A Quick Guide On Which Smells Attract Common Pests

February 23, 2024
A Quick Guide On Which Smells Attract Common Pests

As humans, we rely on our senses to effectively navigate our surroundings. But while many attribute our sense of sight and hearing to making this possible, the human sense of smell also plays an important role in various functions, such as warning and protection from environmental hazards, social communication, and eating behaviour.

Therefore, it should be no surprise that the same applies to other living things as well. In fact, many animals heavily rely on their sense of smell for survival, including the many common pests that find their way into our homes. Now that we understand how smell plays a crucial role in triggering infestations, let us go over the pest control and prevention measures that ensure that our homes do not exude odours that invite unwanted guests.

What odours attract or repel pests?

Different types of scents attract different types of pests, ranging from smells related to poor sanitation and hygiene to edible materials like leftovers and even cooking oil grease. Below, we take a look at the four common pests and the many scents that draw their attention.


As creatures that are highly sensitive to light, worker and soldier termites are born without eyes yet have a strong sense of smell, which is what they use to communicate via pheromones. Their odour receptors are particularly sensitive to the aroma released by the cellulose found in wooden materials, which helps them find their main food source. This is why properties that use wood in some capacity, either as furniture or building material, are at risk of a termite infestation.

Unlike other pests, termites cannot be easily deterred by DIY pest control or home remedies that interfere with their sense of smell. Thus, if you suspect that you have a termite infestation, consider getting a termite inspection in Singapore to make sure and know when it’s time to get the experts on the case.


Just like termites, ants also possess an incredibly powerful sense of smell, which is how they communicate with their species. Specifically, they leave a trail of pheromones whenever they find a food source that other ants can pick up on and follow. Cleaning up leftover foods and wiping up spills removes these pheromone trails and makes it impossible for ants to find their food again.

Fortunately, their strong sense of smell means they are also sensitive to other scents, which can interfere with their sense of direction and ability to follow pheromone trails. This is why strong-smelling essential oils are often used as a DIY remedy for pesky ants, but their effectiveness is limited as ants can simply go elsewhere until the oils dissipate.

Moreover, different ant species are attracted to different things; some are drawn to the smell of sugar, while others prefer proteins. In any case, ants can easily seek out the foodstuffs that have their desired nutrients, which is why it is essential to keep all your food items sealed properly, as you have no idea what ant species you might attract.

House flies

House flies seek heat and odour in search of food and breeding grounds, so seeing them around your house means your residence has both. These pests possess an acute sense of smell that lets them detect odours from six kilometres away, and while there is not much you can do about the heat, you can do something about the smell.

House flies generally gravitate towards decaying organic matter like spoiled foods, hence why they are often seen hovering around open trash bins, kitchen sinks, and even uncleaned pet litter boxes. Hence, maintaining cleanliness can already do much to keep house flies from hanging around your home.

Besides keeping things tidy, there are many other ways to further rid your premises of house flies. The most popular of these solutions is the light trap, which takes advantage of the fly’s biology, wherein they are attracted to UV-A light with a spectrum of 300-420 nanometers. Once they get close, the trap’s glue boards capture them for good.


Not many people realise just how important smell can be when it comes to pest control. Beyond knowing that it can trigger a pest problem, we can also leverage smells to help us in pest detection. For example, an unpleasant and pungent odour is often an early indicator of a rat or cockroach issue, while a sweet and musty smell almost always means a potential bed bug infestation.

Hopefully, the contents above help you better understand your pest problem and deal with it effectively. However, should you ever need professional help, PestClinic is always ready to lend a hand. As veterans in the pest control industry, we take pride in being able to handle any pest problem, no matter how severe. Whether the infestation is in a residential, commercial, or industrial setting, we have the expertise, equipment, and manpower needed to get the job done.

To learn more about our pest control services, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Professional Pest Control Services

Get a FREE pest control quotation & ENJOY $30 OFF our pest control services!

Professional Pest Control Services

Get a FREE pest control quotation & ENJOY $30 OFF our pest control services!