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Series / Infested

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Infested is a 2011 live-action documentary series that airs on Animal Planet.

Each episode focuses on three different families as they share their horror stories about different infestations from various pest species (often insects and rodents, but bats have also been featured and a couple episodes featured infestations of snakes).

Infested provides examples of:

  • Bat Out of Hell: Two episodes have featured brown bats. Unlike most other species of pest animal, brown bats are endangered (due to a disease known as "White Nose Syndrome" which has severely decimated the population) and cannot be killed due to being protected by law.
  • Bee Afraid: One episode featured a family who discovered not one, but FOUR beehives in the wall of their house.
  • Bittersweet Ending: A few episodes end like this. On the one hand, the people involved ended up spending thousands of dollars on extreme exterminating techniques. On the other, at least they're finally free from their pest infestations.
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  • Creepy Cockroaches: Several episodes have featured cockroaches. One episode in particular featured an episode in which the infestiation overwhelmed an entire apartment complex just because one guy refused to let them be exterminated (it went against his religious beliefs to kill anything).
  • Determinator: The infesting animals and homeowners alike often qualify for this.
  • Downer Ending: A few stories end like this. See You Can't Go Home Again below for details.
    • In another episode, a man bitten by one of the brown recluses infesting their apartment in Tulsa suffers chronic pain following the bite, which shatters his dreams of becoming a pilot due to the medications he has to take.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For a good number of people involved. They have to go through all sorts of trauma before they can start living a normal life.
    • One man not only managed to get rid of the stinkbugs infesting his house, but also started a successful business selling the traps he invented.
  • From Bad to Worse: In some the episodes, the abovementioned episode with the cockroaches in particular, as one infested apartment is bad but the entire complex being overwhelmed is worse.
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  • Hate Sink: Landlords and building management sometimes fulfill this trope.
  • Hope Spot: Happens often in each story. The first attempts at exterminating the pest in question seem to be working, only to have them return and in greater numbers.
  • Implacable Critter: In some cases, the infesting creatures seem to play to this; taking practically everything the humans throw at them and carrying on completely unfazed.
  • Jerkass: Several episodes have featured landlords or building management that have either outright refused to help stop the infestations, or have blamed the people suffering for the infestation.
    • One episode in particular featured a family whose apartment was infested by cockroaches. Not only did the building management refuse to help (even when shown evidence that the exterminators were unable to stop the increasing number of cockroaches invading their home), but they also threatened to evict the family just for leaving behind some spilled baby formula. And, to make matters worse, this was all in the same week that one member of the family's own father died. Talk about Kick the Dog.
  • Killer Rabbit: Opossums. Think they're harmless? Well, they are at first, but as they get more comfortable with someone's home, they can also get more aggressive. Moreover, they often carry fleas, which not only exacerbate the problem, but also carry typhus.
    • Nearly every animal featured on the show can fall under this. One ant? Tiny, harmless, and easily thwarted. A few ants? Annoying, but can be taken out by insecticide. A whole swarm of ants? They pretty much act as a single entity and tend to swarm all over everything in sight. It's not easy to defeat something tiny when there's thousands of them to deal with. Did we mention that ants have venomous stingers and will attack en swarm as well?
      • One episode showed a couple in Florida dealing with invasive hairy crazy ants that were shorting out the electrical system in their house, threatening to possibly cause a fire.
  • Kill It with Fire: Well, not quite actual fire, but it seems like blasting the home with intense heat is the most effective way to get rid of bedbugs.
  • Manipulative Editing: This show goes out of its way to make the infesting species of the episode look like an unstoppable deadly force from Hell itself.
  • Monster of the Week
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Sometimes, attempts to get rid of the infestation only make things worse.
  • Once an Episode: Each episode has the family (gradually) discovering the infestation, trying to stop it, failing at first, and then either finding an effective way to stop it or having to move out of their home.
    • Stories featuring brown recluse spiders will almost always feature someone getting bitten.
    • Bedbug episodes often start with people getting mysterious itchy rashes on them and trying to figure out why.
    • Any episode featuring rats, bats, raccoons, or opossums will begin with the family either hearing strange "scratching" noises or stating the house has a "weird musty" smell.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: One family had a tick infestation that got so bad they had to resort to using military-grade pesticides to get rid of them. They succeeded in killing the ticks, but the pesticide was so caustic that it destroyed just about everything made of metal in the house, including various family heirlooms and anything electronic.
  • Rascally Raccoon: One episode featured an infestation of raccoons living in an attic.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: An episode focusing on a house that is infested with Little Brown Bats is unique for having the only landlord who actually tries to help his tenants deal with the problem - in this case, sealing the opening the bats were using to enter and exit the house. Unfortunately, he did that while the bats were asleep, and when they woke up, they ended up invading the rest of the house.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Surprisingly subverted. While the infestation of garter snakes (to the point where the home was put up for market several times and had been dubbed "the Snake House") was shown to be very serious (due to the fact that snake droppings carry various diseases), the snakes themselves weren't portrayed as a threat to the family, as garter snakes are harmless (They are technically venomous, but the venom they produce is not toxic enough to do any serious harm to humans).
    • The second episode dealing with Garter Snake infestations played this trope straight though since the woman was a Ophidiophobe (person has a fear of snakes). Note, it seemed that only the smell from the musk (meaning the snakes were mating) was the main problem, not the urine or feces getting into food or the water supply. one pointed out just to wait it out until mating season was over, and the snakes would disperse. Oh, and because what, three, four snakes managed to get into the house, the woman pressures her husband to leave even though if they waited just a month more (or, if it was afordable replace the foundation of the house), the infestation would have taken care of itself!
  • Scary Scorpions: At least a couple of episodes have featured scorpion infestations.
  • Small Reference Pools: While a few stories have focused on more unusual infestations such as snakes and cave crickets, most of the episodes feature animals people commonly recognize as pests (e.g. rats, cockroaches, bedbugs, etc.).
  • Smelly Skunk: One family had to contend with an infestation of skunks in the crawlspace beneath their house.
  • Spiders Are Scary: A few episodes have focused on brown recluse spiders. In all fairness, brown recluses are extremely dangerous.
  • The Swarm: One story featured a family being overwhelmed by a swarm of ants. We all know how annoying one or two ants crawling around the house can be. Now imagine millions.
    • Other insect swarms have also been shown, such as cockroaches, bees, even stink bugs. One episode also featured a massive swarm of mice that besieged an entire farming community in Australia.
  • Swarm of Rats: A few episodes deal with one of these.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: A good number of episodes end up with the homeowners having to take drastic and (often) expensive measures to stop the infestation.
    • A few episodes that have featured bedbugs required the families to pretty much roast them alive using blasts of intense heat.
    • An episode featuring an ant infestation involved the family having to pay thousands of dollars to have their home gutted and reinforced with concrete walls to keep the ants out.
    • Taken to the extreme with a tick infestation in one episode. Not only did the highly toxic and industrial grade insecticide used to kill the ticks end up destroying the family's photos, but it also ended up utterly damaging all their electronics to the point where they were useless.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A lot of the people on the show fall under this. Deadly brown recluse spiders crawling around your floors? Disease-carrying cockroaches invading your kitchen? Rabies-carrying raccoons scurrying about in your attic? Staying home with such dangers is a great idea!
    • One episode featured an exterminator who had to remove some birds to prevent bird mites (which feed on human blood as well as bird blood) from invading the home. Said exterminator forgot to remove the birds' nest when he sealed up where the nest was standing to prevent other birds from nesting there. Guess what was still living in said nest and was still feeding on the family living in the house?
    • Many of the people in the show state that they refuse to leave because they don't want the rats/cockroaches/bats/spiders/etc. to "win". When the invading species has already begun invading everywhere and efforts to stop them have utterly failed, you've already lost.
    • In, at least a few instances, this trope was subverted with the victims not being able to leave due to finances before being given no choice.
    • One landlord tried to get rid of a bee infestation personally to save money, rather than calling an expert to handle the problem. His method? Spraying pesticide into the hive... which only succeeded in forcing the bees to evacuate their hive, so the air was filled with bees. This overlaps with Lethally Stupid, since one of his renters had a severe allergy to bee stings.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Sometimes, the infestation is of an animal that someone in the household is afraid of.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Sometimes happens when a family thinks they've finally gotten rid of a pest, only to find out that the infestation has somehow gotten even worse.
  • You Can Panic Now: As stated above, the show goes out of its way to make it seem like infestations in general are unstoppable. In reality, severe infestations are rare and often can be treated pretty quickly and efficiently.
    • Bats in particular are subject to this. The show goes out of its way to remind people that bats carry diseases such as rabies. While rabid bats are dangerous, you're more likely to be bitten by a rabid dog or raccoon than you are by a bat (this is because bats are nocturnal and encounters with them are rare).
  • You Dirty Rat!: Several episodes have featured rat infestations.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: In some cases, the homeowners end up moving out because the infestations are far too great and overwhelming for them to handle. To make matters worse, they often have lost so much money trying to get rid of said pest species that they end up having to live with friends or relatives until they can afford to buy/rent a new home.


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