Discovering pests in your home is never nice. It is common in the UK to see an increase in ant activity during the summer. These little insects are largely harmless but they like to get into food sources and this can lead to spoilage.

However, several other common household pests cause far more harm to homes and their occupiers. In some cases, a person’s health may be impacted by certain pests.

Prevention is always the best option. But, pests are clever at getting into homes. By the time they are spotted, an infestation may be under way.

How do you keep your home safe from pests? And how do you identify your unwelcome visitors and eliminate them?

Do you need a professional to spot household pests?

It is pretty unlikely that you would need a professional to identify ants or moths. But, pests are tricky and often the only way to discover you have them is through small signs and the evidence they leave in their wake.

If you find yourself waking up to itchy red welts then it may be time to look into the cost of bed bug eradication. Many people don’t realise they have bed bugs until a colony is happily living in the home.

Other pests are impossible to spot with the naked eye. While others such as cockroaches leave physical evidence behind such as egg casings and even limbs. If you think your home is infested then calling a pest controller will help identify the problem.

However, reading this guide will help you identify pests in your home too.

Identifying common household pests

Here is a short guide to identifying common pests. You will also see what damage each pest causes. Further down the page, you will learn how to prevent pests and a few of the ways to eliminate them.

Bed bugs

These pests are very unpleasant to have in the home as their food source is you and any other inhabitants including your pets.

Signs that you have bed bugs include visible red bites on the body, small reddish stains on bed sheets along with dark brown or black spots. There may be a musty smell also. Bed bugs shed their exoskeletons so you may spot these and egg casings also.

Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye. If you have these particular pests it is likely that sooner or later you will spot one.

What do bed bugs do?

Bed bugs cause itchy red marks on humans. Some people get extreme reactions to these bites, while others have none. These pests don’t spread disease but some people may get an allergic reaction while others suffer from a loss of sleep.


Like bed bugs, cockroaches are very hard to eradicate without professional help. The clearest sign is when you see a dead or alive cockroach. These pests will home in on areas where food is available. Sooner or later you will spot one if they are in your home.

What do cockroaches do?

Cockroaches aren’t shy of waste or sewers and this makes them a health hazard. Cockroaches spread bacteria and disease. Salmonella and gastroenteritis may come from preparing food on surfaces contaminated by cockroaches.

Dust mites

Too small to see with the naked eye, dust mites hide in upholstery, mattresses, and carpets. Cleaning carpets aids health by reducing the population of dust mites. Because you are unable to spot dust mites without some kind of magnifying device, the first evidence may be when you suffer an allergic reaction.

What do dust mites do?

These tiny pests cause a number of allergic reactions. Symptoms include itchy throats, itchy skin and rash, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes.

Rodents and birds

Both birds and rodents gain access to homes through unsealed gaps. Birds are sometimes found nesting in attics where they will cause damage to the home’s structure.

Mice and rats are common pests here. They love to find their way into homes and set up camp there. Anywhere that is warm and dry and has a source of food will be attractive to rodents.

You can spot if you have rodents by looking for droppings, bite marks, and holes in the wall or chewed cables. You might also hear scratching inside wall cavities.

What do rodents and birds do?

Birds and rodents both damage wiring which is a fire hazard. Rodents’ constant chewing will lead to damaged property and belongings. And rodents spread disease and contaminate food.

Eradicating household pests

There are several other pests including moths, silverfish, and fleas, which cause homeowners problems. The way they get into homes varies, but in the case of fleas, your pet may be to blame.

Playing and getting fit with your dog are great activities, but your pet may also be bringing home unwanted visitors. You can counteract this by using flea spray and shampoos. But, other pests may need more extreme measures.

Regardless of what household pests you have, the desired result is going to be eradication. Pest control experts have many tools at the ready for all manner of creepy crawlies and furry invaders.

Rat traps and baits

A rat infestation may take weeks or even months to remove. Rodents breed quickly, and they are notoriously hard to remove. Pest control companies will identify the rat nest first. Then they use chemical bait boxes and traps to eliminate rodents.

Diatomaceous earth

Products containing DE can be used on any pest with an exoskeleton. Diatomaceous earth dehydrates pests to the point where they die.

DE can be used for the following:

  • Cockroaches
  • Bed bugs
  • Fleas
  • Mites

  • Lice
  • Silverfish
  • Beetles
  • Ants

Diatomaceous earth is available for DIY use, and pest control experts often recommend it. It is also safe and non-toxic.

Heat treatment

As bed bugs become more resilient to insecticides, they are now one of the hardest pests to control. However, pest control experts are finding great success with heat treatment. If the temperature in a house is raised to a certain level and kept there for a short time, bed bugs will be eliminated.

Can you use DIY methods to eliminate pests?

DIY alternatives for bed bugs to professional help include using a washing machine or dryer. The heat generated by these appliances will kill bed bugs.

Other pest control methods include using certain plants and odours to deter pests. For instance, chilli powder repels ants. And flies find the smell of basil unpleasant.

The main reason for using DIY pest control is to save money. Sometimes the only way to remove a pest infestation is to hire professional pest controllers. However, preventative measures might stop any problem from ever occurring.

Preventing a pest infestation

If you make your home pest-resistant then you may avoid all the headaches linked with infestations. Your house will be a healthier place, and you will avoid having to fumigate or lay out traps.

The following steps should be taken to prevent pests:

  • Cleaning and removing waste food
  • Sealing food in containers
  • Ensuring there is no access to waste bins
  • Seal up leaks and take care of damp areas
  • Seal any entry points including cracks
  • Inspect the home for pests regularly
  • Use household plants to deter pests
  • Use essential oils

Some pests are attracted to damp areas and moisture. Others will be drawn to waste food and rubbish. Tidying and cleaning will help to deter some pests.

Most importantly, entry points and food sources should be removed. Rodents gain entry through the tiniest of gaps, and pests aren’t always fussy about what they eat. Remove any waste, and seal up containers so that there is no access to food.

Some people have success with essential oils and plants too. Lavender oil stops termites from damaging wood. And if nothing else, natural pest control will lighten up your home and add some pleasant scents.


With some pests, the only recourse is to use professional pest control services. But, you can also keep your home safe by using preventative measures and some DIY pest control.


A few herbs and houseplants may help to repel certain pests, and sealing up gaps will stop them from gaining entry.


As the hot weather arrives in the UK, it is a good time to take control of your home and stop pests in their tracks.