When pests are discovered, it may be tempting for homeowners to employ DIY methods to first attempt to deal with pest infestations themselves. However, depending on the type of pest and size of the infestation, there are times when immediately calling in a pest professional is vital to protecting health and property -- and could end up saving money in the long-run.
According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), there are certain signs homeowners should look for that could indicate the presence of an infestation that should be dealt with promptly by a pest professional:
1. Droppings. Any droppings found in undisturbed areas of the home could indicate the presence of rodents. These droppings are a serious health risk and can spread diseases and contaminate food sources. People often mistakenly believe they only have one or two rodents present in their home; in reality, however, mice have high reproduction rates that can quickly escalate to large infestations.
2. Home Pest Sightings. If pests are spotted in the home, even if it's just a couple or they only appear sporadically, it could indicate the development of a more serious infestation. In the warmer months, this is especially true for stinging insects. If hornets or wasps are showing up indoors on a regular basis, there may be a nest somewhere inside or around the home. Removal of stinging insect nests is a dangerous job that should always be left to the professionals.
3. Mattress Markings. If small reddish brown spots are found on mattresses, upholstery or walls, it could indicate a bed bug infestation -- especially when paired with red, itchy welts, most notably on the legs and arms. These bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of, and a pest professional should be called as soon as possible to assess and treat the situation.
4. Mud Tubes. Some termites build distinctive mud tubes that are frequently found near a home's foundation. Termites are known as "silent destroyers" because their constant gnawing can go unnoticed until significant structural damage to the home occurs. If mud tubes are discovered, homeowners should immediately call a pest professional before further structural damage occurs.