Pest Infestation In Distressed Homes

If you're going to sell your distressed property, dealing with pests is something you can't ignore.

Pests like rodents, insects, and other critters can cause all sorts of problems, from damage to your property to potential health hazards.

Plus, you won’t get a lot of offers if you try to sell it as is in the open market.

So you have to deal with the pests.

In this post, I’ll cover the top 10 signs of a pest infestation in distressed homes, how to get rid of those pesky pests for good, and some tips on preventing future infestations.

10 Signs Of Pest Infestation

First, let's take a quick look at the tell-tale signs of pest infestations:

Also Read: Selling a house with termite history

#1 Droppings 

One of the clearest signs of a pest problem is finding droppings or excrements.

These droppings can look different depending on the type of pest. 

For example, rodent droppings are usually small, cylindrical pellets that look like dark grains of rice. Cockroach droppings are more irregular and look like small dark specks or smears.

No matter what they look like, finding droppings in your home means that pests are living and feeding there.


Pest droppings can pose serious health risks too, 

It can carry harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can cause a variety of illnesses, including salmonellosis, hantavirus, and Lyme disease. 

#2 Gnaw Marks

Gnaw marks are a clear indication of rodent activity in your home.

Mice, rats, and other rodents have a natural instinct to chew on a variety of materials, including wood, plastic, and even electrical wiring. 

These gnaw marks can be found on various surfaces, such as baseboards, furniture, or even the insulation in your walls.

Gnaw marks are not only a sign of an infestation but also pose a significant safety hazard. 

Damaged electrical wiring can lead to short circuits and increase the risk of fire. 

Plus, the structural damage caused by rodent chewing can weaken the integrity of your property, leading to costly repairs.

#3 Nests Or Burrows

Pests, such as rodents and insects, often create nests or burrows. 

These nesting sites are typically made of shredded materials, including paper, fabric, or insulation and are hidden in attics, wall voids, or crawl spaces.

Rodents, like mice and rats, may also dig burrows in the soil in the yard.

If you see any unusual mounds, tunnels, or nesting materials in your property, it's a clear sign that pests have made a home there and are likely reproducing and expanding their colony.

#4 Unusual Noises

Unusual noises like scurrying in the walls, scratching in the attic, or chittering sounds is also a clear indication of a pest infestation in your home.

Pests are most active at night, so these sounds might be more noticeable when it's quieter.

Also Read: How To Sell a Hoarder House

Scratching or scurrying coming from inside the walls, ceilings, or floors could mean rodents or other small critters are scampering through the hidden spaces of your home.

Gnawing or chewing sounds might signal pests are actively damaging wood or other materials.

Buzzing or humming could indicate flying insects like bees, wasps, or hornets.

#5 Odd Smells 

Unpleasant odors can be a clear indicator of a pest infestation in your home too.

Pests like rodents and cockroaches, often leave behind distinctive smells that can be quite noticeable and unpleasant.

A musty or urine-like smell, for instance, could mean mice or rats are around, since their urine and droppings create those funky aromas.

This should be noticeable in areas where they have established their nests or feeding grounds.

 A rotten or decaying stench might be from dead pests or their nesting materials.

And some insects, like cockroaches or bed bugs, have a particular musty, sweet-and-sour odor.

Also Read: Can you sell a house with bed bugs

#6 Damaged Food Packages

Discovering chewed-through food packages, boxes, or containers in your pantry or kitchen is also a clear sign of a pest infestation.

Rodents and insects are often attracted to food sources, and they can easily gain access to your stored goods, contaminating them with their droppings, urine, and other waste products.

Rodents, in particular, have powerful teeth that let them gnaw through cardboard, plastic, or paper packaging to get at food sources inside.

Plus their entry holes let other pests keep feeding and infesting your property further.

#7 Sightings

Some pests are sneaky and good at hiding, but you may occasionally catch a glimpse of them scurrying around your property.

Seeing them with your own eyes is an undeniable sign of an infestation.

These sightings could happen day or night, depending on when the pest is most active.

Stay alert and make note of any critters you spot, as this can give you important clues about what kind of pest you're facing and how widespread the problem might be.

#8 Egg Casings Or Shed Skins

Certain pests leave behind physical evidence like egg casings or shed skins.

These remnants are often found in hidden areas, such as cracks, crevices, behind furniture, or in storage spaces, where pests like cockroaches and bed bugs tend to reside.

Cockroaches, for example, lay small, reddish-brown egg cases or capsules that are often found in dark, undisturbed areas.

Spiders shed their exoskeletons as they grow, leaving delicate, papery molted skins behind in corners or crevices.

Finding these around your home is a clear indicator that these pests are actively breeding.

#9 Unexplained Damage

Pests like rodents or termites can do major damage to your property.

If you notice unexplained holes, cracks, or other damage in wood, drywall, insulation, or even electrical wiring, it could signal an active pest infestation.

Rodents are notorious gnawers, using their teeth to stay trimmed and create entry points or nests and even cause structural damage.

They can gnaw through walls, insulation, and even electrical wiring!

Termites and carpenter ants can burrow into wood and compromise the structural integrity.

Any unexplained property damage should be promptly investigated, as it could point to a bigger pest issue that needs dealing with before it gets worse.

#10 Sudden Increase In Ants Or Spiders

A few ants or spiders here and there might not be cause for alarm, but a sudden, big spike in their numbers could indicate a larger pest problem lurking.

Ants and spiders often invade homes or businesses searching for food, moisture, or shelter

And their presence might mean other pests have made conditions ripe for them.

Ants, for example, may be drawn to the same food sources that are attracting rodents or other pests, while spiders may be preying on insects that have infested your home.

How To Get Rid Of Pests In Home

Okay, so you've identified the signs of a pest infestation - now what? 

The first step is to figure out what kind of pests you're dealing with.

Also Read: Physical distress in houses

Once you've identified the culprits, it's time to take action. Here are some effective ways to get rid of pests in your home:

DIY Pest Control

For smaller infestations, you may be able to handle the problem yourself with some basic do-it-yourself pest control methods.

But follow all safety instructions - especially if you're using any chemical products or traps.

Seal Entry Points

One of the most important things you can do is to seal up any cracks, holes, or other entry points that pests could be using to get into your home.

This might mean caulking gaps around windows and doors, patching up holes in walls or foundations, or installing screens or weather stripping in areas where pests might be able to squeeze through.

By cutting off their access, you can prevent new pests from getting in and stop the infestation from spreading.

Use Natural Repellents

If you prefer a more natural approach, there are plenty of natural pest repellents you can try.

Essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, or citronella are known to deter many types of pests, while vinegar can be an effective deterrent for ants and fruit flies.

Even common household items like coffee grounds or cayenne pepper can be used to create barriers or repellents against certain pests.

These natural methods can help discourage pests from entering or staying in your home.

Set Traps

Mechanical traps, like snap traps or glue boards, can be a good way to catch and remove pests from your home.


Snap traps are particularly useful for rodents like mice or rats, while glue boards can catch crawling insects like cockroaches or spiders.

Just be sure to check them regularly and dispose of any caught pests properly.

Apply Targeted Pesticides

For some pests, you might need to use a targeted pesticide.

If you go this route, be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully, and only use products that are specifically labeled for indoor use and safe for the type of pest you're dealing with.

Be sure to read the instructions carefully and only use products that are safe for indoor use.

And wear protective gear!

Professional Pest Control

For more serious or widespread infestations, or if you're just not comfortable dealing with the problem yourself, it's probably best to call in the professionals.

An exterminator or pest control company should be able to get rid of the pests.

And they can often provide long-term solutions.

They'll seal up entry points or make recommendations for structural changes to make your home less appealing to pests.

Plus, they'll also give you valuable advice on how to maintain a pest-free environment and spot potential issues before they become major infestations.

However, these services can be more expensive than DIY methods.


Are Pests Dangerous?

Many pests can pose health risks, either through the spread of diseases or by causing damage to your home. Rodents, for example, can carry illnesses like hantavirus, while termites and wood-boring insects can compromise a home's structural integrity.

How Much Does Pest Control Cost?

The cost of professional pest control can vary quite a bit, depending on the size of your home, the severity of the infestation, and the type of pests involved. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $675 for a single treatment.