Pests are a perpetual hazard of homeownership. But by keeping a watchful eye on these 10 lesser-known spots where pests often hide, you can prevent damage to your home's structural integrity and avoid threats to health and safety. Be especially mindful of unusual places where insects can nest and breed—for instance, inside a chilly fridge or in seemingly well-sealed containers.
Bedbugs don’t confine themselves to mattresses and sheets. These small, brown, oval insects are opportunists that will infest a variety of soft fabric spaces, including your kids’ plush toys. Bedbug bites can cause rashes and infections, so be sure to be on the lookout for the telltale signs of an infestation.
Purses and Clothing
Other places we don't typically look for bugs include our purses, briefcases, and clothing. Bedbugs, for instance, can scurry from the bed or another infested spot to items like sweaters and suitcases, expanding their territory. The same goes for lice, which can live off a human host for up to 24 hours—and in water for up to 8 hours!
Ants, beetles, and bedbugs can find a cozy home behind electrical outlet covers. Fine, dry powdery residue seeping through the cracks around an outlet is one sign of an infestation. Be forewarned that if bugs have taken up residence in your outlets, they are probably in multiple locations around the house, so you should call in a pest-control specialist.
Related: 10 Reasons Bugs Love Your Home
If you prefer a real Christmas tree over the fake variety, keep in mind that along with the pine scent and traditional holiday spirit, you may be getting some unwanted hitchhikers. Spiders and mites are commonly found in fir and spruce trees, so before you carry in the tree, examine the branches for egg sacs.
You may believe that your taped cardboard boxes are safe from pests, but think again. Silverfish—small, silver-colored insects that move very fast—are scrappy survivors that will devour fabric, paper, and even leather when they're hungry. Thanks to their small, slim shape, they can squeeze through tiny cracks and get into containers you think are sealed.
You probably already know that bugs hide out in your trash and garbage cans. But what about recycling? Even if you carefully wash out containers, water and microscopic food particles can still attract insects. As well, cockroaches like porous surfaces like paper and cardboard, so don’t let piles of newspapers and magazines build up.
Most people have at least one utterly disorganized drawer in the house. While these junk drawers are handy for stashing an array of mismatched but useful items, they also provide spiders with dark, undisturbed spots to hide. To keep spiders away, give your junk drawer a good cleaning out.
Though large appliances are often pushed up against walls, there is still enough space in the back for insects to find a nice retreat. Also, because they offer food residue as well as moisture from condensation or leaks from pipes and water line connections, dishwashers are especially attractive to insects, roaches in particular.
Sure, it's cold inside your refrigerator, but that doesn't prevent certain insects from moving in and staying a while. The bugs most commonly found inside a fridge are fruit flies, houseflies, gnats, and roaches. A thorough cleaning is typically all you need to rid your fridge of these unwelcome visitors.
Unfinished attic space provides an ideal nesting spot for pests and vermin of all types, including insects, rats, squirrels, roaches, birds, and even bats. The type of insulation matters when it comes to pest prevention. One effective pest-resistant option is insulation treated with boric acid, which is toxic to cockroaches, silverfish, ants, and termites, but won't harm humans.
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