California’s real estate properties sell for top dollar–with or without uninvited pest guests. While competition for property listings can get heated, some potential buyers might be inclined to retract their bid if they discover that bed bugs or other insect pests have taken up residence in the house. As insect pests can be difficult to eradicate. Although pest control companies have excellent means of eliminating insects like bed bugs and termites from home, it still sometimes requires more than one visit and application to completely rid a property of insect pests. Unless you are prepared to contend with a bug-infested house before you move into it, here are some infestation signs to watch out for before you make an offer to buy a California home.

Fecal Stains

Though probably not the first thing on your mind when you head to the master bedroom to check out its features, you should scout for fecal stains. Fecal stains are dark brown spots that are also a reliable sign of bed bugs and flies. If you see fecal spots on bedding such as blankets, sheets, and pillows when you conduct a walk through, you may want to walk quickly out the door and reconsider the property. These stains have a way of becoming permanent too. They don’t always wash out of bedding. After they’ve been washed, the marks may appear like small dots made by a black magic marker. Although fecal signs are a classic hallmark of bed bugs, other pests may also leave similar markings.


A bug infestation is associated with a musty odor. Some people say the scent of cockroaches is quite musty while the odor of a bed bug infestation is reminiscent of cilantro or even raspberries. If you smell either odor while visiting the home, you might want to reconsider it as an option. On the other hand, musty odors can also be caused by other issues such as a plumbing leak (possibly another red flag). You can always request an inspection from a pest control contractor to determine if bugs are present. In any case, you should always try to ascertain where strange odors are coming from before you make a purchase offer or close on the home.

Unfortunately, odor isn’t the most accurate warning sign of a pest infestation. A home may still have bugs even though it has no unusual odors. It may take a very large infestation before those odors associated with the bugs become noticeable.

Fish Scales

It’s unlikely a CA home will be inundated by fish scales, but homes in the state are vulnerable to termites. Termites drop their wings and the wings resemble fish scales. Many sellers will be meticulous about cleaning before showings, but check around window ledges and screens in any case. If you see even a few of these wings left behind, you should definitely have the home inspected for termites before making an offer to buy it. Other telltale signs of termites include pinpoint holes in drywall and damaged wood features.

Dead Bugs

If you open cabinets below sinks or check dark corners during your home inspection, look for signs of dead bugs. That dead bug was alive at some recent point and probably has ‘relatives’ lurking around. While a single dead bug might not be a deal breaker when inspecting a home you’re considering purchasing, it should persuade you to do some further investigating just to be sure there isn’t an infestation, especially if that bug happens to be a serious pest like a cockroach.

Live Bugs

Live bugs are certainly a cause of concern. If you turn on a light in a laundry room and notice a cockroach or two scatter to hide, it’s an ominous sign. Know your insect pests, however. A common house spider that’s curled up in the corner of a ceiling isn’t the same threat level as a live termite or cockroach. Before visiting any California property, familiarize yourself with the signs of pest deal breakers like termites, bed bugs, and cockroaches. Many people will also want to avoid purchasing a home with an ant or silverfish problem.

Pest Control Products

Many house hunters aren’t comfortable snooping, which is understandable, but if you just happen to glance in the cabinet under the kitchen sink or shelves in the garage containing household supplies, check the labels of any household products like bug killers. If there seems to be a large quantity of pesticides, draw your own conclusions. If you really want the property, take care to let pest control experts inspect it.

Buying a home in California is a major investment and financial commitment. You need as much information about the condition of a home as possible before you sign a contract to purchase it. A serious pest infestation may cause you to change your mind about a purchase. Termites can cause damage to the home’s structure–serious damage. Bed bugs and cockroaches pose a risk to humans and their health. If you think you spot signs of a bug infestation, call Mariners Pest Control!

If you believe you have termites or bugs in or around your home Request a free termite inspection online, call us at 888-945-2847 or visit our contact page. All of our termite inspections are no obligation and 100% free!