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Crawl Space Pests

Pests of all kinds are drawn to your humid, vented dirt crawl space. Learn more about why and what you can do to help deter them from your home.

There is a dead bug in the crawlspace.

Your Home Could Have a Pest Problem

In most homes, it’s quite common to see a bug or two scurry across the floor. It doesn’t necessarily mean your home is filthy, but there could also be more going on than you realize. 

This is especially true if your home was built on top of a crawl space. Most crawl spaces are constructed with open vents and exposed dirt floors. These features are essentially welcome signs for bugs and other pests who will eagerly invade your crawl space. 

Before you tackle these pest problems, it’s important to know why they are happening so you can approach them the right way. Here’s what you should know about pest infestations and how to manage them in your crawl space. 

Why Pests Love Your Crawl Space

Insects and other pests are drawn to your crawl space because of its darkness, seclusion, humidity, and organic materials that provide sources of food and nesting material. Here’s a closer look at why your crawl space is pests’ ideal place to call home.

Easy Access

While building codes have long called for crawl space vents intended to increase airflow and mitigate moisture, they perpetuate these issues instead. They also allow bugs, small animals, and other pests inside your crawl space. Any crawl space wall cracks can let them in, and they can burrow through the exposed dirt floor, as well. 

Protection from the Elements

Insects, rodents, and other pests want somewhere to hide out when the weather is bad. Your crawl space provides the perfect refuge during hot summers, chilly winters, and rainy or snowy days.

Food Sources

Many nuisances, including termites, mice, and other wood-loving pests, enjoy feasting on the wooden supports within your crawl space. The problem is that the more they eat and destroy this wood, the more structurally unstable your home will become.  

Wooden beams and floor joists can suffer from termite infestations and other pest activities that they will begin to buckle. This leads to sagging floors and other dangerous problems.

Nesting and Breeding Sources

Insulation is widely used throughout homes, particularly soft fiberglass insulation. But this type of insulation material does not belong in a crawl space if you want it to be effective.  

Fiberglass insulation can easily succumb to moisture and foster mold growth. Rodents and other bugs will be drawn to its fluffy nature, and they can easily nest and breed in the material. 

How Pest Presence Impacts Your Home

Much like the stack effect impacts the air quality throughout your house, pests won’t always necessarily be confided to the crawl space beneath your feet. The bacteria from any waste or carcasses left in the crawl space also can become airborne and present toxic health hazards to you and your family. 

If pests run out of a food source, they will find their way into your main living area in search of sustenance. They might also find a dark corner and breed there, as well. 

Additionally, termites might not stop at the wood in your crawl space. They can begin attacking wood throughout the rest of your house and create further damage.

How to Effectively Handle Pest Prevention

If you have an active infestation, the first thing on your list should be contacting an exterminator. This specialist will remove the existing insects, vermin, and other nuisances. They may even set up traps and other measures. 

But removing what pests are in your crawl space now won’t always prevent more from infesting your home in the future. 

The answer is fully encapsulating and sealing your crawl space from the outside environment and controlling the humidity. These steps will make your crawl space less attractive to pests and less likely for an infestation to take hold. 

An encapsulation involves the installation of the following solutions: 

  • Waterproofing measures (interior drains and a sump pump) 
  • Thermal insulation 
  • Sealing open vents 
  • Vapor barrier 
  • Dehumidifier 

Here’s how they work. 

For a leaking crawl space, interior drainage collects the seeping water and directs it to a sump pump. The sump pump then removes the water from the crawl space and drains it away from the home. This will remove any water sources for pests, as well as water that can contribute to humidity within the crawl space. 

Instead of soft fiberglass insulation, closed cell foam insulation panels are placed on the crawl space walls. These panels are manufactured with a built-in termiticide, and when professionally installed, crews leave an inspection gap that makes exterminators’ inspections easier. 

Any open vents are then sealed from inside the crawl space. The same insulation panel material is cut into blocks to fit the vent and then adhered and sealed. Exterior vent covers also can be installed upon your request. 

Full encapsulated crawl space with duct work

A thick and durable vapor barrier is then placed on the floor and walls to encapsulate the crawl space and isolate it from the earth. 

Each of these solutions helps reduce moisture intrusion, but humidity is further curbed by an energy-efficient dehumidifier. This unit is a complete air system that not only controls humidity, but also cleans and filters the air and reduces odors and the potential for mold growth. 

Additionally, if termites and other pests have impacted your supports, crawl space support jacks help stabilize the floor and floor joists and can help lift them back to normal. 

Solutions that fit into your life

FAQs About Insect Prevention in Your Home

When you first notice that you have bugs in your crawl space, your first instinct might be to get an exterminator. However, a crawl space repair expert can also help with bugs in a crawl space. Which one is right to get?

  • Solutions That Require Both an Exterminator and a Repair Expert

In many situations, you may need both an exterminator and a crawl space repair expert to remove bugs for good from your home. This situation may require that you get an exterminator to kill the current bugs, then a crawl space repair expert to make sure the bug problem doesn’t come back again by installing encapsulation, sealants, or machines that can help limit the amount of moisture in the area.

This tandem option is often the only effective one. If you’re seeing a problem with bugs in your crawl space, this should probably be the first thing you consider. It’s unfortunately common to require both an exterminator and a repair expert if you’re looking for a long-term fix.

  • Talking to an Expert First 

It’s common to require both an exterminator and a repair expert, especially if your bug problem is pretty bad. However, the individual fix you might need for your crawl space and bug problems will vary, so you need to talk to a Groundworks expert before you make your choice.

Remember, different homes and different infestations will require different approaches. A problem with mosquitos, for example, will typically require different measures to remove attractants and keep the bugs out than with ants. Mosquitos tend to indicate concerns with crawl space moisture, whereas other pests might just indicate overarching crawl space encapsulation needs.

Insects can get into the crawl space and come up to the rest of your home very easily through just about any opening in the crawl space. There are many different entry options that insects and other pests can take advantage of, which is why it’s so important to avoid having insects in your crawl space at all.

  • Cracks in the Wall and Floor and Pipes to the Outside

An insect may be able to find a crack in the wall or floor that you wouldn’t be able to see during an inspection. Even if you don’t personally note any cracks in your walls or floors, don’t assume that you’re safe if you end up with bugs in your crawl space.

Another common concern with crawl space bugs is the concern of pipes. A bug may be able to come up through the pipes if you have pipes in your crawl space, whether because of deteriorating pipes or because of an opening where the pipe comes up into the home. Either way, you might need an expert to help you find and fix the problem.

  • Crawl Space Doors 

If your crawl space has an internal door that enters into the rest of the home, you might have bugs that come up through these crawl space doors. You must have a tight seal around these crawl space doors if you want to make sure that nothing comes up through these doors from the area.

Crawl space doors can have low-quality seals for a variety of reasons. However, regardless of the reason for the low-quality seal, you need to make sure you fix it. Getting help from an expert to install the crawl space doors initially and maintain the doors in future years is one of the best things you can do to maximize your crawl space health.

Home repair is a complicated concept at the best of times, and there’s no one single home repair process that will completely get rid of an insect problem. However, if you invest money and time into home repair in a variety of areas, you may see a benefit with your insect problem. 

  • General Structural Security

In general, structural security is an important element of avoiding insects. You need to make sure your home is structurally secure in every way, or you’re never going to end up with a completely adequate answer to your insect problems. Insects can easily come in through the outside, and you need to avoid that at all costs.

For example, if you have a sunken floor, you’re also typically going to end up with gaps between the wall and the floor. That gap can end up introducing an opening for pests, especially if it’s in an external wall. Fixing those problems, which may require crawl space jacks among other things, can be an incredibly helpful way to reduce pest problems.

  • Fixing Other Home Openings

Although your crawl space is a haven for insects and other pests, it’s by no means the only way these pests can get in. Other openings, including open crawl space vents, cracks in the walls, and unsealed windows, can all allow insects to get into your home from the outside.

The biggest thing to remember is that it’s very common for homeowners to not even know that these openings exist. Many homeowners don’t know that there are wall cracks big enough for pests to get through. In these cases, an expert inspection will be the best option, as a professional will be able to keep an eye out for all openings, even very small ones.

Are you worried about an insect problem in your crawl space? You’re not alone. Plenty of homeowners worry about insects invading their crawl space. Here are a few things to consider regarding a crawl space insect problem. 

  • Many Potential Problems

There are many potential insect problems out there that your crawl space can contribute to. It’s not about removing one specific insect infestation; it’s about removing the access for insects to your crawl space. If you can remove access entirely, you’ll remove the source of the problem.

If you want to make sure your crawl space isn’t going to experience an infestation of pests and insects in a general sense, you need to consider the fact that insect problems can occur just about anywhere in your home. Avoid insect infestations anywhere in your home for the best results.

  • Talk to an Expert

Overall, removing insects in your crawl space is a pretty sprawling project. You shouldn’t try to do it on your own. It’s going to be much more difficult than you think it’s going to be. Trying to fix the problem on your own can lead to further damage, including issues with your home’s structural integrity if you let the problem continue for long enough.

Your best bet is to talk to a crawl space repair expert from Groundworks to learn more about how you can fix these problems. There are many potential fixes, but only an expert will be able to assess your home and figure out which one will work best for you. A complete fix is the only fix you should consider; don’t settle for anything less.

Make Informed Decisions About Your Home’s Pest Problem

Insect problems can feel overwhelming, but they’re in no way something you just have to live with. You need the right tools of the trade to maintain your home’s avoidance of insect problems. Whether you have them right now or you’re looking to avoid them in the future, crawl space fixes can sometimes be beneficial for your insect problems.

You must get an expert’s help when you’re trying to avoid insect problems. A Groundworks crawl space repair expert can look through your crawl space, identify the current potential problems, and give you more information on how you can avoid insect problems both now and in the future, making your crawl space and your home healthier.

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