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Pest prevention tips for your home

Pests in your home are a nuisance that can disrupt your household, cause stress and, if you don’t get on top of the situation early, can sometimes become a real challenge to resolve. 

While the occasional critter is unavoidable in most homes, an infestation can potentially be a health risk and can certainly hit you in the pocket too, if you need professional help. However, with the proper knowledge, you can usually prevent and remove pests in your home before they become a more significant issue.

In this guide, we look at some of the common signs that you could have some unwelcome ‘visitors’ in your home, and provide tips and pest control safety precautions to help you get rid of the issue and prevent it from happening again. 

Jump to:
Common signs of a pest infestation
Who is responsible for pest control when renting?
What to do if you discover a pest infestation at home
Pest control safety precautions to prevent an infestation

Common signs of a pest infestation

The signs of a pest infestation can vary somewhat, depending on what type of creature has moved in. However, we’ve summarised some of the most common ways to spot a pest infestation. 

Bites on your skin

Many of the most common insect pests will bite those living in the home, which will usually result in red marks or lumps on the skin that are often itchy. 

The most common culprits here could be fleas, mites or bedbugs. If not resolved quickly, these insect pests can quickly multiply and spread from room to room in your home, meaning that a small problem can soon turn into much more. 

Other types of insect infestation that could affect your home include wasp nests, cockroaches, flies or carpet beetles. Ants can also be an issue at certain times of year, so you might find it useful to read our guide on how get rid of ants in the house quickly .   

Ants In Home

Unexpected sounds in your home

Scratching or scraping noises or pattering feet in the loft, under your floorboards, behind cupboards or elsewhere in your home can sometimes be an indicator that mice, rats, squirrels or birds have moved in without your consent. Any persistent noises should be investigated, to ensure that you catch any pest problem early. 

Droppings, signs of nesting or strange smells

Pests such as rats and mice will always leave signs of their presence, whether that’s small droppings like dark brown grains of rice, a nasty musty smell or signs that your unwelcome guests are shredding paper, plants or cardboard to build a nest. 

Damage to your home

Some types of pest, such as rats, mice and squirrels, can cause extensive damage to homes if the problem is not stopped early. Nibbling through electrical wires, wood, walls, floors, plastic pipes and more is very common, as rodents need to gnaw frequently to stop their teeth from overgrowing. 

Damaged or contaminated food

Food that is missing or has damaged packaging could be a sign that you have a mice or rat issue in your home. Some of the most common types of food that attracts pests includes bread, fruit, nuts and seeds, along with things such as pet food. You’ll usually find droppings nearby too.

Who is responsible for pest control when renting?

Landlords and housing providers have certain responsibilities when it comes to pest control, which include:

  • If there is a pest infestation before the tenancy starts, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to resolve this.
  • If the pest problem has been caused because of repair that the landlord should have fixed e.g. a hole in the structure of the property through which the pests are accessing the home, they are responsible for sorting this out.

On the other hand, it can be the tenant’s responsibility to take pest control action if the unwelcome ‘guests’ have been attracted to the home because of things such as not disposing of rubbish or food waste properly into bins with lids, too much condensation in the home, or leaving dirty dishes for long periods before washing up. Not treating pets appropriately for fleas can also sometimes cause an infestation in the home. 

What to do if you discover a pest infestation at home

If you do find evidence at home that you have a pest infestation, it’s essential to get the problem solved as quickly as possible, to stop it from getting worse and prevent any further damage to the property.

If you are renting, you should let your landlord know about the issue straight away. If the cause of the infestation means that it’s their responsibility to resolve, they should arrange for professional help. If the pest infestation is considered the tenant’s responsibility, they will need to pay for pest control services. Many local councils offer a pest control service that will usually have an associated cost, but is often cheaper than hiring a private pest control company. 

If you are a Places for People customer and you think you have a pest infestation at home, report a repair as soon as possible. 

Pest control safety precautions to prevent an infestation

Whether you’ve had a pest infestation in the past that has now been resolved and want to make sure it doesn’t happen again, or you simply want to avoid this kind of situation in the first place, there are lots of pest control safety precautions and pest prevention tips that can help. 

Keep it clean

It goes without saying, but many pests are attracted to grime. Ensuring your home is clean and tidy is the first preventive step to stopping critters from making your home theirs. A regularly cleaned dwelling has little appeal to creepy crawlies. Cover your leftovers and keep floors and surfaces clean of crumbs. A handheld vacuum is a fantastic investment, as you suck up those small mounds of debris with minimal fuss. 

Hand Held Vacuum


A dry atmosphere is essential to keeping pests at bay, and the best way to create these conditions is through sufficient ventilation. Opening windows wherever possible and ensuring air brick vents aren’t blocked is vital to keeping a dry environment. If you are worried about pests entering your home through air bricks, cover them with a fine wire mesh. This will keep critters out while still allowing air circulation. 

Air Brick

Remove any source of food or water

Much like an unwanted visit from the in-laws, there’s nothing pests love more than free food and drink, and you’d be surprised at how quickly the problem solves when the prospect of nibbles is removed. To avoid an impromptu visit, ensure all leftovers are covered and correctly stored in sealed containers. 

Food In Containers

Remove rubbish regularly

There’s nothing pests love more than free food, so keeping on top of your rubbish is vital to evict unwanted tenants. Ensure that you remove rubbish from all your bins when full to keep your home tidy and pest-free. 

Recycling Food

Seal any holes to eliminate outside entry

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Nowhere is this more prevalent than when talking about pests. These crafty blighters will find a way into your home through any nook or cranny – so it’s necessary to close any entries.

But first, you need to identify any openings around your home. Some key places to check include: 

  • Around windows and doors
  • Along the foundation
  • The roof
  • Attic and crawl space vents
  • Around holes used for electric, gas, and plumbing lines

Once you’ve established where your openings are, it’s time to find the right solution for the size of your gap. 

For example, small gaps can be filled easily with waterproof silicone caulk. Available in more hardware shops, silicone calk supplies a simple and effective solution to small cracks around doors and windows. 

For larger holes, gaps or cracks around pipes, steel wool or copper mesh might be a better choice. These materials will create a base which then can be filled with expandable polyurethane foam. Once the foam has set, you can trim off any excess and paint or stain it to match your home.

Putting Sealant On Window