5 Telltale Pest Infestation Signs to Look for When Apartment Hunting

This guest post was written by Derek Whitney.

I moved into my first apartment when I was a junior in college, blissfully unaware of what was lurking in the walls. On the initial walk-through, the two bedroom apartment seemed spacious and clean.

However, on my first night in my new place, it quickly became apparent that there was a roach infestation.

While I was able to eradicate the roaches eventually, it took several months and quite a bit of my own money to fix the issue. Luckily, there is a simple way to avoid having a similar experience. If you know what to look for, you can spot the signs of a pest infestation before you ever sign a lease.

Apartment Pest Infestation

Pest Infestation Sign 1: Droppings

One of the easiest ways to determine if there is a pest infestation in the apartment is to look for droppings.

Start by checking the counters and the floors for a substance that looks like pepper. When wet, it turns a reddish color and is a clear indication that fleas are present on the property. Roach feces look more like coffee grounds. If the roaches are particularly large, the droppings may be in a cylindrical shape.

Rat Infestation Apartment Bathroom

Rodents leave behind a lot of fecal matter, so if there is a bad infestation, you should see some signs of it. Rat droppings are large, about the size of raisins, while mouse droppings are similar in size to a grain of rice. If the feces have been there for a while, they turn a grayish color.

It is harder to spot the signs of a bed bug infestation, especially if the apartment is already empty. Those with a particularly keen eye might notice small spots surrounding the bugs’ hiding places or dark mounds of fecal matter.

Pest Infestation Sign 2: Unpleasant Odors

Many pests have their own distinct smell, although the scent might not be overwhelming even if it is present. Roaches, in particular, often have a noticeable odor that is either oily or musty. Most often, their smell is present in either the kitchen or the pantry.

If a rat is present, you may catch a lingering odor of ammonia, but if there is a mouse infestation – the smell of urine might permeate the room.

Finally, bed bugs have been known to emit a musty odor that has a hint of sweetness to it.

Pest Infestation Sign 3: Live Bugs

This one sounds obvious, but depending on the type of pest in question, it may be more difficult than you think to spot a live bug. For example, many apartment hunters worry about the presence of fleas, particularly if the apartment complex welcomes cats and dogs in its community. Wear light colored socks, and take your shoes off at the door during your tour.

Flea Infestation

As you walk across the carpets, look down to see if you notice any small, dark spots on your feet. If you do, take a minute to sit and inspect your socks. The dark spots might actually be fleas.

Spend a little extra time in both the kitchen and bathrooms of the apartment.

Many pests are found near water sources, including ants and roaches. Inspect these areas carefully so you don’t miss anything. And remember, seeing just one bug doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem, but it does mean you could eventually have a serious issue on your hands.

Pest Infestation Sign 4: Unusual Sounds

Rodents are a little harder to spot than smaller pests, but by listening carefully, you may be able to determine if there is any activity going on. Both squeaking and scurrying are tell-tale signs that there is a rodent infestation. You might also hear scratching or gnawing.

Mouse Home Infestation

If possible, set up an appointment at the apartment complex in the late evening. You are much more likely to hear the rodents if you take a tour at night.

Pest Infestation Sign 5: Small Holes

Particularly with older buildings, it is not uncommon to find a number of small holes throughout the property. The presence of holes, therefore, does not necessarily mean that there is a pest infestation, although it certainly makes it easier for bugs and rodents to gain access to the home. If you are concerned about the condition of the apartment, speak with the landlord and point out the areas you are worried about. Ask that he or she take care of as many of the holes as possible to give you peace of mind. It certainly won’t hurt, and it very well could deter some pesky bugs from invading your living space.

Apartment Termite Infestation

If you are able to spot the signs of a pest infestation before you sign a lease, you can ask the landlord to take care of the problem and request proof that it has been handled appropriately.

Once you move in, however, your options may be limited. Learn from my mistakes, and submit any apartment to a thorough inspection before you get your heart set on moving in.

Derek WhitneyDerek is a blogger for Fox Pest Control, a CT Pest Control company. He enjoys writing about DIY pest control and family-safe pest prevention alternatives.


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