Identifying Common Household Pests: A How-To

Identifying pests is the first step to eliminating them. A clean home, minimizing clutter, and sealing cracks and gaps can keep unwelcome guests at bay.

Common signs of cockroach infestation include live sightings, droppings, odor, and discarded wings. Termite infestations may be identified by hollow-sounding wood, mud tubes, and discarded wings.


Cockroaches are a common household pest that can cause health issues including asthma and allergic reactions. They also contaminate food, damage personal items and stain surfaces with their shed skins and excrement. While some people assume that cockroaches only enter clean homes, the truth is that any home can have them if it has access to food, water and shelter. They can flatten their bodies to fit through door and window cracks, and they may be unknowingly introduced inside boxes, grocery bags, used appliances or potted plants.

Different cockroach species prefer to hide in different areas of the home. German cockroaches are drawn to warm, humid environments and often invade kitchens. American cockroaches are more commonly found in commercial buildings and restaurants and can infest food storage areas, basements and alleyways. Asian cockroaches are strong fliers that may fly into windows or get into houses through vents. They can also infest gardens and mulch, scavenging for insects and starches.

Wood cockroaches are chestnut brown and have long antennae and tan wings. They are usually only an inch long but are excellent climbers and are attracted to light. They can be found in logs, stumps and woodpiles but are often brought indoors by hitching rides on firewood, garbage or truck deliveries. They can crawl up walls and furniture and are especially fond of hiding behind electronics, cabinets and drawers.

Smokey-brown cockroaches are a little larger than German and American roaches, averaging over an inch at maturity. They have golden stripes on their wings and can be spotted in trees, along rooflines, under shingles, in gutters and in shady areas outside where they feed on plant material. They can be attracted to outdoor lighting, and they are also attracted to trash, pet food, twigs and leaves left outside.

Oriental cockroaches are dark and have narrower bodies than other cockroaches. They are good fliers and are attracted to lights. They dehydrate quickly and are most often found in damp areas, such as near sewers or in outdoor plants, but they can also be brought inside on the backs of furniture, in shopping carts or in potted plants.


Identifying pests is essential to timely and effective control. Knowing their appearance, habits and habitats helps prevent infestations and identifies the specific species you need to control.

Cockroaches are nocturnal insects that thrive in warm and humid environments, and leave behind droppings that resemble black pepper or coffee grounds. You might also notice a musty odor where infestations are present. Ants are social insects that invade homes in search of food and water. They often leave visible trails and small piles of discarded wings. Store foods in sealed containers and keep kitchen counters, cabinets and floors clean to deter ants.

When a scout finds a food source, it will lay down a chemical trail that the rest of the colony will follow to return to the nest with a feast for its members. Inside the home, ants typically crawl along walls and into cabinets in their search for food. In addition, ants may also be found in crawl spaces and under the floors of homes or offices.

To determine what type of ant you’re dealing with, you can look at their color, size and behavior. All ants have elbow-like antennae and two bumps or nodes on their spine, but some species also have other characteristics such as a 10-segmented club antenna or no spine at all on the thorax.

Pavement ants, which are commonly seen in Minnesota, are dark brown to black and move in long single-file lines. These ants tend to forage for sweet food such as candy and fruit. They also feed on grease, meat and insect parts and can chew through wood to build nests inside homes or offices.

Odorous house ants, which are smaller than pavement ants, have a more diverse diet and are typically seen in the kitchen. These ants prefer sweet foods but will also forage for other food, especially greasy items like chips or nuts. They are known to nest in places where moisture collects, including soggy concrete foundations and damp drywall behind bathroom tiles.

Carpenter ants are larger than other ant species and are typically black or reddish-brown. They dig through wood to build their nests and can be identified by the coarse sawdust-like debris they leave behind near their nesting sites. If you suspect a carpenter ant infestation, have a pest professional inspect your property and locate the nest to treat it appropriately.


Flies are common household pests that cause discomfort and health risks, especially if there is an infestation. The first step to eliminate unwanted pests and insects is recognizing them and understanding what attracts them to your home.

Most of the time, flies enter homes from outside through structural weak spots like damaged weather stripping and torn screens covering windows and doors. But they also get inside from food sources such as animal waste, rotting fruits and vegetables, and spilled beverages like alcohol. Once inside, they can spread diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid fever, salmonella and tuberculosis.

Different types of flies have unique preferences when it comes to breeding and feeding. For example, common house flies breed in decaying organic filth such as human feces and rotting meat, while fruit flies prefer sugary substances and tend to lay their eggs in overripe and contaminated food. Other flies such as drain flies require moist climates and can be found in the drains of sinks and bathtubs.

Identifying a fly infestation begins with a careful walk-through of your property and the interior of your home. Check the spaces around windows and doors, crevices, and cracks, as well as trash and recycling zones, pantry, dining areas and kitchens. Look for discarded wings, musty odors and small, circular specks on walls or ceilings.

Other common flies include blow flies (also known as greenbottle and bluebottle flies) which are metallic blue or green in color and commonly found in and around buildings. These flies breed in dead animals, animal dung and garbage.

Powderpost Beetles (also known as furniture beetles or deathwatch beetles) are 1/8 inch or smaller in size and cream-colored. They can be found in softwoods such as pine flooring, imported furniture, and bamboo fences. Symptoms of an infestation include round holes in wood, fine sawdust in the area, and musty odors.

The most effective way to control a fly infestation is by eliminating the conditions that allow them to breed. That means regularly removing and sanitizing trash bins, keeping all compost and soil piles dry, and ensuring that the doors, windows, and screens are tight and secure.


Rodents (order Rodentia) include more than 2,050 living species of mammals that have upper and lower pairs of ever-growing rootless incisor teeth. They are found throughout the world, with most of the species living in terrestrial habitats and some adapted to aquatic environments as well. Although most people think of mice, rats, squirrels, and hamsters when they hear the word “rodent,” this large order also includes porcupines, beavers, gophers, pocket gophers, groundhogs, deer mice, hares, and capybaras (the largest rodent on Earth).

Rodents are common pests in homes because they are opportunistic, looking for food, shelter, and water. They can gain entry to buildings through small cracks and crevices. They are a major contaminant of stored foods, causing food to rot and spoil. In addition, they carry and spread human diseases and cause damage to structures and their contents.

The most common rodents in households are mice and rats, which can be both indoor and outdoor pests. Both rats and mice are omnivorous and feed on seeds, grains, fruits, and vegetables, but they will also eat meats and other animal products. They are commonly seen in gardens and agricultural fields because they can gnaw their way through agricultural and construction materials.

In homes, they can get in through open doors or through holes around plumbing and electrical lines. Both mice and rats are able to squeeze through gaps the size of a dime or smaller. Rodents can become serious pests because they have a high reproductive potential and quickly grow in numbers once inside the home or other structure.

The Best Roofing Materials Recommended by Experts

Several factors play into choosing the right roofing materials, including longevity and durability, climate compatibility, aesthetics and energy efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular roofing materials:


Metal roofs have become increasingly popular because they provide many benefits for homeowners. They are durable, long-lasting and offer many style options. They can withstand strong gusts of wind, and they are resistant to fire, rust, mildew, and other forms of damage. Many people also choose them because they look good. They have a modern, clean appearance and come in a wide variety of color options. They can be painted to match any home’s design or theme, and they are quick to shed snow during the winter.

Wood shingle roofs are another roofing option that is popular with homeowners. They are available in a wide variety of colors and styles, and they can be shaped to suit any architectural design. They can be quite pricey, however, and they require regular maintenance to ensure that they remain watertight.

Slate tiles are another high-end roofing material that is often used on high-end homes. They are a beautiful roofing choice that works well in many weather conditions and can last for up to 100 years. They are also extremely fire-resistant and can withstand heavy rain, snow, and hail. However, they are incredibly heavy and can require a very sturdy structure to support them.

If you choose to install a metal roof, be sure to consider the quality of the material that is being used. Some cheaper metals may not be as durable and are more prone to corrosion in certain climates. Also, if a metal roof is installed incorrectly or has gaps and cracks in the panels, then they will be more susceptible to water leaks. Water that seeps into the house can damage insulation, drywall, and framing. It is important to get a quality roof installation that will be protected by a warranty and backed by a manufacturer.


Whether you’re a homeowner planning a roof replacement or a builder looking to add value to your next project, selecting the right roofing materials is crucial. After all, the roof plays an important role in protecting a home from the elements and reducing energy costs. Choosing the wrong material could lead to damage and require costly repairs.

Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular roofing materials available, offering an affordable and durable option that’s easy to install. They’re available in a wide range of colors and can work with many different house styles, including traditional suburban designs. They’re also known to resist extreme weather, wind and fire. Depending on your location, you may want to consider impact rated shingles.

Manufacturers of asphalt shingles also offer a variety of styles to suit any aesthetic. These include 3-tab, architectural and dimensional. The latter offer a more premium look that can help increase your home’s curb appeal. Some manufacturers even produce shingles that mimic the appearance of other roofing materials like slate and cedar shakes. These shingles are designed with a layered texture that is very similar to the look of these other roofing materials.

Another advantage of using asphalt shingles is their ability to reduce noise. This helps maintain an ambiance of peace inside the house, and it can also keep interior temperatures cooler in hot or humid weather. They’re also energy efficient, as they don’t absorb heat like some other roofing materials do. This keeps the indoor temperature at a comfortable level without overheating or raising your utility bills. This type of shingle is best suited for a home with a well-ventilated attic. The ventilation system can prevent the roof from becoming overheated and damaging the shingles.


One of the most beautiful and longest-lasting roofing materials available, slate tiles can last up to 200 years. They are durable enough to withstand high winds, heavy snows and hail. They also resist water and prevent fires, making them an excellent choice for homes in harsh climates.

The natural stone material can also add a touch of luxury to your home’s exterior. Slate roofs are available in a range of colors and textures, including purples, grays, greens, blacks and reds. Their color is determined by the mineral composition in each piece of slate, such as hematite (which produces purple highlights) or chlorite and carbon (which produce greens and blacks).

Slate is one of the most expensive roof materials, but it’s worth the investment over the long-term. In addition to its longevity, a slate roof is resistant to mold and mildew and won’t attract insects. It also provides superior insulation and soundproofing, protecting your home from the noise of traffic or neighbors.

A drawback to slate roofing is that it’s fragile, and it can crack or crumble if not properly installed. It’s important to use a professional roofing contractor to ensure that your slate roof is installed correctly.

Slate is also incredibly heavy, which means that it requires more structural support than other roofing options. Some older homes may need to be reinforced before you can have a slate roof installed. Additionally, foot traffic on a slate roof can damage the tiles, so you’ll want to make sure that your contractor puts protective pads in place before working on your roof. In many cases, slate roofs require a lot of maintenance and will need to be repaired frequently.


Clay Tiles

Unlike other roofing materials, clay tile roofs have a very long lifespan and are extremely durable. They are also class A fire-rated, protecting homes from external damage and keeping them warm.

They also offer a natural look that can enhance any home’s architectural style. Additionally, clay tiles are energy efficient with their thermal emittance and solar reflectance. Because of this, they help keep homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Because of their durability, clay tile roofs can withstand heavy winds and hailstorms. This makes them ideal for locations that experience a lot of harsh weather conditions. Furthermore, they don’t crack from the freeze-thaw cycle like other roofing materials. The material is also fire-resistant and can withstand fires up to 150 mph.

In addition to their durability, clay tiles are aesthetically appealing and come in a variety of shapes and colors. This makes them a great option for homeowners who want a roof that matches their unique style. They can also be molded into different shapes, giving them more versatility and customization options.

On the other hand, clay tiles are not light and can weigh more than other roofing materials. This means that a new tile roof may require additional framing to support the extra weight. Additionally, the installation process can be costly because it’s not as easy as laying down shingles. Therefore, it’s recommended to hire a contractor who has extensive experience with clay tile roofing, such as these Louisville roofers. This helps ensure proper installation that maximizes the life of the roof. It also minimizes the need for repairs in the future. The individual nature of the tiles can also make it difficult to find exact replacements for repair work.

Composite Shakes

Cedar has long been a coveted roofing material, adding beauty and value to a home. It’s naturally rot resistant, able to withstand high winds and impact and has a long life with proper preservation. However, cedar can also be a costly option and requires frequent inspections, maintenance and repairs, especially in colder climates. Additionally, the installation process is complicated and often carries more risks for homeowners who aren’t familiar with the material.

One alternative to traditional roofing materials like cedar shakes is composite shingles. These synthetic options replicate the appearance of natural cedar or slate roofs, but with more durability and less risk. Designed to last longer and withstand extreme weather conditions, composite shingles are moisture, mold, and algae resistant, have fire resistance ratings, and don’t require any preservatives or periodic power-washing. In addition, they don’t contain granules that wash off and clog gutters.

Choosing the best roofing material depends on your needs, budget and the specific architectural style of your home. Visiting showrooms and speaking with roofing professionals can help you make an informed decision that’s right for your home. Additionally, it’s important to consider any neighborhood restrictions or guidelines on the type of roofing allowed as well as warranties and maintenance requirements.

Whether you’re looking for an upgrade to your current roof or planning for a new construction, the roof is a critical aspect of your home. The right roof not only protects your home from the elements, but it can also add to the overall curb appeal and increase resale value. Contact us to learn more about how our roofing products can improve the look and functionality of your home. We offer a variety of roofing options, including Brava, which is virtually indistinguishable from real cedar shakes from a distance.