Checklist: How to Inspect Your New Home for Pests

Dollhouse-style schematic of a home with text overlay showing where you are likely to find particular pests

A new house, especially in a new area, is likely to bring with it some new pest issues. With our checklist, you’ll know how to inspect your new home for pests, including what to look for, where to look, and what to do when you meet your new eight-legged or slithering neighbors.

Let’s start with the signs of pests. When inspecting your new home for pests, look for these telltale signs:

  • Droppings
  • Scratch and gnawing marks
  • Nesting, including spider webs
  • Plant damage

How to Inspect for Pests Inside Your Home

man checking underneath kitchen sink for bugs
Photo Credit: Wonderlane / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Spotting a pest inside your home is one of the worst feelings. By keeping watch on the areas where nuisances are likely to enter and to live, you can vastly reduce the number of critters scurrying around.


  • Look inside all cabinets and drawers.
  • Look in the warming drawer beneath the oven (that thing you store unused pans in).
  • Remove the bottom panel from the refrigerator.
  • Remove panels from the dishwasher.
  • Remember to clean up spills, store food in sealed containers, and clean all appliances regularly.

Doors and Windows

  • Make sure the seals are snug and there are no cracks in window or door casings.
  • Inspect all screens for holes; these can be patched or replaced.
  • Ensure there is no rotting wood that could become inviting to pests.

Vents and Air Exchanges

  • Make sure vents are snug and covers are closed; check the dryer carefully.
  • Remove all vent covers, wash them with hot soapy water and have a look inside.
  • Don’t forget about bathroom fans.
  • You’ll have to step outside for this one, but check your air conditioner for signs of nesting.


An unfinished basement likely will prevent more issues than one that has been converted into living space. But since your basement is at least partially below ground it likely is home to all sorts of creepy-crawlies.

  • Look for cracks in the walls and ground.
  • Look for signs of moisture, such as discolored cement, warped drywall, or rust.
  • Check windows for proper seals.
  • Look for damage to wooden posts and supports.


Take a flashlight with you up the ladder and look for signs of nesting, droppings, and anything unusual.

If you use your attic for storage, use tightly sealed plastic storage containers to keep pests from getting inside. Some pests, such as roaches, bed bugs, spiders and marmorated stink bugs like to hide in cardboard boxes.

How to Inspect for Pests Outside Your Home

While bugs don’t seem as threatening outdoors, note that those pests living outside often look for a way inside your home. Eliminating places where pests live and breed will keep them from invading the great indoors.


  • Look for cracks or openings in the foundation.
  • Check dryer vents and electrical openings for signs of intruders; vents can be covered with fine mesh for extra protection.
  • Remove weeds and dead plants.
  • Consider removing heavy mulch as this is a common source of food and shelter. Cedar chips and stone mulch can be better alternatives.

Exterior Walls

  • Look for cracks or holes in siding.
  • Inspect brickwork for missing or broken grout.
  • Check wood trim or structures for damage that could be from insects.


  • Look for gaps in roofing shingles, scratch marks, and nests.
  • Ensure your chimney cap is mounted properly.

Eaves, Gutters and Overhangs

  • Look for cracks, holes or other openings.
  • Be sure your gutters are clean and make a habit of cleaning your gutters regularly.
  • Clear away any cobwebs or debris collecting in overhangs.

Trees, Bushes and Hedges

  • Keep plants neatly trimmed to deter pests from seeking shelter close to the house.
  • Clean up debris beneath trees and bushes where animals may build nests.
  • Trim back growth that could act as a “bridge” into or onto structures.
  • Consider moving fruit-bearing trees away from your home and other structures. Fruit on the ground draws pests.

Trash and Recycling Storage

Photo Credit: TheInvertedFan / Flickr / Public Domain
  • Keep all waste in sealed containers to prevent foraging and insect breeding

Shed, Garage and Outdoor Storage

  • Locate and get rid of any areas where water may pool.
  • Consider changing outdoor lighting to yellow bulbs or sodium vapor lights. This will attract fewer flying bugs.
  • Repeat this checklist from the top of this article (check for droppings and spider webs, caulk windows, store items in tightly sealed containers, etc.).

Some pests (silverfish, for example) are simply annoying to cohabitate with, and some like termites are downright destructive. Knowing where to look and what to look for can help you determine if you need to hire a pest control pro near you to get rid of any of your new neighbor pests.

You’ve finally unpacked and settled in, only to learn you’re not alone — bugs, spiders, insects, and more are likely sharing your address. Hopefully this home pest inspection checklist helps you to sleep tight, without worrying about bed bugs biting.

Main Photo Credit: VectorStock / Lanasham

Allison Hoover

Alison Hoover is a Midwesterner through and through, and loves to spend her time baking and reading. Always at home in the dirt, as a kid, Alison raised a vegetable garden with her dad, and flower gardens with her mom.