What Causes a Pest Outbreak?

Whether you’re a fan of DIY pest control or just call in a professional exterminator to get rid of pest problems, preventing an outbreak should always be a priority. When you know you can prevent the pests from getting in your home or garden, taking the right precautions is much easier. It’s possible to get rid of most pests, but why go through all that worry, hassle, and damage in the first place?

Below are a few of the most common causes of pest outbreaks. If you’ve been seeing repeat infestations or there have been several cases of outbreaks in your neighborhood, it’s time to read up and strike at the source of the problem:

Traces of Food and Water

Just like any living thing, pests of all kinds will be attracted by the main factors of survival. The most basic ones include food and water. Many pests can sense the presence of food and/or water from very far away, whether it’s a dripping pipe or some leftover grease stuck on a plate.

If the sources of their survival can be found in your home or garden, the pests will take up residence there. To prevent this, you can make a habit of cleaning up the kitchen before going to sleep. This way, the roaches and ants won’t find any crumbs to carry away and will hopefully find some other place to live. Plus, it’s much more convenient and refreshing to wake up to a clean kitchen in the morning.

It’s also important to fix any leaking pipes or dripping taps as soon as possible. Otherwise, the dampness and moisture will attract a lot of roaches.

Most of us won’t leave out food overnight, but we might be guilty of the following negligence:

  • Not keeping food in airtight containers
  • Leaving dirty dishes in the sink
  • Not composting vegetative matter right away or not disposing of it correctly
  • Dropping particles of food while cooking and not cleaning up afterward
  • Spilled bird feed from feeders
  • Keeping packaged or boxed foods for several months or even years
  • Not emptying indoor garbage bins at least twice a week.

Taking care to avoid the above practices can go a long way in discouraging pests from settling in or even visiting your home. It might be a hassle at first, but these precautions will hopefully soon become a habit and help you maintain kitchen hygiene.

Any Opening

If there’s a tiny crack, hole, or any other open area in your home, this is where the pests will find an entrance. The space could be something like a gap between a pipe and the hole it comes through in an exterior wall. The issue may also be the small space underneath each door.

If you keep seeing pests enter your home, give the place a through once-over and seal the cracks or holes you find. Caulking, cementing, or covering the space with something like ModgePodge might also do the trick. For the space under your front door, you can use foam sealers that are easily available in the marker.

The cracks in your indoor walls are also a popular home for cockroaches, bedbugs, etc. These openings might also come from a nearby bush or tree, so rule out that source as well. Trim back the shrubbery or replant it somewhere further away from your space.

Too Much Clutter

If there’s a lot of clutter in your home or workplace, it will provide plenty of hiding spaces for pests. These creatures like the dark and don’t want to be spotted by humans too much, so a cluttered place is perfect for them. Plus, a cluttered area is difficult to clean, so you can bet there are some morsels of food somewhere for the pests to thrive on as well.

If you’re ready to remove the clutter from your home, here are some tips on organizing your living room. Start there, and remove any unnecessary clothing, junk, or even furniture. You’d probably enjoy the new, open look; at the same time, your pest problem will be under control. The change might happen gradually, but it’s essential to start as soon as possible.

Not Enough Light

As mentioned above, most household pests prefer the dark. If your home or any other space doesn’t have proper lighting, this could create a lot of dark nooks and crannies for the pests to hide in. Decent lightning will make a lot of difference, so you may want to start looking at how to brighten up those dark corners.

Here are some tips on where to put accent lighting. Such steps can greatly benefit the look and value of your home as well. Turn on the lights when night starts to fall; this will discourage pests from staying in your home most of the time.

Harborage Sites

Harborage sites refer to the places where pests might reside or hide from predators. These are usually places that are hidden and protected from any air movement to the living creatures inside. If the area has food and water nearby, the pests will be even more attracted towards it.

The most common kinds of harborage sites are tree holes, fallen tree limbs, leaf piles, under patio stones, under wooden boards, garden statues, garden barriers, and decorative rock piles. Modern landscaping might be the cause of many sites like these; if you see any such fixtures, move them away from the doors and foundations of your dwelling.


In a nutshell, your living space will become infested with pets when the environment there is sustainable for their existence and reproduction. If you don’t want to spend most of your time killing off one pest or another, start eliminating some of the causes we’ve discussed above. You may also look at some alternative means of controlling pests, such as attracting birds to your garden.