Pests in the home and garden can cause all types of problems, whether it’s the structural damage to the house or the serious health risks they pose to the people and animals living there.
Beyond the standards ants or cockroaches that most people think of when they hear the word ‘pests,’ there are actually many types of pests that can invade your living space.
What are the most common types of pests that can take over your home?
In Northern America, the most common pests that households deal with include ants, cockroaches, mice, rats, beetles, fleas, ticks, and spiders, but there are others on the list as well. Being able to identify these pests and knowing the best course of action will help reduce their numbers and the damage they’re able to do.
This is a definitive list of the most common pests you can expect to find in the home and yard, and how each of them can be treated.
Whether you take a DIY approach or call in expert help from an exterminator, every homeowner should be aware of what pests are lurking out there waiting to get inside.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the types of pests, we got you covered:
- 1 Rodents as Pests
- 2 Yard Pests Found Outside the Home
- 3 Common Insects as Pests
- 4 Related Questions
Rodents as Pests
Pests don’t just have to be crawling bugs and creepy insects, as sometimes the worse ones fall into the rodent category.
Rodents are an order of mammals that commonly gnaw and they have the potential to carry disease and damage the structural integrity of your home.
The standard house mouse is capable of transmitting disease as well as destroying furniture, belongings, and the home’s structure.
A mouse is capable of a gestation period of up to 21 days and can birth around 12 pups per litter, so they are capable of breeding quickly and frequently.
They hide behind walls and furniture and usually only come out at night.
To get rid of mice, the most common approach is to set up traps in areas where they habitat.
Using some form of food like peanut butter and baiting a trap, they can be caught, killed, and disposed of.
For more serious infestations, an exterminator may lay more detailed traps or distribute poison throughout the home.
Rats carry a large number of diseases and having an infestation in your home can be serious for both animals and humans.
They also cause serious damage to the home, chewing walls, cables, and furniture.
A rat is similar to a mouse in that their gestation period is around 21 days and a single pair of brown rats are capable of producing up to 2,000 rats a year.
The best approach to get rid of rats is to seal up any entry points to the house, bait them with poison or lay traps around the home.
Treating rat infestations can take multiple attempts and in serious cases, it’s better to let a professional exterminator try to deal with them.
Squirrels are usually found outside but if they come into your home in search of food and shelter they can quickly become an issue.
A squirrel will go to great lengths to build themselves a home in your house which means doing a lot of damage to it.
They don’t usually present any health risks but they can take over the home quite easily.
If you have a squirrel infestation in your house you can use the same methods for other rodents like baits and traps.
They don’t mate as frequently as rats and mice with the common gray squirrel mating just twice a year and are usually easier to get rid of, but treatment must be done at first sight of them.
Yard Pests Found Outside the Home
Pests aren’t just those that make their way inside and live beneath the walls or underneath furniture, as they can also be found outside.
Garden and yard pests still have the potential to do a lot of damage and even carry disease so you should be familiar with the common offenders.
Raccoons are another animal that you might not consider a pest at first but they can spread disease, illness, and even scratch or bite you if confronted.
In addition to being unsafe, they also cause a lot of damage to the home. These pests are commonly found in areas like attics, chimneys, walls, crawl spaces, and vents.
A raccoon may seek shelter inside your house and build themselves a nest and they can be extremely hard to get rid of, with expert help required to remove them safely.
It’s not advisable to approach them yourself as they can bite and attack, spreading bacteria and disease in the process, so a profession pest control service is needed.
A mole is a common backyard pest that does most of its damage in the garden and you can usually spot them by looking for the tunnels and mounds of dirt that they dig up.
These pests feed on what they dig up in the garden which also makes it easier for other pests to come into the yard as well.
A mole’s hole can reach up to 10 inches underneath the ground and they can do serious damage to your garden.
To get rid of moles, the most common approach is trapping them, killing them, and then disposing of them, but it can take multiple attempts to completely rid yourself of the problem.
There are some repellents you can put in the garden but the harsher variety can be harmful to other creatures that live there.
A vole is sometimes called a field mouse and these relatives of mice are a common household pest.
They can do serious damage to your garden and lawn when left untreated, and they can have up to ten litters per year which means they have a high reproduction rate.
At just one month of age, they have reached sexual maturity which leads to an infestation that can occur quickly.
To get rid of voles, you can set up traps in the yard that kill them, otherwise, there are some natural repellents that might be useful.
Due to their reproductive cycle, it can be hard to get rid of them in one go and you’ll usually have to employ a range of methods to be successful, including hiring the help of a pest control service.
Common Insects as Pests
The biggest variety of household pests falls into the insect category with everything from ants to flies being included.
These are the most common pests people deal with at home and they have the potential to do everything from carrying disease to cause structural damage to your house, so they need to be identified and treated immediately.
Known as one of the toughest pests to defeat, cockroaches are winged insects that can carry disease, cause allergic reactions, and taint food with bacteria.
This common household pest multiplies very quickly and their nests are often located in hidden areas which makes them hard to find.
They love moist areas and are drawn to food that’s been left out so hygiene is important in getting rid of them.
To kill cockroaches, the most popular approach is with bait which they then take back to their nest and share with others, effectively killing them all.
However, due to their high numbers, you will need to perform multiple treatments to be successful and will need to spend months eradicating them.
There are many different types of ants that can be a common household pest but most of them use the same treatment.
They are usually attracted to food and found in the kitchen but can also have nests that go deep into the structure of the home and cause serious damage.
Ants can be stubborn when it comes to pest control and you will need to work for a few months in order to eliminate them.
However, there are many proven methods for getting rid of them including insect sprays, ultrasonic repellents, and baits and poisons and that ants take back to their colonies.
Although not all spiders are considered dangerous, they do attract other pests in the home and can also cause allergies with their webs.
They’re able to multiply quite quickly, depending on the species, and will be more prevalent in certain seasons of the year.
Some spiders can be fatal or poisonous especially for children and animals who don’t understand the risks they pose, so they’re not a pest you want to leave hanging around.
The most common approach to getting rid of spiders is using insect repellent or spray, and they will require more than one treatment usually to be effective.
Most DIY pest control products are sufficient at dealing with spiders and an infestation usually won’t be as hard to get rid of as other household pests.
A bed bug is a small parasitic insect that feeds on the blood of their host and they are usually found living in mattresses and bedding.
They can be incredibly hard to get rid of and will bite the host, sometimes leading to infection. A bed bug travels on clothing or even in suitcases and if you’re unsure what to look for they can be hard to identify.
Bed bugs can be hard to treat and sometimes a professional is needed to identify them, which is why many people leave it to pest control services to solve the problem.
In some cases, you may need to completely discard your bedding and have your mattresses treated with heat and chemicals in order to remove the bugs.
Fleas are winged insects that jump, and they’re commonly found in homes that have either cats or dogs as pets.
Although they do also bite humans, their main hosts are animals and they are capable of reproducing at a fast rate.
The average flea life cycle takes between three to six weeks to complete which is what makes them such a stubborn pest.
A flea infestation will usually take multiple treatments to deal with due to the number of eggs that can spread throughout the house.
Common flea treatments include sprays, fumigation, and heat treatments. Regular washing of pets with specialized flea shampoo is needed and all furniture and bedding have to be treated in order to get rid of them.
Ticks are parasites that attach themselves to the skin of animals and feed on their blood.
They pose a serious threat to both humans and pets, and an infestation usually begins outside of the home but can make its way inside.
Ticks can spread disease like Lyme disease and cause paralysis so it’s imperative to treat this pest as soon as it’s found.
Unlike fleas, ticks can’t jump so it can be harder for them to find a host and they are usually more of a problem outside than inside.
However, getting rid of them requires a multi-pronged approach including sealing the house, treating animals, doing a thorough vacuum and clean of the house, and then spraying a specialized tick killer.
There are hundreds of species of beetles that pose a threat to the household and are classified as common pests.
Although most types of beetles don’t cause any harm through bites or spreading disease, the main issue is the structural damage they can cause to your house and furniture.
They are able to hide well in the house and reproduce quickly which makes them somewhat hard to get rid of.
The most common methods for treating wood-boring beetles include natural repellents and sprays, and a solution of diatomaceous earth which is a desiccant that kills larvae and beetles.
For more serious cases where these beetles have completely taken over a home, it may be necessary for complete fumigation which involves suffocating the pests with help from a professional exterminator.
Termites are small insects that live in large colonies, often building nests in or around the home.
Known as some of the most destructive insects, these pests can do a lot of damage to your home and when left untreated can completely destroy buildings and structures.
Termites are especially attracted to wood and can quickly eat through timber, trees, and plants.
To rid yourself of a termite infestation usually takes a lot of time, and can be over 12 months in some cases.
Where an infestation has begun a long time ago, like in older homes, it can be especially hard to get rid of them and so in-depth fumigation might be needed.
Otherwise, bait stations and poison may be sufficient to kill them when their numbers are still low.
Houseflies and fruit flies are the two most common species known as pests in the average household.
Fruit flies will quickly and easily destroy food that’s left out and can pose a threat to your outside garden.
Common houseflies are capable of carrying bacteria and disease, so they present a completely different type of problem as a household pest.
To rid your home of flies is relatively easy and most of the time they can be caught with a trap or repelled with natural products.
Because they fly in from outside and have a gestation period of around 24 hours, they are near impossible to get rid of completely and so constant measures must be taken to get rid of them inside.
By understanding the most common types of pests that can invade your home, you’re arming yourself with the knowledge you need to treat them.
We’ve answered some commonly asked questions about household pests that can make it easier to remove them from your home and prevent an infestation from getting worse.
What is the Most Common Household Pest?
In the United States, the cockroach is considered the most common household pest and one that is found in most homes.
The severity of an infestation will depend on each house and the treatments being used to eradicate them, but they can carry health risks because of the bacteria they spread.
Can You Kill Pests Naturally?
The majority of household pests can be killed or treated with natural methods like traps and repellent, but some of them may require more serious methods.
If natural pest control isn’t effective then you will need to enlist the services of an exterminator or professional pest control service.
Can You Get Termites in New Construction?
A common misconception about termites is that they are usually only found in older buildings, but it is possible to have a termite infestation in new construction.
This commonly occurs when mulch which contains termites is spread around a garden and the termites then make their way to the timber in the new home.