It’s odd that we use the word “pest” to describe bugs and other vermin infiltrating and infesting our homes. The word literally means “to bother,” but a pest infestation can be far more than an annoyance. Termites alone cause an estimated $5 billion a year in property damage in the United States alone.

Pest control, then, is more than getting rid of a nuisance. It’s safeguarding your property and the health of your family. If you’re experiencing an infestation, Read on to start getting rid of these pests as soon as possible.

1. Have a Plan

Every infestation is different. Two incidents involving the same species can require different solutions depending on the situation.

However, there are a few steps that most plans have in common. For example, this guide on earwig removal goes over the main point of knowing why infestations happen, signs of an infestation, and the steps needed to get them under control. You can apply the same template to dealing with most bug problems.

2. Look for Points of Entry

When you suspect that you may have a pest infestation, the first step is to look for possible ways that they could have entered the building.

This process differs depending on the issue.

A bed bug infestation is most likely to be caused by someone bringing them into the house, for example. Second-hand clothing or furniture are common culprits. Recent travel is another, with the bugs often hitching a ride in luggage.

For other pests, common points of entry like pipes, windows, attics, and garages are likely to show tell-tale signs of infestation.

3. Identifying the Pest

How you deal with an infestation depends heavily on what kind of pest you’re dealing with.

There are some bugs that may not be pleasant to look at but which are harmless nevertheless and better left alone. Braconid wasps are easy to mistake for their aggressive cousins, but in reality, they are harmless to humans. In fact, they prey on other pest species like aphids, making them good neighbors to have if you’re a gardener.

Ants, venomous spiders, and termites, however, can be much less harmless. Once identified, you’ll want to move on to the response.

4. Responding to the Threat

Once you’ve confirmed an infestation and identified the type of pest, you have to determine how to respond.

Low-level pests like earwigs or fire ants can often be dealt with through either commercial or DIY solutions. More stubborn pests like bedbugs, or ones that pose threats to the home itself like termites and carpenters ants will usually necessitate professional solutions. In these latter cases, hiring an exterminator before they cause structural damage needs to be your next step.

Dealing With a Pest Problem Before It Gets Out of Control

As with most issues in the home, dealing with pests effectively relies on a speedy response. The longer you allow a pest problem to go unchecked, the more difficult and expensive it will be to deal with, and the greater the odds that it will negatively impact your home or your health.

And as we alluded to, pest control isn’t the only issue that appreciates a hasty response. For more warning signs of problems to look out for in your home, be sure to keep up with our latest real estate news and guides.