Have you ever found a mouse in your kitchen when you tiptoed down for a midnight snack? Maybe a raccoon hiding in your trash can or a furry invader in your chimney? We wondered what Americans consider the worst pests to encounter at home. To find out, we asked 1,000 homeowners from across the U.S. Here’s what they had to say.
As we start the fall season this year, we surveyed 1,000 homeowners across the U.S., asking the question “What are the worst pests to have in your home?”
More than 30% of those surveyed rated mice as the worst pest to have inside a home. A close second was snakes at 26% of respondents.
After the top two responses, three other pests came in at nearly a dead heat. Thirteen percent of respondents ranked bats next in line for annoying pests, followed by raccoons and squirrels at about 12% of the vote each. Finally, pigeons came in last with only 5% of responses.
Most Common Pests in the U.S.
According to How Stuff Works, the most common household pests in the U.S. include:
Cockroaches are reviled by homeowners for the bacteria and diseases they can spread in homes, including hepatitis and salmonella. In addition, the difficulty in eradicating them makes cockroaches a massive pest.
Mice might be cuter than their larger cousins, rats, but they can cause a lot of damage. Mice in your home can result in damaged clothes and other soft items, from books to couches. In addition, mice can reproduce up to 10 times a year, so a small infestation can get out of hand fast.
Like cockroaches, rats are known to bring diseases with them when they come indoors. They can also damage wood items, electrical wires, and insulation. Removing rats from your home isn’t enough to keep them out; rat-proofing is necessary to ensure they don’t come back.
Termites can cause massive damage to a home. In addition to exterior and interior wood building materials, they also attack books and furniture. Some wood building materials are more resistant to termite infestation than others, including cedar and redwood.
Ants are small but they can cause a major headache for homeowners. Like cockroaches, once they’ve infested your home they can be very difficult to get rid of. Ants are attracted to food and water sources inside the home, so fixing leaking pipes and removing moisture from basements and crawl spaces can help.
Most damaging pests in the U.S.
Pests inside the home can give us the willies and cause major headaches, but which pests are the most damaging? According to Texas A&M University, these are some of the pests that cause the most expensive damage:
- Powderpost beetles
- Carpenter ants
- Bed bugs
Powderpost beetles attack homes in Texas and throughout the southern states, chewing on hardwood used in molding, floors, doors, furniture items, and cabinet doors. One way to identify an infestation is fine sawdust residue and small holes in the wood. Most infestations happen in newer homes less than six years old. The best solution is to remove the infested wood items.
Carpenter ants attack wood items to make nests for their young. They can also infest hollow areas, including insulation, causing expensive home repairs. Squirrels can also cause expensive home damages, from chewing holes in siding and other materials to nesting in the attic.
Honeybees play a hugely important role in a healthy ecosystem, but when they come indoors, they can be quite a pest. If a hive is built inside, the honey and wax leaking out can cause quite a mess. In addition, bee extermination and removal services can add up. Finally, “bed bugs” is a term no homeowner wants to hear. In addition to carrying diseases, these harmful pests can damage bedding materials and furniture. Extermination is costly and time-consuming.
Protecting your home against pests
No one wants to encourage pests to come inside their homes. Here are some of the best ways to protect your home against pests:
- Pest-proof your foundation by identifying and fixing cracks that pests can enter through.
- Remove leaves and mulch from around the home’s foundation and stack wood 12 feet away.
- Remove trash promptly and keep it locked away in pest-proof containers.
- Keep kitchens free of open food containers and remove crumbs from all areas of the home.
- Fix leaking pipes immediately and clean up standing water in bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas.
- Seal openings, including those made for water, gas, electrical, or air-conditioning piping and around HVAC units.
- Repair exterior cracks and seal around doors and windows.
- Install screens to keep pests out of doors and windows.
A free inspection from the country’s leading foundation repair experts can help you learn what steps you can take to secure your foundation and protect your home from pests.