Health Risks of Having Pests in Your Home

living room interior

Pests aren’t just disgusting and annoying. They can be deadly too. If you live in the tropics, you probably fear acquiring malaria, dengue fever, and other parasitic and viral diseases. The life-threatening nature of those illnesses makes it hard to believe that a small mosquito and the viruses they carry have caused them.

But the tropics aren’t the only place where deadly pests are found. Wherever you live, no matter the climate, pests can be lurking in your crawl spaces, attics, and gardens. They may not immediately spread disease-causing viruses, but they’ll eat away at your plants, food, and things. Once you start noticing suspicious bite marks or any other sign of pest activity in your home, you should call a pest control expert right away. Leaving the critters alone gives them time to multiply and wreak more havoc.

That said, let’s identify the most common pests found at home and the diseases they cause.

Common Household Pests

In a new study conducted by Hillarys, a home interior specialist in the UK, it was found that different pests live in different parts of the UK. Hillarys compiled their findings in an infographic, the data from which as follows:

  • Most rats are found in Northern Ireland and Wales homes
  • Southwest England is a hotbed for wasps
  • Cockroaches are the biggest menace in the Midlands
  • North England often struggle with mice and ant infestations
  • London often experiences bed bug invasion
  • Birds frequently attack Scotland homes

Other shocking data gathered in the study are:

  • The average household has more than 30 spiders
  • Bed bugs can survive 5 months without food
  • You’re never more than 50 meters away from the nearest rat
  • The largest ant colony measured 3,750 miles (6,035.04 km) in length

On the website, more pests are shown to be lurking in different parts of a home. Below is a breakdown of where each pest is most commonly found:

  • Bedroom: fleas, bed bugs, ants, cockroaches, spiders
  • Living room: ants, house flies, ladybugs, stinkbugs, varied carpet beetles
  • Basement: centipedes, termites, cockroaches, earwigs, spiders, rodents, camel crickets, pillbugs, millipedes
  • Kitchen: ants, cockroaches, rodents, flies, stored product pests
  • Bathroom: ants, cockroaches, silverfish, spiders
  • Attic: mice, roof rats, bats, raccoon, flies, tree squirrels
  • Garage: silverfish, crickets, mice, spiders, pillbugs, flies, house flies
  • Backyard: mosquitoes, ticks, stinging insects, ants, scorpions, fleas

Diseases Caused by Pests

Pest Control

Thankfully, not all pests are notorious for causing diseases. Some of them may leave and not bother you again after you send them away. But cockroaches, rodents, and mosquitoes are particularly dangerous.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) included the following as significant public health problems caused by pests:

  • Vector-borne Diseases

Disease vectors include mosquitoes, ticks, rodents, and other pests. They may carry the Zika virus, Lyme disease, and rabies virus.

  • Asthma and Allergies

Indoor household pests can trigger asthma symptoms and allergic reactions. For asthma, symptoms include wheezing, coughing, breathlessness, and chest tightness. Allergic reactions, meanwhile, include rashes, itching, or hives, swelling on the lips, tongue, or throat, stomach pain, vomiting, bloating, or diarrhea, and dizziness.

  • Microbial Diseases and Infections

Fleas, mosquitoes, and parasites found in mammals may cause Bubonic plague, malaria, ringworm, and athlete’s foot. These microbial conditions can be hard to treat because the viruses or bacteria causing them can avoid detection from the immune system. As such, your body will mistakenly let them fester. Once that happens, the virus or bacteria will obtain the nutrients inside your body, multiply rapidly, and even attack your vital organs.

Pest Prevention Tips

Aside from exterminating the pests, make it a habit to apply insect repellent if your region is a natural habitat to dangerous insects. If you have a tree in your backyard, trim the branches that touch your home. Consider reducing your plants and mulch too, because they make an ideal shelter for pests.

Seal any access pests might use to enter your home. This includes cracks, gaps, windows, and doors. Use a mesh screen for your doors and windows if you need to keep them open.

Cover the lid of your trash bins properly, or buy a bin with a tight-fitting lid. If you’re using an open bin provided by your municipality, thoroughly rinse your disposable food packaging before dumping them. Do the same if your personal bins have loose or nonexistent lids.

Most importantly, keep your home tidy at all times. Pests are most attracted to dirt, so by maintaining your space’s cleanliness, they’ll naturally avoid it — unless you leave a food item exposed. So be careful with your food products and scrap, and enjoy a pest-free abode.

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