Household pests can be found everywhere, from the basement to the bathroom. Rodents, roaches, and spiders are all common visitors in houses throughout the world and are often swiftly detected and exterminated.
But the real nightmare begins when an infestation goes unnoticed for weeks or even months, causing devastating damage to your home. This is often the case with crawlspace pests which lurk, unseen, in the dark, enclosed cavities within your walls, attic, and floor. These creatures multiply rapidly in the warm, humid conditions and can threaten both the structural integrity of your home and the health of its inhabitants.
The image of thousands of bugs in your crawlspace is a hair-raising thought, but what are the most common crawlspace pests, and how can you get rid of them?
Most common crawlspace pests and how to get rid of them
Crawlspaces are inviting places for rodents, who love to make their homes in warm, damp, enclosed environments. To find rats and mice in the crawlspace under the house is, therefore, a common occurrence – but that doesn’t make it any less of a problem. Rodents are known to carry several infectious diseases which can cause serious illness in humans, so the last thing you want is rats and mice moving into your crawlspace.
Pest control tips for rodents:
- Create a rodent-proof crawlspace. Rats and mice can squeeze their way through tiny gaps and will often enter crawlspaces via drains, vents and small holes and cracks. Get to work sealing up all entry points to your crawlspace to prevent rodents from getting inside.
- Keep moisture to a minimum. Rats and mice love damp environments, so make sure to keep your crawlspace as dry as possible. Use a dehumidifier and install vents and vapor barriers if necessary, to help make your crawlspace less appealing to rodents.
- Clear up outside your home. Shrubbery, piles of wood and mounds of leaf litter are all excellent hiding places for rats and mice. To discourage rodents from hanging out near your home, keep your garden neatly pruned and swept, and store piles of firewood as far from the foundations of your house as possible.
Termites are prevalent throughout North America and are one of the most common crawlspace invaders in the country.
These insects are drawn to warm, moist environments where they set to work chewing through any wood that comes into contact with the soil. Termites feed on the cellulose (plant fibers) in wood, a material that makes up both the majority of their diet and the beams and floor joists that support your home. To make things worse, these ‘silent destroyers’ often go unnoticed for months, giving them ample time to cause devastating structural damage.
Termites are a major economic problem throughout the United States, accounting for billions of dollars in damages each year. To make sure you don’t fall afoul of these house-destroying insects, preventative pest control is the best option.
Pest control tips for termites:
- Use chemical soil treatment. One of the most reliable ways of preventing termite infestations is to apply a chemical treatment to the soil around the foundations of your house. Termites can’t survive in the treated soil, so this effectively creates a chemical barrier between them and the wood of your house.
- Eliminate damp. Termites love warm, damp environments, so moisture control is crucial if you want to keep them out. There are several ways to keep your crawlspace dry that can help with all kinds of crawlspace insect control, like installing ventilators, using a dehumidifier, or setting up a crawlspace vapor barrier.
- Use a crawlspace termite treatment. Termiticides are chemicals used to repel or kill termites in your crawlspace. If you are already dealing with a termite infestation, this can be the most effective way to exterminate them.
These loathsome insects love the dark and need a reading supply of moisture to survive, so the damp, gloomy gaps behind your walls attract plenty of them. Cockroaches are one of America’s most common and least favorite household pest. Not only are they crawling with harmful bacteria, they also stink.
Using preventative pest control measures is the most effective way to keep your crawlspace free of roaches. Once inside, cockroaches breed rapidly and become difficult to manage, so making your crawlspace less appealing to them is the smartest way to avoid dealing with them.
Pest control tips for cockroaches:
- Keep your crawlspace dry. Cockroaches are dependent on having a steady water supply, without which they can’t survive. You can reduce your chances of encountering cockroaches in your crawlspace by dehumidifying the area, or by setting up a vapor barrier.
- Close up all entry points. Roaches find their way in through any hole, gap or crack they can find, so set to work sealing up all entry points to your crawlspace.
- Use insecticidal dust. Certain types of insecticidal dusts can be used in your crawlspace to prevent cockroach infestation. These treatments work by killing any roach that walks over them and may be used to effectively treat an active infestation. Some also have residual effects that can help to prevent re-infestation. It is always advisable to consult a pest control professional before applying chemical dusts to your crawlspace, however.
Crawlspace pests are the worst kind of home invader, as they often manage to avoid detection for long periods of time. In the meantime, they can cause devastating and widespread damage to your home which can be horrifyingly expensive to put right.
When they’re not boring away at the structural beams of your property, crawlspace pests can also spread dangerous pathogens. Rats, mice, and roaches are all known to contaminate food and transmit nasty illnesses to humans while creating an unpleasant, musty odor in your home.
The most effective way to deal with crawlspace pests is with a variety of different preventative measures. Keeping moisture levels in your crawlspace to a minimum, sealing up any and all entry points and using a chemical treatment, if necessary, can all help to keep your home pest-free.