A lot of homeowners do their best to protect their foundation and ensure its health. After all, their homes are probably their largest investments and the foundation is the structural element responsible for their stability. However, this is not an easy task, especially because crawl spaces are prone to moisture. Not only that, but that same moisture attracts various pests that present a whole new problem. Having your crawl space invaded by pests is no picnic, and getting rid of them can be daunting. This is why it is always better to do everything in your power to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Knowing what attracts them can help you plan a clever strategy. Whether you want to keep pests from invading your home or find a way to get rid of those that are already in your crawl space, read the following.
What Attracts Pests to Crawl Spaces?
As mentioned, moisture in the crawl space is one of the biggest reasons why pests would target your foundation. Pests thrive in humid and dark conditions, so your moist crawl space creates the perfect conditions for them to breed. Another reason why pests would inhabit the space underneath your home is the variety of food. Rotting wood, as well as various insects, present a great menu for many pests. Since all the food they need to survive is right there in your crawl space, they have no reason to leave.
Comfortable temperatures in the crawl space are also a reason why pests are attracted to this area. Here, temperatures vary from only 50°F to 60°F throughout the year, making your foundation a haven for nocturnal pests. Since crawl spaces are secluded and dark, mice and rats can build their nests there without worrying that someone will disturb them.
Finally, if your crawl space is not protected in any way, pests won’t have any problem entering it. They can access it via vents, foundation cracks, and joints, or through tunnels on the dirt floor.
Controlling Crawl Space Rodents
If you have noticed that pests have inhabited your crawl space, you need to take action as soon as possible. Here are several ways you can drastically reduce pest activity in your crawl space.
Use Biocides and Pesticides
If instead of catching and releasing them someplace else you wish to eliminate pests for good, you can hire an exterminator who will poison them with pesticides added to food. If you are against pesticides, mouse traps are your other option. An exterminator can set traps with bait in the form of food near pest nests, tunnels, and holes.
Seal the Crawl Space
Although using pesticides give instant results, they will not be permanent. Your crawl space could still be exposed to new pest invasions. That is why encapsulation is so important. By laying a plastic vapor barrier from wall to wall and taping it down, you can make it difficult for pests to enter your crawl space. Such a project should be handled by a professional. They will easily install a 20-mil plastic barrier that is tear-proof and can keep moisture out.
Seal Gaps, Cracks, and Openings
Rodents such as mice need only an opening the size of a quarter to squeeze into your crawl space, nest there, and cause damage. To prevent them from entering, sealing the vents is a step in the right direction. During the 1950s it was thought that vents lowered the chances of mold growth, so every home with a crawl space needed to have them. However, in time it has been proven that they do more damage than good. By hiring a crawl space expert to seal the vents, you will not only keep the pests out but also lower the humidity levels in your crawl space. Apart from sealing the vents, our specialists can also fill up any cracks to keep pests from entering.
Dehumidify the Crawl Space
While encapsulating the crawl space is a way to protect your home against moisture, it won’t keep moisture levels under control on its own. With a dehumidifier, you will be able to regulate the moisture content in this space. However, make sure you get one with enough power. Those sold in local stores are usually not strong enough. Ask your local crawl space repair experts about a dehumidifier that will keep the humidity levels in the range of 45% to 50%. These levels make your crawl space less attractive to rats and mice since they like more humid places.
Clear Out and Clean the Crawl Space
If your foundation is crawling with pests and they always find a way to hide, you will need to ensure that this area is thoroughly cleaned. Hire an expert who will get rid of debris, twigs, rocks, and anything else that is down there so that the rats and mice have nowhere to hide anymore.
Store Food Away
Some homeowners use crawl space as storage. It is not a problem when they store tools and other objects, but storing food that attracts various pests is. If you don’t want to deal with a pest invasion, make sure you keep your food in the kitchen and your pantry, not in your crawl space.
Make sure that everything is in order with your crawl space by scheduling a free inspection and quote with one of Tar Heel Basement Systems’ specialists. They will assess the situation and recommend suitable solutions for your problem.