How to Spot Pest Problems Before the Home Inspection

The Spring Edition 

There is nothing like a Tennessee springtime. One day, it is winter. The next, it is sunny and 70 degrees. Overnight, tulips erupt from the ground, and birds can be heard singing in the mornings again. Tennessee boasts a vibrant green, especially after heavy rainfall. 

This spring has been a wet one. And while we all love the spring buds and sprawling green fields, the moisture reminds us of one of the biggest nemesis to our homes, pests. The most destructive pests in your home love moisture and warm, humid climates. 

We’re going to talk about the most dangerous pests to your home in Tennessee and how you can spot the signs of infestation before a home inspection. 

Your Biggest Pest Threats

All pests are unwanted in your home, but some pests threaten the health and structural safety of your home. A buyer’s decision could be influenced by the presence of a pest infestation in a prospective home. It’s a good idea to know how to spot the signs so you can get help from a licensed pest control professional. Don’t let pests spoil the home inspection. 


Termites are one of the few creatures that can help break down wood. Cool, right? 

But not when they’re eating through your home. Termites cost homeowners $5 million in the United States. They are hard to spot and even harder to eradicate. Often, termites enter homes from accidental transport or up through the ground where there is wood to soil contact.  

Here are a few signs you may have a termite problem:

  • Frass or sawdust-like particles
  • Tight-fitting doors or windows
  • Swarmers or shed termite wings

*Swarmers-Termites swarm in the spring and summers to find mating partners and find new areas for conquest. These swarmers have wings.  

Carpenter Ants

Like termites, carpenter ants are wood-destroying pests. But unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t ingest the wood. Instead, they tunnel through it, building a labyrinth of nests that damage your home.

Carpenter ants, big black ants, are often attracted into your home by sweets or moisture. They’ll send word to their colony to come too. Before you know it, these carpenter ants will be contaminating your kitchen and burrowing through your home. 

How do you know carpenter ants have invaded? 

  • You hear rustling noises inside the walls. 
  • You see trails of large black ants inside or around your home. 
  • You find piles of sawdust near wood surfaces.
  • You find shed skin of swarmer ants coming out of ceiling, walls, or windowsills.


Unlike the other wood-devouring pests on our list, cockroaches do not pose a structural threat but a health and safety risk. Cockroaches are disgusting, hanging out in unsanitary places like the bathroom, the garbage, and under sinks. They typically track bacteria and chemicals around your living areas, and they can contaminate your food supply with foodborne illnesses like E coli. Extremely hard to get rid of from your home, early detection of cockroaches is key to avoiding a failed home inspection. 

Signs you have cockroaches:

  • water damage on floors and ceilings
  • wood that bubbles or swells 
  • smell of mildew
  • live cockroaches
  • shed cockroach skins
  • cockroach droppings the size of ground coffee 

The best way to prevent pest infestations at all times of year is to invest in pest inspections as a regular part of your home maintenance. You don’t want to be surprised with a pest infestation at your home inspection!

Need a recommendation from a Cookeville home inspector? 

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