Not to scare you, but you and your family members are not the only ones living in your home. Whether we like to think about it or not, there is no such thing as a home without a single insect anywhere within the walls… And many homes host a few rodents as well. Even if you never see anything, there’s a good chance that something – or someone – is hiding out underneath the house, in the walls, or the attic crawl space. In most cases, the situation is kept manageable and you just don’t notice your “guests”. But of course, sometimes things can get a bit out of control and you need to adopt more aggressive pest control measures.

For now, here are seven things you need to know about pests in your home, to keep them at bay.

Even “neat freaks” have pests.  Yes, a messy home is likely to attract more pests. But because mice only need a few crumbs here and there to survive just fine, even very tidy people can have a pest problem. So, if you see signs of an infestation, don’t feel embarrassed.

Pests prefer to live near water. Like us, they need a steady, dependable source of water. So leaking pipes or clogged drains can be a major “plus” for critters looking for a new home.

Sorry, but most pests aren’t loners. If you spotted a roach in the kitchen this morning, he didn’t wander over from three doors down just to check things out. Where you see one, there are already several others that you can’t see. Waiting until you’re convinced there’s a problem only means the problem has now grown so large that you now have a massive infestation on your hands. And this can happen quite quickly, given the short breeding cycles of insects.

Beware secondhand furniture. No one is saying you must purchase new furniture all the time, especially if you love antique stores and thrift shops. But do remember to inspect used furniture very carefully for signs of pests, because they can and will hitchhike into your home this way.

Pests can be more than just “gross”. Aside from the risk of disease, pests can do other types of damage. For example, rodents can chew on your electrical wiring, increasing your risk of a house fire!

Maybe poison won’t completely solve the problem. You can set out some rat poison, but it might not kill your little unwanted visitors immediately. If they crawl back up into the walls, floor, or ceiling to die, you might begin to notice a foul smell… And now you need an expert to come find and remove the bodies.

Humane options do exist. If your conscience is bothering you, or you’re worried about children or pets getting into poison, live mouse traps can be much more effective than you would think. However, you do want to release the prisoners far from your home, where they can’t return. Also, take care when releasing them since frightened animals can and do bite.

Remember that we’re here to answer all of your pest control questions, and help you with any concerns. It is always better to call an expert when you first notice signs of a possible problem, than to wait until the infestation has grown and become much more difficult to remedy. Remember, these little buggers won’t just change their minds and go away on their own!