What's That Smell? Identifying Pest Odors | Killingsworth
  1. What's That Smell? How To Identify Pest Odors

FEBRUARY 01 2022 /

What's That Smell? How To Identify Pest Odors

Sniff Out Which Pests Are In Your Home

Have you ever walked into your home, taken a deep breath and thought… Ew? Thrown off by the strange odor, you probably went from room to room to determine the source. Is it the trash? Is it coming in from outside? Or maybe it was from something worse—something like pests. When pests infest your home, they begin to emit certain smells. These pest odors are tell-tale signs of what pests are in your home, and where they may be hiding. To help you determine what pest is causing that smell in your home, we’ve compiled a list of the most common pest odors you are likely to smell around your home. So get your eyes (and nose) ready! Here are seven pests you might be smelling around your home:


Aside from being one of the nastiest in the pest community, cockroaches are some of the smelliest, too. When cockroaches have infested your home, you may notice an “oily” smell. This smell is usually extremely pungent and might strike you as quite musty. Unfortunately, if you’ve started smelling roaches around your home, you’re probably a day late and a dollar short! You will really only be able to smell roaches once they have colonized and infested your home. Not to mention the smell that dead roaches produce. Once a cockroach has died, it will release an acidic smell during the decomposition, adding to the odor in your home. These smells are known to linger, too. So if you have a stink that just won’t go away, call a specialist. Never try to tackle a roach infestation on your own!

Bed Bugs

A common bed bug myth is that bed bugs can’t be seen. While they are big enough to be seen, they are usually much easier to smell. Bed bugs are known to give off a sickly, sweet smell—gross, right? Since bed bugs can infest almost any area of your home, you may notice this smell in your mattress, couch, pillows, carpet and more. Visually, you’ll be able to see the stains left behind from bed bugs, too. These stains are caused by bed bug feces, which give off a certain smell of their own. Since bed bugs live off of blood, their droppings are known to have a copperish smell, like a penny.


Mice and rats also give off their own unique scents. Rats emit a strong smell similar to ammonia. Mice, on the other hand, have a urine scent as well, but it’s more of a musty odor than rats’. As if rats and mice aren’t gross enough already, they also mark their territories with urine. These rodents use urine as a method of communication between other rats and mice, letting them know where to go, or where they have been. These ammonia-like smells alone should be a strong enough indicator of a rodent infestation. However, you may also notice droppings or items with gnaw marks. If you find these indicators inside or around your home, take caution! Just like any other wildlife, your safest option is to reach out to a wildlife removal specialist to get rid of rats and mice that may be infesting your home.

Stink Bugs

Just like their name suggests, these bugs stink. Stink bugs are like the skunks of the insect world—not just because they stink, but because they give off their odor when frightened. Stink bugs can actually emit their odor through tiny holes in their body. This odor is often compared to the smell of coriander, which is controversial on its own. Some think that coriander smells zesty, while others feel that it gives off a rotten smell. Either way, you’ll definitely be able to distinguish the smell of a stink bug. If you find a stink bug in your home, don’t squish it. This will release the odor even more in your home—and it’ll take a lot more than lighting a candle to get that smell out. Instead, try to release the stink bug back outside or coax it out a window to protect your home from an odor bomb.


It’s that time of year again for the ants to come marching! Like the stink bug, it may be your first instinct to squish any ants you see. However, these “stink ants” will only smell when you kill them, so think before stomping! Once these odorous ants have been killed, they begin to emit a rotten smell, sometimes compared to the smell of a rotting coconut, giving them the nickname “coconut ants”. Thankfully, since these ants are so small, the odor isn’t likely to permeate through your home. However, you don’t want ants crawling around your home and making it their own! Which is why you need a line of defense against ant infestations. After all, once you’ve found one ant inside, there’s bound to be more where it came from! Ants can be difficult to spot if you don’t know where to look, so monitor doorways or areas outside where ants may be getting in.


When there’s wildlife in your basement, crawl space or attic, you’ll definitely be able to smell it. There are multiple types of wildlife that can threaten your home, each with their own odor. Bat guano, or bat droppings, is extremely pungent and is usually one of the first indicators you have bats roosting in your attic. Once bats have begun to colonize, guano will begin to build up inside your attic, on the walls and even on the outside of your home. This smell may even attract other pests to your home as well. If you notice these droppings around your home, contact a specialist immediately. A wildlife removal specialist will be able to protect your home from bats by safely removing them from your home, all while getting rid of the horrible odor. Other wildlife pests like raccoons may nest inside of your home too, especially in your crawl space or basement. Since raccoons love to rummage through trash for food, you may notice a garbage smell coming from your home. Please note: If you begin to smell trash or garbage around your home, don’t wait to call a specialist. This smell is always dangerous, despite which pest it’s coming from. The smell of trash or garbage is bound to attract other pests into your home, which could lead to more serious pest infestations!

Trust Your Instincts—Call The Pest and Wildlife Removal Team At Killingsworth Environmental!

When you start to smell pest odors you can’t explain, give Killingsworth a call. For over 26 years we’ve trained our noses to detect certain pest odors. We can quickly determine which pest you may be dealing with, and where it’s hiding, all with our sense of smell. So trust your instincts (and your nose) when it comes to pest odors. Let us help you find, treat, control and remove pests from your home. Trust Killingsworth to get the job done, and have your home smelling fresh again in no time! Think you’re smelling pests, but aren’t sure if it’s one listed above? Schedule your free pest inspection today with one of our pest control experts.