5 Common Pests of Urban Homes

It is easy to think that pests are more common in rural and uninhabited areas. With plenty of land and no human interference, they have room to grow larger populations, right?

Wrong. If you equate pests and natural areas, think again. For centuries, insects and wildlife have thrived in cities. Pests are actually attracted to crowded social spaces: our neglected trash cans and dumpsters, our warm homes, our kitchens, beds, and floors. They can be a problem no matter where you live.

That said, certain factors can increase the risk of pest problems in cities. With regard to rats and cockroaches, sightings are most common in low-income housing, older homes, and housing units that have structural problems, water leaks, or missing roof/building materials. Even having litter on your block makes it 2.95 times more likely to spot a cockroach. This is why urban areas with high population density and abandoned or decaying buildings are highly susceptible to certain types of pests.

According to the US Census Bureau, 14 million Americans detected cockroaches in their homes last year. This is not just a big problem, but a public health crisis, as many insects and rodents can carry disease, cause irritating bites, and trigger symptoms of conditions like asthma.

Let’s take a look at some common pests you can expect to find in the city:

1. German Food Roach (GFR): GFRs have inhabited human spaces for so long that they have actually become masters of staying hidden. Being nocturnal, you may never realize you have a GFR problem unless you notice signs of them. Highly effective scavengers, they thrive on decaying food. And they are not fussy; in fact, they will eat things like toothpaste and paper if it comes to that. They are drawn to dark, damp spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens, attics, and in-between walls. Anyone can experience a GFR infestation. Signs to watch out for include feces (dark stains, like coffee grounds), foul odors, dark spots, egg capsules (oval shaped, pill-like), and food/property damage.

2. Rats – Rats are another pest that thrives in cities. At this point, they are considered part of the “urban ecosystem” due to their prevalence in public spaces. Why? Partly human food waste. Rats will eat just about anything, and we provide them with a constant all-you-can-eat buffet in our trash cans and dumpsters. Additionally, rats can transmit a wide range of diseases to humans, making them a health hazard. Signs of a rat infestation include droppings, foul odors, scattered nesting materials, and signs of chewing on food containers or entry points.

3. Raccoons – Raccoons are an intelligent, litter-loving, nocturnal pest. While they rarely get indoors, they can wreak havoc in trash cans, chew through insulation and wiring, and spread disease and parasites. In 2016, the city of Toronto spent $16 million, just to deal with an infestation of raccoons! Like cockroaches and rats, they will eat anything and thrive on our prodigious amounts of food waste. Signs of raccoons include droppings, scratch marks, noises in your yard at night, small footprints, and damage/disturbance to your property.

4. Houseflies – The common housefly can be found in any human environment, due to its love of human food, garbage, and even excrement (such as sweat or feces). Flies breed in garbage and sewers. In addition to being a nuisance, they can spread disease and illness. Signs of a house fly infestation include seeing lots of flies (especially in groups), seeing worms, and hearing them in large numbers. While sealing trash, cleaning, keeping access points closed, and practicing good hygiene are considered the best ways to prevent house flies, truly anyone can be infested.

5. Bed Bugs – Bed bugs are notoriously common throughout the country. In particular, places with high population density, people who sleep in shared spaces (such as hotels and apartment buildings), and many travelers. They can hitchhike from one place to another with clothes, bedding, bags, and other belongings. They are small and often hard to find. Signs of bed bugs can include red, itchy bites, rashes, or hives (although many people show no reaction to bites); blood stains on your sheets; dark spots, especially around the corners of the mattress; bad smells; and eggs

Are you experiencing signs of a pest infestation in your home? Call the experienced professionals at Black Diamond!

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