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What Are the Worst Pests to Have in Your Home?

spiders crawling on a crawl space wall.

Have you ever seen a mouse in your kitchen while up for a late night snack? Maybe you caught a raccoon hiding in your trash can or even heard a furry invader scampering 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?”


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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.

worst pests to have inside your home

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
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Termites
  • Ants

Cockroaches spread bacteria and diseases like hepatitis and salmonella, making them a significant pest. Mice, though smaller, can cause extensive damage to clothes, books, and furniture, and they reproduce quickly, leading to large infestations.

Rats, like cockroaches, carry diseases and damage wood, electrical wires, and insulation. Effective rat-proofing is essential to keep them out. Termites (we made a whole guide on these tricky guys, which you can check out here) cause massive damage to wood structures, books, and furniture, while ants, though small, are hard to eliminate once they infest a home.

Lastly, ants are attracted to food and water sources inside the home, so fixing leaks and removing moisture can help prevent ant infestations.

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
  • Squirrels
  • Honeybees
  • Bed bugs

Let’s look a little closer at these pests to get the full picture.

Powderpost beetles infest homes in Texas and the southern states, chewing on hardwood used in molding, floors, doors, furniture, and cabinets. Signs of infestation include fine sawdust and small holes in the wood, often in homes less than six years old. The best solution is to remove the infested wood.

Carpenter ants nest in wood and hollow areas, including insulation, leading to costly repairs. Squirrels cause damage by chewing holes and nesting in attics. Honeybees, while vital for the ecosystem, can create a mess indoors with leaking honey and wax, and removal is costly. Bed bugs, which carry diseases, damage bedding and furniture, making extermination expensive and time-consuming.

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How to Defend 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:

  • 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 crawl space vents and update crawl space doors to reduce access points for pests.
  • Encapsulate the crawl space with a vapor barrier, sump pump, and dehumidifier to deter pests from the crawl space.
  • Install screens to keep pests out of doors and windows.

Contact Groundworks for a Free Inspection

Groundworks inspector measuring a crawl space entry point.

Pests can seriously harm your home and health, some more than others. From termites and mice to bed bugs and ants, each pest causes unique problems.

Preventing and controlling pests is crucial for a safe living environment. Groundworks offers expert solutions to protect your home from these threats.

Contact us for a free inspection and to make your foundation less susceptible to pest infestations today!

Household Pests FAQs

Insects can get into the crawl space and come up to the rest of your home very easily through just about any opening in the crawl space. There are many different entry options that insects and other pests can take advantage of, which is why it’s so important to avoid having insects in your crawl space at all.

  • Cracks in the Wall and Floor and Pipes to the Outside

An insect may be able to find a crack in the wall or floor that you wouldn’t be able to see during an inspection. Even if you don’t personally note any cracks in your walls or floors, don’t assume that you’re safe if you end up with bugs in your crawl space.

Another common concern with crawl space bugs is the concern of pipes. A bug may be able to come up through the pipes if you have pipes in your crawl space, whether because of deteriorating pipes or because of an opening where the pipe comes up into the home. Either way, you might need an expert to help you find and fix the problem.

  • Crawl Space Doors 

If your crawl space has an internal door that enters into the rest of the home, you might have bugs that come up through these crawl space doors. You must have a tight seal around these crawl space doors if you want to make sure that nothing comes up through these doors from the area.

Crawl space doors can have low-quality seals for a variety of reasons. However, regardless of the reason for the low-quality seal, you need to make sure you fix it. Getting help from an expert to install the crawl space doors initially and maintain the doors in future years is one of the best things you can do to maximize your crawl space health.

Home repair is a complicated concept at the best of times, and there’s no one single home repair process that will completely get rid of an insect problem. However, if you invest money and time into home repair in a variety of areas, you may see a benefit with your insect problem. 

  • General Structural Security

In general, structural security is an important element of avoiding insects. You need to make sure your home is structurally secure in every way, or you’re never going to end up with a completely adequate answer to your insect problems. Insects can easily come in through the outside, and you need to avoid that at all costs.

For example, if you have a sunken floor, you’re also typically going to end up with gaps between the wall and the floor. That gap can end up introducing an opening for pests, especially if it’s in an external wall. Fixing those problems, which may require crawl space jacks among other things, can be an incredibly helpful way to reduce pest problems.

  • Fixing Other Home Openings

Although your crawl space is a haven for insects and other pests, it’s by no means the only way these pests can get in. Other openings, including open crawl space vents, cracks in the walls, and unsealed windows, can all allow insects to get into your home from the outside.

The biggest thing to remember is that it’s very common for homeowners to not even know that these openings exist. Many homeowners don’t know that there are wall cracks big enough for pests to get through. In these cases, an expert inspection will be the best option, as a professional will be able to keep an eye out for all openings, even very small ones.

One reason that people worry about adding insulation to their crawl space is that they worry that it’ll attract pests. Although this can be a potential problem, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of having insulation and to see whether you can change the pest issues if possible.

  • Specific Types of Insulation Material

Certain types of insulation can indeed attract pests. For example, fiberglass is a common insulation material because it’s non-flammable and cheaper than other insulation types. However, it’s also attractive to many pests, which may include rats, raccoons, and insects. There are also other insulations with the same problem.

This is because many insulation types – especially older or ‘eco-friendly’ insulation – are made of organic materials in part or as a whole. These materials can act as food for certain kinds of pests, or else allow for the formation of mold when they become damp. 

  • How to Avoid Pests From Insulation

Because insulation can have pest problems, some manufacturers will use unappealing synthetic materials to repel pests. Others will inject deterrents into the insulation material itself. One of the best ways to ensure that the insulation doesn’t attract pests is to make sure the material of the insulation isn’t a type that pests enjoy, which is what ExTremeBlocTM does.

These materials are still incredibly effective; some more so than traditional, organic insulation materials. This means that you don’t have to compromise at all to have a safe, dry, warm home that is free from pests. This insulation material is also water-resistant, so you can expect some protection from humidity and dampness, too.

  • Other Methods of Avoiding Pests in the Crawl Space

There are also other methods that you can use to avoid pests in the crawl space. Insulation is just one of the things that can attract pests into your crawl space. If you have an encapsulated and overall healthy crawl space, your chances of getting pests in your crawl space will go down dramatically, regardless of what type of insulation you use.

Encapsulation includes things like vapor barrier installation, covering unsealed crawl space vents, and installing drainage and dehumidification options. Talk to your GroundWorks team member to ensure that you have the best advice (and that you get the best products) when it comes to encapsulation.

Ted Dryce

Ted Dryce

Content Writer

Ted is an SEO Content Writer who has been with Groundworks since 2021. He’s covered home repair topics ranging from crawl space encapsulation to regional soil conditions. When he’s not working, Ted is performing improv comedy and working on his own creative projects.