How to Control the 5 Most Common Household Pests

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Home Improvement

It can be frustrating to deal with pests in your home, but it’s important to know how to control them. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), pests like termites alone cause billions of dollars in damages each year. To keep your home safe and clean, it’s essential to know how to control the five most common household pests in the US.

While bugs and critters are essential to the ecosystem, they can be harmful to your health and property when they invade your home. Keeping your home clean and tidy is the first step to prevent pests from entering. Ensure that you clean up crumbs and spills immediately, store pet food and dry goods in airtight containers, and seal any gaps or cracks in your home’s foundation, pipes, vents, and screens.

However, even well-maintained homes can still have problems with pests. The NPMA lists the following five pests as the most common in US homes: cockroaches, mice, termites, ants, and bed bugs. Knowing how to control these pests can help you eliminate them quickly and effectively.


Cockroaches are unsanitary and can cause damage to your home. They also carry harmful diseases and bacteria. To get rid of them, remove their sources of food and water, and seal any hiding places. Traps can be helpful in managing their population.


Mice may seem small, but they can cause significant damage to your home by leaving urine and excrement on household objects and clothing. They can reproduce up to ten times each year, so it’s crucial to manage their population quickly. Seal any gaps or cracks that may give them entry into your home or garage, and make sure that their sources of food outside the home are sealed tightly. You can also use traps, rodenticides, or glue boards to capture and kill them.


Rats can transmit diseases like salmonellosis and typhus to humans, making it important to start control processes immediately upon sighting any evidence of them such as burrows in the garden, rustling in the attic at dusk, or finding rat droppings. In addition to causing costly damage to wood, wires, and insulation, rats also pose a threat to human health. To control the rat population, it is important to remove sources of food and rodent-proof your home by sealing any gaps with steel wool or sheet metal. Traps are a better option than poison as it can lead to rats dying in inaccessible places, creating an unbearable stench and further damage to your home.


Termites are tiny bugs known for attacking lumber used in homes and can cause extensive damage to furniture, books, and food products. The queen termite can lay thousands of eggs in a day, causing exponential damage to your home. If you notice swarms of small winged insects or tunneling, darkening, or blistering in wood, it may indicate a termite infestation. Professional removal is typically required for any type of termite infestation. To prevent termites from entering your home, keep wood 12 inches above ground and properly ventilate the structure to avoid moisture retention. Use termite-resistant woods like cedar, redwood, and white oak for new construction.


Ants are easily noticeable and can quickly become a massive infestation if not dealt with promptly. Whether they are scurrying across countertops or parading from outdoors to a lone crumb on the floor, getting rid of them quickly is crucial.

If you want to eliminate ants from your home, take any containers or items with ants on them outside. Use soapy water to clean up any crawling ants and ensure that all food spills or sticky items have been wiped up. However, removing ants from the house won’t prevent other ants from entering. To prevent them from entering, use caulk to seal any holes in doorways or trim. To discourage ants from nesting near your home, avoid planting or mulching within a foot of the foundation. If the issue continues, consider using baits outside to deter them before they come indoors.


1. What are the most common household pests?

The five most common household pests are ants, cockroaches, mice, rats, and spiders. These pests can cause damage to your property, contaminate your food, and pose health risks to you and your family.

2. What are the signs of an ant infestation?

An ant infestation is usually indicated by trails of ants, particularly in the kitchen and pantry areas. You may also notice small piles of dirt or debris near cracks and crevices where they enter your home. Ants are attracted to sweet and sticky substances, so look out for any spills or crumbs on countertops and floors.

3. How can I prevent a cockroach infestation?

To prevent a cockroach infestation, you should keep your home clean and tidy, especially in the kitchen and bathroom areas. Seal any cracks or gaps in walls, floors, and cabinets where cockroaches can enter. Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly. You can also use baits and sprays to kill cockroaches, but it is best to consult a professional pest control service for effective and safe treatment.

4. What are the dangers of a mouse or rat infestation?

A mouse or rat infestation can pose health risks to you and your family, as these pests carry diseases such as salmonella and hantavirus. They can also damage your property by chewing on wires, insulation, and furniture. In addition, they can contaminate your food and leave droppings and urine throughout your home.

5. How can I prevent spiders from entering my home?

To prevent spiders from entering your home, seal any cracks and gaps in walls, doors, and windows. Keep your home clean and free of clutter, as spiders are attracted to dark and cluttered areas. Remove any webs you find and vacuum regularly. You can also use insecticides or natural repellents such as peppermint oil or vinegar, but be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

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