How to Keep Your Crawl Space Pest Free

By Dean Drummond

Most homeowners will agree that a pest infestation can be one of the most damaging, costly problems your home can face. Invasive pests and animals will often take up residence in your house if the conditions are right for feeding and/or nesting. One of the most commonly infested areas of the home is the crawl space, or subfloor.

Luckily for homeowners, pest control for your home's crawl space is as simple as keeping the area clean, maintaining a tidy yard, securing entrances and controlling moisture. The following is a brief synopsis of the most common types of crawl space pests, how to prevent them from moving in, and what to do if you already have an infestation.

Types of pests

The first step in pest prevention is knowing the most common types of pests and what types of conditions attract them.

Wood Destroying Organisms (WDOs): WDOs are some of the most common and destructive pests that can get into your home. Types of WDOs include termites, moisture ants and carpenter ants. These pests can destroy your home from the inside out, consuming wood and materials inside your home's walls. Because these pests are so small, they are often difficult to notice until they have caused major damage.

Rats/Mice/Moles: Small rodents are attracted to areas that provide them with food, shelter and a place to breed. Walls and crawl spaces provide exactly those things. Like WDOs, rats, mice and moles can gnaw and chew away structurally necessary parts of your home, like beams and walls. They are also unsanitary and unpleasant to have around.

Raccoons/Possums: These pests are less likely to take up residence in your house, but if they do they can be a pain to get rid of. Raccoons and possums can be aggressive, attacking household pets, and they can also carry nasty diseases like rabies. Keeping a clean crawl space with few entranceways is the best pest prevention tactic for raccoons and possums.

Snakes: It's obvious why you wouldn't want an infestation of snakes in your crawl space -- they're creepy, they can clog drains and some of them are poisonous. Snakes are attracted to crawl spaces with lots of standing water, so keeping your subfloor clean is important.

Ways to get rid of existing pests

The best way to get rid of household pests is to call a professional pest control service. Many do-it-yourself attempts don't wipe out the entire pest population, which can cause the pests to return -- sometimes even worse than before. Also, some pest control methods can be harmful to humans or pets. Look for pest control service that offers crawl space restoration and can offer a holistic approach to pest control.

Other pest prevention tactics

The best way to avoid the hassle of trying to get rid of a pest infestation is to take steps to prevent one from happening in the first place. Proactive pest prevention is also one of the most important elements of green pest control. Here are the four best ways to keep pests from shacking up in your crawl space:

Clean. Keeping a clean house and crawl space is very important. Pests are attracted to food and shelter, so it makes sense that they would be attracted to a house with lots of garbage or junk left out. Don't worry -- you don't need to keep you crawl space spotless. Simply make sure there isn't anywhere for pests to camp out, such as piles of old clothes or bags of trash.

Maintain your yard. Most pests will move into your home only after setting up shop somewhere in your yard. Move piles of wood, bricks, stones and leaves away from the house; trim bushes and trees; cover hot tubs or pools; and get rid of dead wood. This will reduce the number of places pests will be able to live in.

Secure entrances. Leaving your crawl space open is a surefire way to attract pests, especially rodents and small mammals. Putting up barriers at the entrances to your crawl space will prevent these pests from becoming squatters.

Control moisture. This is a big part of pest prevention. Moisture, especially standing water, attracts all sorts of pests and can also damage your home's foundation. Make sure you repair pipe damage in a timely manner, keep the crawl space well ventilated, replace old weather stripping and clear up clogged gutters around or on your property.


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