How to Keep Bugs Out of Your Basement

Bugs love basements almost as much as they love sheds, especially if they’re dark, damp, and lead outside. Some of the most common bugs you’ll find in the basement are ants, cockroaches, flies, moths, silverfish, and crickets.

It’s a safe place for them to stay when they’re not outside looking for food. They might be able to get in, but most of their natural predators aren’t able to.

A few exceptions are spiders and centipedes. These bugs eat other bugs and are sometimes best left to do that job. However, if you’re looking to get rid of spiders and centipedes, your best option is to get rid of as many other bugs as possible.

If your basement isn’t properly protected, you might as well invite them in. You won’t be able to stop them from coming in completely, but you can cut down on them significantly.

Here are a few ways how to keep bugs out of your basement.

Five Ways to Get Rid of Basement Bugs

1. Waterproof and Seal Your Basement

Moisture is one of the main reasons that bugs are attracted to your basement, especially if your basement leaks. Those cracks act as entry points for water and the bugs themselves.

Be sure to check utility and plumbing lines. These often aren’t sealed properly and allow water and bugs to enter. You’re providing them with a safe water source by ignoring the leak.

Not to mention that water damage can cause additional problems, including problems with the foundation and even walls and floors upstairs. If your basement is leaking, you need to fix it for the sake of the rest of your house as well.

Invest in a pump that will remove any flood water and make sure your basement is properly sealed. There are also ways to use landscaping to divert rainwater away from your house.

Dry Basement Solutions, basement waterproofing experts in NJ, suggest that you take care of these items first:

  • Clean your gutters.
  • Direct downspouts away from your house.
  • Seal basement windows.
  • Grade your yard away from your foundation.

2. Clean It Up

If you have clutter and trash in your basement, bugs will find their way into it. Obviously, food should not be kept in your basement at all, whether it’s trash or not.

And if you use your basement as a storage area, the basement insects are likely to use that junk as hiding and nesting spots. If you leave it there and never touch it, it’s a perfect spot for a bug family.

Now is the perfect time to throw stuff out and donate items you don’t need. The less stuff you have in the basement, the less hiding places there will be for creepy crawlies. If it has been banished to storage in the basement, you probably don’t need it.

3. Remove All Food Sources

Even if you declutter and get rid of trash, there could still be items in your basement that bugs will eat. Cardboard, wood, and paper are all on the menu for many bugs.

If you have items made from these materials in your basement, you should lock them up in containers or cover them if they’re large. Plastic works best against bugs. It’s usually sealed well and isn’t easily chewed through.

Rugs also tend to collect food sources for bugs. Make sure you vacuum and clean them regularly, especially if you eat in the basement. The crumbs and bits of food that end up in the carpet welcome bugs to breed there.

4. Finish Your Basement

One of the main reasons bugs love your basement is because it’s so quiet and dark down there. If you don’t use the space, they’re going to.

So a good way how to keep bugs out of the basement is to finish your basement and actually use the space. That alone can deter bugs from living there. They will be scared off by the sound of people using the space.

Plus, it gives you more opportunities to squish them (or release them outside). Sometimes, the best solution is to be proactive.

Speaking of being proactive, there are also many different types of traps you can buy or make that can help you catch and release (or kill) pests. Click here for three DIY traps that catch stink bugs, mosquitoes, and fruit flies.

5. Get Rid of Bugs Outside

If you give the basement pests a perfect place to live up against your house, it makes it more likely that they will find their way into your basement. If you want to have a garden, it’s better to have it away from your house.

Give bugs a perfect place to live that’s at least several feet away from the foundation of your house. The farther away it is, the better. Then you can safely spray pesticides around the perimeter of your house without worrying about destroying your plants.

Bugs especially love mulch. It might look nice right up against your house, but it attracts bugs and water. Both of those things are bad for basements. Instead, have a few inches of stone or cement around the perimeter of your house.

Then you can have grass that leads up to the perimeter. The grass will soak up water and is less likely to attract bugs.

If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, it might be time to call an exterminator. You can try to use foggers on your own, but it’s safest to let a professional take care of it.

Unfortunately, termites and carpenter ants don’t really care what state your basement is in. If there’s wood for them to burrow into and/or feed on, they will find their way there. If you have these pests, your only option is to call an exterminator.

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