Four of the most costly pest infestations

rodents, termites, cockroaches, bed bugs

Not only are rodents, termites, cockroaches and bed bugs a big nuisance, but they cause damage that can be very costly!

by Jason Johnson

I have never made any excuses for the fact that I hate pests in all shapes and sizes. Whether they have six legs, eight legs or no legs at all, I despise them. They are disgusting and they spread germs and some of them are just downright creepy (I’m talking to you crickets!).

More than anything, pests are expensive. If I wanted anything else eating my food and destroying my property I would have had children already!

Below is a list of the pests that costs households and businesses quite a pretty penny (or actually not so pretty!) every year:

Bed bugs

Having rented in Cape Town I have experienced several pest infestations. Without a doubt the worst infestation I have ever experienced was bed bugs. Apart from the fact that they turned me into human buffet, getting rid of bed bugs are a difficult task as they have become resistant to several pesticides.

Bed bugs also breed and populate incredibly fast. Given the right circumstances, you could have an infestation within a week. Did you know that bed bugs can live a full year without a blood meal? Not only is this a problem, but they are quite difficult to spot. Learn more about how to spot the signs of a bed bug infestation.

It’s not only households who suffer from bed bugs. Each year, the hospitality industry spends millions trying to stop the spread on bedbugs in hotels and guesthouses.


Probably the most common pest infestation on the list, cockroaches are able to infest a home in almost every country in the world because they are very adaptable to different climates. There are also about 3500 different species of cockroaches in existence today making it even more difficult to get a handle on them.

Cockroaches are extremely resilient and can survive under extreme circumstances.  These critters are a high risk pest to have around as they spread diseases such as  salmonella, dysentery, gastroenteritis and typhoid. Their droppings can also cause asthma and eczema. It is important to practice basic housekeeping activities to get rid of cockroaches in your home, such as immediately cleaning spillages and food residues in the kitchen, storing food in sealed containers and not leaving liquids standing overnight. See some more tips on how to get rid of cockroaches.


My personal favourite on the list is the rodent. I can not put into words how much I hate rodents. Having been mauled by a mouse a few years, my vendetta with rodents, specifically mice, is personal.

Rodents are also easily one of the most expensive rodents on the list costing residents thousands of rands every year replacing alarm system wiring as well as wasted food products that they came into contact with. I personally spent a ton of money by throwing several hot cups of tea or coffee at a mouse that had taken up residence in my house.

If the property damage is not enough to get your guard up, bear in mind, rodents are carriers of the bubonic plague. Although reported cases of the plague have been very few in recent years, in the early thirteen hundreds, this plague is estimated to have wiped out half of the European population. So, consider this before you look into those beady brown rodent eyes and decide not to get rid of it. Learn more about rodents.


Known in some circles as home cancer, termites are arguably the most costly pests around today. Treating termites has become so expensive that many insurance companies have actually started offering insurance plans to cover termite damage. The amount of structural damage caused by termites has caused many homeowners to start completely from scratch and use materials other than wood to lay their foundations.

Termite control services are a highly specialised treatment and because of that, may cost more than general pest control services. Read more about termite damage and the cost implications that it may incur.

 What to do about pest infestations?

All the talk about creepy crawlies and the damages and costs associated with them is enough to make anyone run screaming. The best solution in this regard is to regularly check for signs of a pest infestation and ensure proper measures are put in place to get rid of pests, such as sealing access points (door fissures and windows) with sealants, regularly emptying rubbish bins and practicing good housekeeping. Once water, food and shelter is eliminated, pests will have to seek alternative harbourages.

Lucky for us, we can always count on the professionals to take a look at the situation and recommend pest control treatments to get rid of the  pests that can not only cost us our money, but our health too!

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