Here’s a guide to some common household critters: Rats Rats are one of the most hated pests, due in part to their strange, hairy appearance. They are primarily nocturnal and can be found nesting in a variety of places – from inside piles of garbage to undisturbed areas of basements. Rats can fit through an opening the size of a quarter, so it is easy for them to find access to our homes. Once inside, they can spread diseases by contaminating food and put homes at risk for electrical fires by gnawing through wires. Tip: Before homeowners bring boxes of pumpkins and fake cobwebs inside to decorate for Halloween, they should inspect them for signs of an infestation such as gnaw marks and rodent droppings. Once Halloween is over and it’s time to pack away the decorations, make sure they are stored in a plastic box with a sealed lid. This will prevent rodents from making it their new home. Bats For centuries, bats have caused unfounded fear in people, as they are often associated with vampires and haunted houses. Bats are nocturnal mammals that dwell in dark areas of buildings, such as attics, under fascia boards, and in other sheltered areas like caves. They are known to fly from their hidden nests at dusk to get food and return just before daylight. Bats are frequent carriers of rabies, which can be deadly if left untreated. Tip: Homeowners should screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, and install door sweeps this fall to keep bats out of the home. If an active bat infestation is suspected, it’s important to contact a licensed pest professional like Budget Pest Control Inc because bats are protected by law in most states. Spiders The sight of a spider crawling on the wall can frighten just about anyone, especially around Halloween. Even though spiders are feared, only a few species found in the United States are actually dangerous. Homeowners should be particularly aware of the brown recluse spider, the black widow spider and the hobo spider, as these types of spiders are known to administer a painful bite when disturbed or threatened. Tip: Homeowners can avoid coming in contact with spiders by keeping garages, attics and basements clean and clutter-free. Make sure to wear heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time, like Halloween decorations. Bed bugs Bed bugs are like vampires in that they feed off of human blood, typically at night. Although bed bugs are often found in beds, they can also conceal themselves behind baseboards, underneath electrical switch plates and in furniture crevices. Bed bugs will hide in luggage, purses, laptop cases and other personal belongings in an effort to find a human food supply. Luckily, these subtle pests do not transmit disease, but they can leave red, itchy welts on the skin. Tip: If you plan on purchasing a Halloween costume from a rental or second-hand store, make sure to inspect it for bed bugs before dressing up to go trick-or-treating. Pay particular attention to the inside seams, looking for any signs of sticky white eggs, shed skins and the bugs themselves. If you find these pests or any other real-life creepy crawlers hiding within your home, make sure to contact a licensed pest professional like Budget Pest Control Inc to inspect and treat the problem. Call 412-318-4912 for a FREE estimate.