Crawl Space Pests – Know What Attracts Them and How to Keep Them Out

Monday, February 24th, 2020


For a long time, we’ve been encouraging homeowners with crawl spaces in Winston-Salem, NC, to use plastic encapsulation to lock out moisture, prevent mold growth and slash energy bills. But that’s not the only concern. Pests and rodents threaten the below-ground area under your home. Knowing how potent they are, you wouldn’t want them to establish a presence.   

Cleaning can help stop crawl space pests from infesting or gaining a foothold of your Winston-Salem home. But before that, let’s look at what draws pests in.

clean pests from a crawl space

What attracts pests to crawl spaces?

Generally, pests are drawn to your crawl space for a number of reasons. The first is the existing humid conditions. Hot and humid summer air from the outside enters this space and creates the perfect conditions for them to breed.

The other reason is the abundance of food. Rotting wood, beetles and crawling insects make a delicious menu for many pests. When they move in, they will have more than enough to eat. And they won’t have to scrounge to get their daily bread.

Another thing is the warm conditions that exist. Temperatures here average from 50°F-60°F throughout the year, making it a paradise for nocturnal pests looking for a place they can call home. Also, this place is often secluded and dark. Rats, mice, and raccoons can take shelter here without worrying that anyone will bother them.

Lastly, the crawl space is a place pests can access easily and via different ways including vents, foundation cracks, joists that reach the soil, or through tunnels on the dirt floor.

Controlling crawl space rodents

Once you notice pest activity, it’s important that you take appropriate action to curb their spread. Here are some effective ways to deal with the pest menace.

Apply biocides and pesticides

If you want to eliminate pests that play hide and seek with you, lace their favorite food with pesticides. Results are almost instant. However, you will have to keep reapplying the poison until you’re sure the crawl space is free of pests. You can source a bottle of pesticide from the local agrochemical store for a couple of bucks.

Seal the crawl space

Of all the measures you’re going to take to protect your crawl space, none is as important as encapsulation. Basically, this involves laying a plastic vapor barrier wall to wall and across the floor and taping it down with a sealing tape. We recommend a 20-mil plastic barrier as it’s tear-proof and effective in keeping moisture out.

Seal gaps, cracks, openings

Rats and mice are likely to access the crawl space through minute cracks or gaps around crawl space doors. However, their most common point of entry is vents. Install vent covers and airtight doors in your crawl space and ask your local basement and crawl space contractor to fill up cracks.

Dehumidify the crawl space

Encapsulating the crawl space alone won’t bring down moisture levels. You have to install a dehumidifier to regulate the moisture content in this space. Ideally, it should be in the range of 45-50%. Otherwise, rats and mice will want to come in to escape the dry air outside.

Set mouse traps

When pests start playing hide and seek, go all out and catch them wherever there are. Set traps with baits, small portions of food, and leave them on their tracks or near their tunnels. You can get good traps for a couple of dollars from your local hardware store.

Clear out and clean the crawl space

If there’s a serious pest infestation, you have to clear out everything in the crawl space. Debris, branches, twigs, rocks, and leaves that have collected in there have to go. When you’re through, all the rats and mice that used to trouble you won’t have anywhere to hide.

Store food away

One reason why pests crawl into this space is they can smell food. Ensure that you store food in the kitchen and pantry. Don’t bring any food item to the crawl space or store it there.

If you truly care about what happens in the crawl space of your Winston-Salem, NC, home, you wouldn’t allow pests to come in and colonize it. Schedule a free crawl space inspection and find out what ails your crawl space today!