7 Tips to Take Your Basement Back from Invasive Pests
Aside from the kitchen, basements are one of the highest-risk areas for infestation in your home. Due to the dark, moist, and undisturbed nature of most basements, pests can survive and thrive no matter how harsh the weather is outside. Even when food is scarce, pests will nest there for shelter and travel throughout the home to find something to feed on.
The good news is that with simple preventative measures in place, you can keep invasive insects and rodents outside, where they belong. Following are seven tips to take your basement back from invasive pests and prevent them from returning in the future.
Seal Cracks in Foundation
One of the key reasons basements get infested is because there is plenty of easy access from the outside world. Upon finding cracks in their living room, kitchen, or bedroom walls, homeowners attempt to fix them right away, as they are unsightly and can affect the internal temperature of their home. The ones that go unnoticed are cracks that form in the foundation, since they rarely frequent these areas of their home. When these cracks arise, not only will they allow easy access for pests, but they can compromise the structural damage of the home and increase the risk of water damage.
In order to prevent pests from infiltrating your basement, make sure to seal, block, or cover any cracks or holes in your foundation. The best way to find possible entry points is to turn off your lights and check for any daylight that finds its way in. Use caulk to seal any small cracks and preventative barriers for larger holes you can’t fill in.
Don’t Store Food in Basement
When people run out of storage in their kitchen, the next place they usually store their food is in the basement. Although placing food in the freezer won’t lure pests into your home, items stored in the downstairs pantry are a different story. This is due to the fact that most people don’t frequent their basements, making food stored there an easy and unprotected target for invasive pests.
If at all possible, avoid storing food that can easily be accessed by insects and rodents in the basement. If you can’t avoid it, make sure you use containers that prevent insects from entering or chewing through and finding their next meal.
Use a Dehumidifier
Now that you have covered two of the three things invasive pests look for in a new home, namely shelter and food, you must eliminate their final basic necessity: water. The elimination of moisture from your home is key in preventing insects from infesting your basement. If you notice an increase in insects when moisture levels rise in your home, use a dehumidifier to level the playing field in your war against pests. This will make your basement much less suitable for invasive insects and rodents and will help prevent life-giving water from pooling.
Keep Firewood Outdoors
Termites are one of the most destructive pests that can infest your home, and they’re one of the hardest to detect as well. In no time at all, they can chew through your home’s wood foundation and compromise its structural stability. If you keep firewood in your basement, you may be drawing in unwanted guests looking to destroy your home. Keep all firewood outside and at least 20 feet from the walls of your home to prevent termites and other wood-loving pests from entering your basement.
Nothing helps hide an infestation more than a dirty home. When it comes to people’s basements, they are usually the most cluttered rooms of all. With so many places to hide, it’s no wonder why pests love to call it home. Make sure to declutter your basement on a regular basis to eliminate easy hiding places for insects and rodents. Also, take the time to look for any signs of an infestation while you’re cleaning and make sure you’re keeping pests out.
No matter how much you clean and seal your basement, if your vents aren’t protected, you might as well be asking for pests to invade your home. The dryer vent is one of the biggest culprits that, in lack of a proper screen covering, can be an easy access point for intruders. The same goes for any other vents that lead to the outside, as well as for cracks and crevices in walls. If you notice cobwebs forming near vents leading to your basement, chances are spiders and other bugs are using it as an access point to your home.
Contact a Professional
If the aforementioned home remedies don’t do the trick, don’t hesitate to contact an exterminator for assistance. Your local pest management professional will be able to find all access points to your basement used by rodents and bugs and provide you the necessary tools to keep them out. Once all pests are eliminated, the exterminator will also be able to give you advice on how to prevent future infestations from occurring and reveal the problem areas of your home that might be drawing pests indoors.
Keeping a pest-free basement doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply taking the time to check for the presence of insects and rodents can do a great deal in keeping them out. If you begin to notice pests infesting certain areas of your basement during specific times of the year, look for what might be drawing them to the area. Simple acts like cleaning up a small pool of water near a washing machine can be enough to drive away most pests, and you won’t have to break the bank with big repairs to do so.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.