man lying awake in bed

Home invaders: Pests that take up residence in your walls

It’s the middle of the night. You hear scratching noises, then silence. So you fall back to sleep only to be startled awake by a thud. You lay there hoping that whatever IT is it doesn’t find its way into your room. This is a real-life nightmare for far too many homeowners – pests living in your walls. Could there be more than you know?

To ease your mind and prevent it from conjuring up worst-case scenarios, we’ve come up with some likely causes – notorious pests that find their way into the wall and ceiling voids of homes. Once they gain access, they can torment you and your family and cause costly damage to one of your most valuable assets, your home.

What you may be hearing

rat peeking out from underneath a wood plank

Pests that scratch and gnaw

Some of the noisiest pests are rats, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, and bats. When rats get into a home they usually head for high ground; however, sometimes they can end up in the walls of lower floors. Mice dwell on lower levels but can readily climb to higher floors (even run vertically up walls), making their way through tight spaces and voids in your walls. Chipmunks and squirrels usually hide out in attics that they access from open vents and windows. Bats will perch in the eaves, peaks, and attics of homes.

While all of them squeak, screech, or chatter, only the rodents – this includes chipmunks and squirrels – will make gnawing and scratching noises. Another thing to note is that rats, mice, and bats are nocturnal, meaning most of their activity takes place at night while you’re sleeping. If you suspect a rodent is living inside your walls or ceiling, bang on your wall. If the noise stops, it is most likely a mouse or a rat. Rodents and bats are a health risk and can damage your property. 

Don’t lose sleep over pests. Western Exterminator’s experts can help.

wasp nest in the corner of a room

Pests that buzz and sting

Stinging insects such as hornets, wasps, and honey bees will generally seek out sheltered areas such as awnings, eaves, bushes, trees, and abandoned rodent burrows to build their nests, allowing them easy access to food and pollen. However, on occasion, they will take advantage of an exterior crevice, crack, or entry point that leads them inside the home. 

Do you hear a slight buzzing sound in your wall? Tap lightly on the wall; if the buzzing sound becomes louder, you have your culprit. In addition to a buzzing noise, you may also notice slight staining on the wall. This could be the result of honey seeping through. In some instances, honey bee nests have grown so large that walls had to be removed to remove the bees, and thoroughly clean any and all traces of honeycomb. This helps to prevent future re-infestations or secondary pests that are attracted to the sweet honey.

Don’t take risks. If you suspect stinging insects have made their way into your walls or ceiling, call a Western Exterminator specialist who can safely and quickly resolve the issue for you.

termites

Pests that chew through wood

Not everything that lives inside your walls will make noise to let you know you’ve got company. The biggest issue with wood-destroying pests is that oftentimes the damage is done before you ever realize there’s an infestation. Termites are often referred to as silent destroyers – going unnoticed for years as they silently eat away at your home. Carpenter bees and carpenter ants don’t eat wood, but they will bore their way through wooden structures to build their nests. 

And, unless you have superpowers, your chances of hearing their little chompers are virtually nil. But there are signs that scream, “You have wood-destroying pests in your home!” Let’s take a look at some of those.

Damaged, hollow-sounding wood, small piles of what looks like sawdust (termite excrement), and shed wings are signs that point to termites. BUT, they could also point to carpenter ants because they also leave behind shed wings and piles of sawdust which can be confused for termites. When in doubt, get an expert’s opinion

There’s no confusing carpenter bees. They will drill a perfectly round hole, leaving a pile of sawdust below. If their nest is close to a wall, you may be able to hear a buzzing or vibrating sound similar to other stinging insects when the nest is active.  What all three of these pests have in common is that they can cause costly damage to your home over time.

a lot of lady bugs

Other pests that fly

The term “occasional invaders” describes pests that consistently access your home during certain times of the year. Asian lady beetles, stinkbugs, and boxelder bugs are invaders that will seek shelter in the fall when the weather cools and emerge in the spring once things have warmed up. 

These pests are considered to be only a nuisance. They don’t reproduce in your home or eat away at it. They do, however, leave behind excrement which can stain surfaces where they land. Although it’s not very common, Asian lady beetle excrement has been known to trigger allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory issues, but only when dealing with large infestations. The only sounds you’ll hear from these nuisance pests are when they ping off your windows as they seek out the warmth of the sun.

Avoid applying treatments to your home once these occasional invaders have moved in. Instead, vacuum them up as needed. In the spring, once they have all left, caulk and seal up cracks and crevices to prevent them from invading your home again in the fall.

Western Exterminator specialist shines flashlight into the attic

Pest control solutions to protect your home

A homeowner’s worst nightmare is discovering they’re living with pests, such as stinging insects, termites, or rodents. Not only can some pests pose health risks, they can also cause costly structural damage to your property, which is often not covered by insurance because it’s deemed preventable.

Year-round pest control plans and annual termite inspections can greatly reduce the amount of time, stress, and money you may spend if pest problems are left untreated. Take advantage of Western Exterminator’s free initial pest inspection to see how we can have you relaxing pest-free.

If you hear strange sounds coming from your walls or ceiling and suspect pest activity, contact Western Exterminator right away and talk to one of our knowledgeable pest control experts.

Tiffany Tenley

As a Marketing Content Manager, Tiffany has come to love and appreciate the diverse and complex world of pests—good, bad and ugly. Not only does she research and write about them, she admits to having eaten a few crickets on some cheese-laden nachos. When she's not working, Tiffany enjoys spending time with her family, exploring new restaurants, concert-going, reading, writing and traveling.

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