HOA Pest Control: Tips For Identifying Invasive Insects and Animals

A rat on a kitchen counter with knocked-over glasses inside a home requiring pest control

Figuring out which pests are living in your community makes it easier to find the right pest control vendor

Key takeaways:

  • The communities you manage may encounter pests
  • You’ll most likely need professional assistance to eliminate them
  • Identifying what pest it is ensures you call the right specialist
  • VendorSmart can put you in touch with vetted local pest control vendors

As a property manager, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll encounter pests in your communities. Insects, rodents, and other invasive critters are everywhere, and they can quickly make communities uncomfortable places to live if they infest them.

A typical situation starts with a complaint from a resident who knows something is living in their attic or basement but hasn’t seen the animal yet. Or, they may have caught a glimpse but don’t know how to tell you exactly what it was. 

You’ll want to contact a pest control expert to eliminate these creatures from a resident’s home and the community at large as quickly as possible. But, who do you call, and what do you tell them?

The process starts by identifying the pest. From there, you can reach out to specific pest control vendors with experience ridding homes and yards of these animals.

Here are several tips for figuring out which invasive inspects and animals are living in your HOA neighborhoods so you can develop a plan of action.

Learn about common local pests

Certain pests are more common in specific parts of the country. As a result, looking at a list of prevalent rodents and insects in your area is an excellent place to start. 

For example, mouse, rat, mole, and gopher infestations are standard in the northeastern United States. This area also tends to see a lot of cabbage worms and Japanese beetles, both of which can destroy gardens and outdoor plants. 

In the South, roof rats commonly make their homes in residential attics, while cockroaches, ants, and termites are widespread. Florida has unique pest problems, as lizards often end up inside homes in this area.

The Midwest is squash bug country. These tiny bugs do a number on crops in the area and can quickly suck the sap from outdoor plants in your community. You’ll also encounter rats and mice throughout this part of the country.

The western part of the United States is diverse geographically, so many different pest types exist. The Pacific Northwest tends to see a lot of carpenter ants, aphids, slugs, and snails, while California and Arizona have various spider species. Voles, rats, and mice are common here, too.

Learning which pests are prevalent in your area gives you a starting point as you determine what is going on in your community.

Check for damage

Once you know there’s a pest infestation in your neighborhood, the next thing you should do is check for structural damage. 

For example, holes or gnaw marks on walls, furniture, or wiring indicate a rodent problem. You might hear rodents in the walls or attic when they’re present inside a resident’s home, as well.

The state of any wood around the community can also provide clues. Damaged wooden furniture or decks could mean there are termites in the area, as can damage to the beams in attics or crawlspaces. Keep in mind that termites tend to live near a water source, and you’ll probably notice a musty odor and some brown smears on the flooring when they’re present.

The damage from smaller insects is a little harder to spot. Bugs typically nibble on plants and flowers, and residents might not notice until they’re well established. Keeping an eye on the lawns around the community could indicate that certain insects are present, as some species will leave brown or dead patches. Damage to the grounds around the neighborhood could also signal a mole or vole problem, particularly if you discover holes or tunnels.

Look at the droppings

A clear sign you have an infestation of some type is when you see droppings inside homes or in other locations around the community. 

Waste from mice and rats gets everywhere, so if you see small, pellet-like droppings anywhere in the community, it probably means you have rodents. 

Droppings from larger animals might also appear around the neighborhood. Bats, skunks, raccoons, groundhogs, prairie dogs, squirrels, and opossums are nuisance wildlife because they carry disease and, while more uncommon than rats and mice, can make their way into homes.

Deer are another nuisance animal in some places because they eat from gardens, trees, and other vegetation. 

The good news is that most of these nuisance animals are easy to identify because they’re far more visible than smaller rodents and bugs, helping you hire the right vendor.

Search for nests

As pests move into your area, they’re bound to assemble nests. Rodents create these homes incredibly quickly, shredding paper, leaves, grass, and whatever else they can find as they build. 

These nests appear in hidden spots like behind wood piles, inside sheds, under flooring, or between walls, making them challenging to spot. 

However, you can often hear these pests in their nests, making it possible to track them down. You’ll also encounter droppings or grease marks left behind by mice and rats as they leave and return to their nests. 

Ensure you contact a pest control expert immediately if you find a nest because mice have a gestation period of about 20 days and can have up to 15 litters per year. It doesn’t take long for the problem to get out of control if you don’t address it quickly. 

Finding a vetted pest control vendor

No matter the pests you have in your HOA community, reaching out to reputable pest control experts who can eliminate your problem is essential. You don’t want this issue to make the neighborhood an undesirable place to live, nor do you want to field constant calls from concerned residents as they deal with these nuisances.

VendorSmart offers a comprehensive vendor management platform that brings community managers and service providers together. We can assist you in finding the right pest control experts to meet your community’s needs while providing the necessary vendor vetting. Contact VendorSmart today to learn more about our platform or request a demo.