much like ants, termites travel in colonies so chances are you’ll find a handful of them at the same time.

Other sources to help you identify what type of pests you have in your home:

For more information on pest identification, check out these resources:

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