If You See This in Your Attic, Call an Exterminator Now
Letting this problem go unchecked could lead to major trouble down the line.
As the weather heats up, it's not a huge surprise to have some unwanted visitors make their way into your home, from ants to flies. And while some signs of a pest infestation are obvious, others are surprisingly subtle—especially when those pests make their way into areas of your house that aren't always occupied, like your attic. However, experts say there are some surefire ways to find out if an unwanted visitor has taken up residence in your home. Read on to find out which signs in your attic mean you've got a pest problem you can't ignore.
If you notice shredded paper showing up in your attic, it's time to call an exterminator immediately.
"Rats love to gnaw stuff, so this can be an indication that you have rats in your home," says Ryan Smith, an entomologist, pest control expert, and owner of Ant & Garden Organic Pest Control.
Smith also notes that if you see frayed wires in your attic, that's a likely sign you've got rats hiding out in your space—and this destructive habit could also make your home a fire risk.
Gaps in your insulation
If that well-placed insulation keeping your attic warm appears askew out of nowhere, it's time to call an exterminator.
Preston Crandell, owner of Crandell Pest Control, says that rats and other rodents can "tunnel through blown-in insulation [and] create these pathways that look as if a snake traveled through them."
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Holes in plants
Keeping plants in a finished attic is a great way to brighten up the space—and the health of these green additions can quickly inform you if you've got pests camping out in your home.
"If you see plants with damaged leaves or branches, it's not just because you forgot to water your greens—it can be because some bugs are feeding on them," says Smith. The most common culprits? Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, fungus gnats, whiteflies, and pill bugs frequently cause destruction of indoor plants, according to Janet McLeod Scott, a horticulture information specialist at Clemson University.
Marks on your walls
While virtually every wall in a lived-in home will get a few marks on it over time, if you're noticing new marks on the walls of your attic on a regular basis, you may have a cockroach problem.
"Smear marks from watery excretions" are one of the "tell-tale signs that you are battling an infestation," says Ed Spicer, CEO of Pest Strategies. However, Spicer says that clearing your attic of food and cleaning up any standing water, whether it arises due to a plumbing issue, spilled water, or a leaky roof, may help keep this problem at bay.