The EPA has found that indoor air pollutants are now an even bigger threat to our health than pollution outdoors. As such, you’re probably already aware of many of the biological contaminants, particles, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that may be present in your air supply and can be recirculated by your HVAC system. However, what you may not know is that pests can be one of the biggest allergens in your home, too. Rodents, for example, carry various pathogens that may irritate your respiratory system. Cockroaches are another nasty pest that can trigger allergy symptoms and breathing problems.
The easiest way for pests to interfere with your indoor air quality is by crawling through your ductwork. This may occur due to unsealed gaps and vents, as well as other openings. And some rats’ teeth are even sharp enough where they may be able to chew through your air ducts, along with materials like plastic, wood, brick, and glass. While it can be hard to spot roaches or rats once they have crawled inside your system, there are several key signs you may have pests in your ductwork. Keep reading for what you need to know, and never hesitate to call our experienced pest control experts at proof. pest control if you believe you are dealing with an infestation.
Top 7 Signs There are Pests in Your Air Ducts
- Droppings: One of the most visible pieces of evidence that you are dealing with a pest problem is the droppings they leave behind. Rat and mice droppings look like small brown or black grains of rice, though rat droppings will be noticeably bigger. Meanwhile, cockroach droppings look closer to small flecks of pepper or coffee grounds. If you spot any kinds of droppings that look like this in your air ducts, call a pest control technician for further inspection right away.
- Track Marks: Another visible sign of a pest infestation is track marks. If you are concerned you have pests in your ducts, consider shining a blacklight in them and seeing if there are footprints, urine stains, or smudges left behind by rodent bodies. Cockroaches can also leave irregular streaks in their wake, so if you see anything that looks like something has been crawling in your ducts, call a pest control pro ASAP.
- Foul Smells: A major sign of pests inside your ducts and out can be the odors they leave behind. However, this may be heightened if your ductwork is blowing these smells throughout your house. Rat and rodent urine has a stale, ammonia-like odor, while roach pheromones smell like a damp, musty oil. Look for your pests getting irritated near where these smells are coming out, as this can be a strong indicator that pests are hanging out in your ducts.
- Scratching Noises: Rats, mice, and cockroaches are most likely to skitter through your ductwork during the nighttime, so you should listen for crawling noises before you go to bed. You may also hear these sounds coming from your attic, as this room is often the source of an infestation. In addition to the sound of crawling, you may also notice…
- Gnawing: You can sometimes hear rats and mice gnawing at your ductwork during the night. However, an even bigger tell is the bite and rip marks they leave behind. Again the most common places to find these marks is where your ducts meet your attic or crawlspace.
- Spots/Eggs: Rodents leave behind dander, though this is extremely hard to spot, especially in comparison to their bite marks or droppings. Cockroaches, however, do leave noticeable bodily traces behind, including skins and egg capsules. You will recognize the shredded skins as having the same brown color as a live roach, while cockroach eggs are generally brown or tan in color, and have the appearance of little pills.
- An Increase in Allergy/Asthma Symptoms: As mentioned above, rodents and roaches pose a very real threat to your health. The saliva, waste, skins, and bodies of these creatures can increase allergy symptoms, asthma attacks, and other breathing problems. And keep in mind, this is in addition to the other diseases these pests may carry, such as the hantavirus, which can be transferred through the air being circulated by your HVAC system. This is why ductwork is an extremely dangerous location to have a pest problem, and why you should call as soon as you notice one or more of the signs mentioned above.