Common Household Pests

by Washington Federal Team on September 27, 2011

The house looks perfect.  You’ve always wanted a wrap-around porch, and the freshly painted shutters pop against the exterior. But there may be problems you can’t see.  Problems with legs that lurk around the home’s foundation or inside its walls.

Before you make an offer on that dream home, a qualified pest inspection is a must. Make sure you list a clean pest inspection as a contingency on any offer you make on a home.  While the buyer has to cover the $75-100 for the inspection, you’ll be able to negotiate with the seller to pay for repairs and extermination. Here are some common household pests to watch out for:

1. Termites

Termites not only cause the most damage, they are the most expensive to exterminate. If left untreated, termites can eat away at the wood in your home, leaving you with structural damage and major repair bills. In many parts of the country, preventative treatment for termites is considered routine home maintenance.

2. Carpenter Ants

Much like termites, carpenter ants eat wood and destroy homes from the inside out. These uninvited guests nest in your walls and are attracted to damp areas such as laundry rooms, leaky sinks and attics. As you tour the house, keep your eyes peeled for damp areas or piles of sawdust around the baseboards — warning signs of potential carpenter ants infestation. The same pest inspection that checks for termites will also look for carpenter ants.

3. Bedbugs

Bedbugs are often mistakenly thought to live only in dirty, unkempt hotel rooms, but it’s important to note that bedbug infestations can happen anywhere. To make matters worse, bedbugs are extremely resilient and can live tucked away without eating for more than a year. To check for bedbugs, the inspector will search for evidence of their black fecal matter on the chairs, mattresses, carpets and couches. It’s not the end of the world to move into a house with bedbugs – there are easy and inexpensive treatments – but being aware and prepared is the first and most important step.

4. Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are world travelers and were brought to the United States from Asia. Their resilience has allowed them to spread through agricultural imports and survive in a variety of environments. Stink bugs typically hide out around attics, fireplaces and exhaust fans. To avoid an infestation, make sure the home is well insulated, with window screens in good repair, weather stripping around doors.

5. Fleas

If the previous owner had pets, fleas are easier to exterminate before you move your furniture in.  Don’t forget about the yard.  If you have pets you know fleas are much easier to control today than 20 years ago.

When it comes to these common household pests, staying vigilant is key.  Prevention costs are minimal, while simple insect removal can cost several hundred dollars. An advanced infestation such as termites can cost thousands of dollars to treat and repair. Remember, make passing a pest inspection part of your requirements when writing an offer on a home. Finding and removing pests early will save you headaches and money later.


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