This Is What Happens When You Ignore Pest Problems
Don’t do what these homeowners did. If you find signs of pests, deal with them immediately—before they can wreak havoc on your home.
The house with 3,000 mice
Ready for your skin to practically crawl off of your body? Exterminator John Kane witnessed an extreme mouse infestation at a home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 2009. He said the critters had bored holes in the walls, frayed wires in the ceiling, and left behind so much mouse feces, the white floor appeared black, according to Realtor.com. Before the extermination, the owners had dealt with mice in their bed each night!
It’s raining roaches
It took a pest control crew in Sevierville, Tennessee, about six hours to tackle a German cockroach infestation that was so severe, the department of health was called in, too. “The cockroaches were raining from the ceiling,” exterminator Ray Johnson reported to Angie’s List. When traditional crack-and-crevice treatment wasn’t enough, the professionals resorted to fogging machines to kill these hearty creatures.
A blind woman in Gulfport, Florida, visited the doctor complaining of a rash all over her body, according to Realtor.com. But this was no simple case of eczema. It wasn’t even bed bugs. Exterminator Jeff McChesney broke the news of what was really happening to this unsuspecting senior: She was being bitten each night by a colony of fire ants that had built a nest inside her bed! She hadn’t felt it, McChesney said, because she had already been prescribed pain medicine for another ailment. Find out how to get rid of ants on your own.
Buried in bat poop
Someone should have sent out the bat signal, because this family in Ontario, Canada, was in desperate need of help when their attic became a full-time residence for a colony of bats that deposited droppings up to 2 feet deep in some areas, said bat specialist Stephane Boucher. According to CTV News, one of the homeowners had spotted a bat so big, he referred to it as a “mini pterodactyl.” But all’s well that ends well: The family’s insurance company eventually agreed to pay for the house to be knocked down and rebuilt.
Bed bugs climbing the walls
Exterminator Bill Swan thought the wall was covered in a polka dot pattern, perhaps wallpaper, when he was called to perform a routine treatment in a new client’s home. When he got closer, he realized those dots were actually bed bugs covering almost the entire surface of the wall—even the homeowner’s face was covered in bites, according to Gothamist. When alerted to the infestation, the homeowner initially refused treatment, as killing bugs was against his religion. Here are 16 secrets bedbugs don’t want you to know.
If you see this trailer rocking … it’s probably a wasps’ nest!
A Reddit user reports calling an exterminator after finding wasps flying in from the vents of the trailer—but being turned away when the pest control pro got one look at the giant nest living behind the siding. So the owners decided to take matters into their own hands, emptying three cans of bug spray into the nest and sealing it up again. “The entire trailer was humming and shaking—it was like being inside a horror movie,” the user said. Though not advisable, the trick seems to have worked. “It was so nice not to wake up with wasps on my pillow.” These are the 10 most dangerous bugs that you need to avoid.
When it’s roaches vs. bedbugs, no one wins
It was the food chain from hell at a senior living facility in San Diego when exterminator Jorge Sandoval discovered an infestation of both bed bugs and German cockroaches. The roaches were snacking on the bedbugs, he said, while the bed bugs were munching on the residents. It took two weeks of treatments to get the home fully pest-free, according to Realtor.com.
Imagine looking up and seeing a translucent ceiling pattern suddenly go dark—only the sun is still shining. That’s what happened to a New York City resident when a pest control pro was paying a visit to his upstairs neighbor, according to a CityLab article. It turns out the darkness was a mass exodus of roaches fleeing the exterminator. Be very afraid! This simple step will keep spiders out of your house.
The reluctant bee keepers
If you’re the type to squeal when a bee buzzes around your picnic blanket, behold the story of a Decatur, Georgia, house that had a whopping 120,000 bees living in a beehive inside the living room ceiling. The homeowners were living in ignorant bliss, as they hadn’t heard or seen anything besides a few bees that were buzzing around outside and wouldn’t seem to leave. A bee removal pro eventually pulled a 6-foot honeycomb from the ceiling, says CBS News.
Sleeping in the snake pit
Though many people apparently knew, no one told a pregnant couple in Rexburg, Idaho, that their new, five-bedroom home came with some very slithery roommates: hundreds of garter snakes crawling through the walls, beneath the house’s siding, and even inside the house, according to CBS News. In fact, they had even killed 42 in one day before professionals took over. They eventually filed bankruptcy, foreclosed on the house, and moved their newborn daughter to a reptile-free residence. These are 5 frightening ways snakes can get into your home.
Rat pee in aisle five!
You might not want to do your weekly shopping at England’s Poundland supermarket, where a dead rat was spotted on display with the rest of the groceries and items were found soaked through with rat urine. Of course, the rats had helped themselves to plenty of the store’s edible items, too. The store’s parent company was eventually fined more than $500,000, according to The Richest, but no word on whether the health department shut it down.
A 37-year squirrel infestation
The squirrels were all but paying rent at a house visited by exterminator Bill Earl. He found that the house had been the perfect environment for a squirrel infestation: It was built under an acorn tree in an area heavily populated by squirrels and its tiles were terracotta, a material easy for the rodents to tear through, according to Pest Management Professional. And that they did—chewing through the walls and wires and making a home in the attic. The aggressive creatures refused to leave for almost four decades until Earl finally drove them out with a giant strobe light called the Squirrel Evictor.
Oh, what a tangled web they wove
Shortly after one family moved into their new home in St. Louis, it became a house of horrors. Wherever they turned, there were spiders—in the blinds, behind the wallpaper, in the air registers, in the fireplace … and even in the shower. They’d come to find out their home was being infiltrated by about 4,500 to 6,000 brown recluse spiders, whose venom can sometimes be deadly. The spiders were so resistant to pest-control treatment that the family eventually filed an insurance claim and a lawsuit against the previous owners.
The rats were running wild
Exterminator Lloyd Gartin compared one Long Island, New York, compacter room to National Geographic after discovering hundreds of rats feasting on garbage. “We stopped counting after we killed about 200,” he told the New York Cooperator, noting that the rats had colonized a storage space in the building that the owners didn’t even know existed, which might explain how things spiraled out of control. This is the secret to a mouse-free house.
Picture yourself as a mouse with your honey out for an evening stroll… Quality mousetrap placement is the key—not quantity.
Beaver in the attic!
Who thinks it’s cute to have red squirrels in the attic? Rodents in and around the house are something to take seriously.
Not your choice for pet snakes
Jason Jones was once inspecting the outside of a home that had a dark and spooky shed in the backyard. Upon starting a termite inspection, Jones saw the head of a creature pop up under the shelf in the shed. Startled, Jones ran out shouting for his coworker. The duo called the fire department. Arriving in full gear, the firefighters found that the snake wasn’t just any snake: it was a rattlesnake. And there wasn’t just one: there were two. And they were mating. “Luckily, the slithering lovebirds were caught when they were, or else the new homeowners would have had to take on a whole family of rattlesnakes,” says Jones. Here are 14 more exterminator nightmares that will make you cringe.
Don’t cry, honey, I have no idea what happened to your pet iguana. But rest assured, he’ll always be with us. Or is it a wayward squirrel that couldn’t find his way out?
Tippi Hedren’s nightmare
She thought they were gone, until one mysteriously appeared in the bathtub. What did it mean? Well, maybe that’s not how the commercials for a trilogy to The Birds would really go (there was a sequel of The Birds made in 1963, believe it or not).
Party’s Over for the Cockroaches
So you had a little cockroach infestation? Yuck. They are tough to get rid of, but here are the things that really kill cockroaches and the things that don’t.
The mystery… um… pet?
Jamie Green was inspecting what he recalls was a “big beautiful three-story mansion” when he crept through the attic and came face to face with a skull. It wasn’t human, but it was jarring just the same. It also came with two feet of skin, but no limbs. “The creature—whatever it was—had been long dead and now the bats were having their way with the carcass,” Green explains. He never did figure out what died up there, and no one mentioned anything about any missing pets. As for the purchasers? They were happy to be rid of it and closed on their sale. Here are some other secrets your real estate agent probably isn’t telling you.
“The furnace is in an important area of home inspections. It’s also a popular spot for rodents to explore,” Green tells Reader’s Digest. During one otherwise routine home inspection, Green came across the dead bodies of several bats, squirrels, and mice that had been electrocuted.
An army of ants
One of professional home organizer Ben Soreff’s craziest stories involved a seemingly normal family with a seemingly normal home, who hired him to clean and organize for them. He went into the unfinished basement to clear out some space for storage, and there he saw it: thousands upon thousands of ants pouring out of a cardboard box. The people who lived in the house hadn’t been in the basement in years, and this was quite the terrifying discovery for them. Here are some pretty simple ways to get rid of ants.
This squirrel found a way under the shingles of this home and got to chewing up things. It’s important to take some time and check out your room periodically. Make sure you know these 34 silent signs your home is failing.
Bats can help reduce bugs, but you probably shouldn’t let the bats into your home. Try building a bat house instead so they aren’t tempted to enter your home.
Wasps are plenty scary but they can cause enormous problems too, like this damper. Checking out the damper is one of 43 fall maintenance must-dos you need to check off your list.
It’s always scary finding a bat around the house. They always seem to be in unsuspecting areas like under this deck. Just make sure you know how to keep bats out of the attic where they can really cause trouble.
Carpenter ant close up
Carpenter ants are nasty and can do structural damage to a house.
Carpenter ants hangout
Carpenter ants might be tough to spot, but if you know the ultimate guide to dealing with ants, mice, and other pesky pests, you can save yourself some misery.
Bees and wasps aren’t just a nuisance; their hives can wreak havoc on a home.
Dead duct mouse
Pinpointing how mice get into a house can seem like a wild goose chase and sometimes it’s just as surprising to see where the mice wind up, too. Want to try the DIY route? Here are 11 ways to battle house pests yourself.
Bad house guest
It’s always scary encountering a bat anywhere but especially in your house. Did you know a bat can eat 1,000 bugs a night?
Too good of a deal
How does a sparrow end up dead on the water heater? In this case, it perched on the chimney, enjoying the warm exhaust. When carbon monoxide made it drowsy, it fell down the flue and managed to exit the water heater’s draft hood before expiring. It all began with a detached flue cap, which created a heated hangout for birds. But bad or missing caps can lead to bigger trouble: Rainwater can damage the flue, furnace or water heater. It pays to keep an eye on all roof penetrations. Nails can work loose on exposed flashing; rubber around plumbing vents can tear out or rot; and cement caps on masonry chimneys can crack. Those leaks will eventually cause you serious problems.
No one likes to see a snake in their home, even a harmless garter snake like this. Find out how to get snakes out of your home.
Here’s another reason to keep an eye on your roof, as if you needed another one. Something snuck up and found a space to live, for a while anyway.
Looks like the entry point for mice in the house has been pinpointed. Check out the one tool that can help stop mice from getting into the house.
Murder of crows
Well, maybe not crows but chimneys attract birds and sometimes they don’t get out of them. Look out for these 15 signs your home is about to be infested.
Signs of a mouse nest aren’t only gross. They’re potentially dangerous if mice are still around. These are the most insane pest-control ideas we’ve ever heard.
This little guy got stuck trying to get around this house. Don’t get stuck paying higher energy bills in the winter because you’ve left gaps for cold wind and rodents to get through.
Finding a mouse in the house is bad enough, but to find one like this is another story. These are the 11 things mice don’t want you to know.
Sump pump salamander
Salamanders aren’t necessarily gross, but they might be if you don’t like reptiles. They are known to be toxic if consumed, so they’re particularly dangerous for pets.
Reptiles like this salamander can look pretty gross to some people.
Squirrels love to take residence in attics, just like this one. But they can wreak havoc on your attic if you don’t catch them. Look out for these other pests that could be hiding in your attic.
Three dead mice
Who’s to say how these three dead mice wound up in this sink but it’s pretty gross. This sink probably smells something fierce.
This squirrel found a way into a house by any means necessary. People have long tried to stop squirrels from eating birdseed, but their dogged determination usually ends in birdseed. Here are 10 chemical-free ways to get rid of pests.
Watch out for wasps
You never know where wasps will set up shop, especially in this spot on the roof. Here’s how to get rid of those wasps.
Mice will creep into places that provide a semblance of warmth like this electrical box. These are the 10 most pest-infested cities in America.
Ants at the gate
Ah, another ant story. You’d think this one would be less repulsive simply because it took place outside the home, rather than inside it. Matt Prato at Tri State Gate in Bedford Hills, New York, was called to inspect and repair an automated driveway gate as part of a pre-sale renovation. In this case, the driveway gate was said to be “glitchy,” so Prato opened up the control panel. “The technician found ants. Lots and lots of ants. And then more ants.” It wasn’t the first time a control panel had been taken over by wildlife. Prato has seen mice nests inside control boxes, and frogs and snakes as well. “But being that ants are so small and quite persistent, they are often able to eat away at normal protective barriers and squeeze in tiny holes. Once they’re in the enclosure, serious damage usually isn’t far off.” Well, at least the mystery was solved.
Long and winding road
Bill and Susan decided they’d let a family of moles do the fertilizing this fall. And I guess they should’ve set him up with a little more fertilizer.
Why would you bury your dry goods out in the yard when there’s a cozy warm attic you can use for the winter stash? Dealing with pests like squirrels in the attic can be a challenge. Don’t miss these 13 things in your house that are attracting pests right now.