Seven signs you should call a pest exterminator

The mouse is drinking coffee

Taking notice of early signs of infestations and calling a pest exterminator before it gets worst is essential to preserve the habitability and cleanliness of your home. And pest control is even more critical at work and in the office as employers are responsible and liable.

Exterminators are more than pest control technicians—they are here to support you every step of the way. In most cases, by the time we get involved, the pest infestation is established and the client is already suffering its adverse consequences. Below we outline seven typical signs of infestations, and what to check to confirm your suspicions.

“Taking an early notice of a pest infestation is essential to keep your home and family safe.”

There are seven signs that may allow you to recognise a pest infestation affecting your home. Depending on the pest and circumstances, only some may be relevant. We will go through each pest and advise you of when calling a pest exterminator becomes appropriate.

Here are the seven signs to look out for:

  • Sign 1: some droppings, shed skin and/or dead insect
  • Sign 2: a sighting or a smear mark
  • Sign 3: some noise
  • Sign 4: some smell
  • Sign 5: your pet’s behaviour
  • Sign 6: some damage on electrical cables or food packaging
  • Sign 7: your neighbour is being treated by a pest exterminator

1. When to call an exterminator for mice

Call an exterminator when you see mice droppings in the kitchen or a mouse running across the floor. Mice are incontinent and they will eventually leave droppings behind. It’s often easy to overlook the droppings on the floor, but if you find one at the back of the microwave or on top of the cooker, you then know you have a mouse problem.

It is also common to find food packaging chewed through by mice. But do not be confused by old biodegradable plastic breaking down.

Some of our clients reports that what first alerted them to the problem was their dog or cat. If your pet becomes erratic, they may have caught scent of a rodent or cockroach infestation, or heard noise from within walls or under floorboards. They will start scratching the floorboards or sniffing at the kickboards.

They may see a pest running about and start barking and chasing the thing out. But by the time we look we might have missed it.

The best thing to do when this happens is to immediately check for mouse droppings at the back of the washing machine or underneath the sink unit. The more poop, the longer it has been going on. But the safest course of action will always be to call a mice exterminator.

2. When to call an exterminator for cockroaches

We do not always know the root cause of an illness, and we usually go to the GP. Asthma, for example, can be triggered by a number of allergens, such as cockroach droppings and mice hairs. The doctor will likely offer alleviating treatments but not always be clear on the cause.

One sure sign of an established cockroach infestation is finding black dots on the hinges of the bottom kitchen units and at the back of the fridge. There is also a typical smell associated with cockroaches but most people would not know to recognise it for what it is.

Otherwise, you may see one cockroach or find an egg case or dead one. Whatever the level of activity you find, you should refrain from spraying cockroach killer as this will flush them away toward the neighbours. Spraying will eventually kill many cockroaches but will never reach their breeding sites at the back.

A trained pest exterminator will be able to recognise all signs of pest activity. Pest exterminators will normally rely on cockroach extermination gel. The bait will be taken by the cockroaches and will be spread by them, eliminating all the breeding sites.

3. When to call an exterminator for bed bugs

Most of our clients first develop a rash, or sometimes find bite marks but without being sure what they are from, as they could be some form of allergic reaction or from a biting insect.

A visit to the GP will often end up with a local anti-inflammatory cream prescription. However, depending on the doctor, they may make conjectures about possible food allergies or a possible pest control issue.

Other signs of bed bugs include shed skins, tiny black spots on the bed frame or blood on the pillow and sheets. But if you can correlate your bite marks with you sleeping in the bed, or after possibly spending time on the sofa, this will almost certainly point to an actual infestation.

If you have any marks, circle them with a pen. The following morning, check if you’ve developed any new marks.

4. When to call an exterminator for ants

The signs of an ant infestation are obvious as they often form a line, or harbour food from the same spots. The decision to call a pest exterminator for ants is obvious if you suffer from tropical ant activity. But when it comes to garden ants, it will depend on if you can identify the nest location from which they are coming.

For garden ants, you may want to follow them to see if it leads in a particular direction. Otherwise, you can check the perimeter of the building for signs of a nest. Try scratching the base of the wall with a stick—if you go over an entry, this will trigger an alarm response and you will see hundreds of ants rushing out.

If you do not find a nest, then it is time to call an ant exterminator who will be able treat the infestation and destroy the nest using specially designed pest control products.

5. When to call an exterminator for wasps

Wasps are very tricky and dangerous. It is not unusual to see a few flying about or feeding on certain shrubs. But if the frequency or amount of activity becomes too high, there may be a nest nearby.

Most of the wasp nests we treat are found at the gutter level of a building or shed. If you look at the line between the building and the sky and force your sight a little you may see that in a particular area you have 20–30 stationary wasps possibly waiting to get in.

Also, wasp exterminators would look for the constant movement of wasps between one area and another, as this may indicate a hole or gap that is hosting the entry of the nest.

You should never attempt to treat a wasp nest on your own unless you have access to the appropriate protective gear. If the nest is near a walkway, a window or a door you should immediately seek wasp nest removal assistance.

6- When to call an exterminator for fleas

Fleas are the second toughest pest to get rid of. They are not only very resilient to pesticides, but they also breed very quickly. The telltale sign that is characteristic of fleas is being bitten at ankle level. This can be quite confusing, as bed bugs are also biting insects; to help distinguish the difference, take into account the full pattern of the bite marks, rather than only a single bite.

As we often sit on the sofa with our pets, it would not be unusual to find a flea bite on your thigh. The questions arise, though, when you have no pets at home. If this is the case for you, check if your neighbours have any types of pets. Also, you may want to check for signs of rodent infestations in your home, as mice and rats are also prone to fleas.

On some occasions, the fleas are actually coming from the garden and are linked to foxes frequenting the place. So, keep in mind that the bite mark and the itch do not appear instantly and that you may have actually been bitten while outside of your home somewhere.

Because fleas are difficult to get rid of, it is best to call a flea exterminator as early as possible. If a flea infestation has been allowed to build up for too long, we often have to resort to a flea heat treatment.

7- Why to call a pest exterminator

If your neighbour told you they called a pest control company to treat their home, it is best to get your home checked as well. We are often asked to pop in for a few minutes at the neighbour’s place to check for the presence of mice droppings underneath the kitchen units or at the back of the washing machine.

Many pests are able to travel within the void spaces from one home to the next. This is especially true for mice control and cockroach infestations. If you neighbour warns you of a pest problem nearby, do take urgent steps to double check your own home. Look for the signs pests leave behind, such as an insect skin, a dead insect, etc.

If in doubt, put in place monitors or a preventive treatment.

If you want to protect your business or your home and family from pest problems, your peace of mind is paramount. Maybe you have concerns because of your newborn, or perhaps you’re suffering from a chronic condition that makes you vulnerable to disease. It could be that you are a collector or a carpet trader and want to protect your stock from moth activity. Or maybe you are a restaurant manager, or are responsible for a residential block and do not want a mouse infestation spreading like wildfire. Whatever your situation, a pest control company will be able to offer various pest control contract options to address your needs.

Sometimes people do their own pest control, but with subpar results; home owners at times can place down bait from the store in their home. This is often a plain wholewheat bait that is not palatable; or sometimes it’s worse—pre-baited plastic boxes! While well-intentioned, many people do not have the necessary expertise and place the baits in inappropriate areas.

I have seen clients waste a lot of money on commercial pest control products. They do not know how often and how thoroughly they need to treat. Professional pest control supplies are specially designed for this, and pest control technicians have the training and know-how.

In any case, refurbishing your house can solve a persistent mouse problem. However, it’s not every day that you refurbish your home. So, when/if you do it, it is essential to do it right: for example, builders need to seal off all gaps at wall and floor level before they fit the new kitchen units.

We often advise our clients to carry out a preventive treatment before they begin any refurbishing work. At this time, we can explain what is required. They can then have the builders in, removing the old kitchen and sealing everything off. We then come back to inspect the builder’s work. If we give the OK, the builders can then get on with fitting the new kitchen.

We often visit half-refurbished kitchens, where builders have removed the skirting board and left gaps around the pipework. By this time, it’s often too late, and the owner is left having to pay for the mouse proofing on a brand-new kitchen.

In a way it is best to, well, spend on a pest control company rather than waste a lot of money on a badly fitted kitchen. Pest exterminators and pest control companies have a duty of care. So, you should never hesitate to contact us for advice.