Problems with Pests are Common Crawl Space Issues
Spiders, ants, termites, and other crawling insects can strike fear into the heart of many homeowners. Not only are they unpleasant to see, but it can be unnerving knowing you also share your home with these creatures.
It doesn’t take much for bugs and other pests to find their way inside and wreak havoc on your home. Even the slightest crack can draw these unwanted guests inside.
The biggest culprit allowing insects into your home is your crawl space. Many crawl spaces are vented, which is an outdated and harmful building practice. That is because instead of “drying” crawl space air as was their original intention, open vents let moist or cold outside air into your crawl space, as well as water, debris, bugs, and other pests.
Moisture Matters in Pest Hideouts and Failing Supports
There’s nothing bugs and rodents love more than a damp, dark crawl space in which to hide out and breed. Mold grows best in these conditions on organic materials including insulation. Wet, soft, moldy fiberglass insulation provides bugs a great home.
Pests feed on the mold, and this draws rodents that feast on the pests. This can turn into a vicious cycle of pest and rodent intrusion and breeding that will only get worse if there is a way in and a food source.
Excessive moisture and humidity also can lead to the destruction of wooden support systems. Floors, floor joists, and support beams that are exposed to wet and humid conditions for long enough can begin to warp, rot, sag, and possibly collapse.
Other problems attacking the structural stability of the wood include wood rot, mold, fungus, dry rot, and termites. Termites also love moist environments, and they can tunnel through various materials to get to wood that they’ll devour and decompose. This also greatly impacts the integrity of any structural supports in the crawl space.
Helpful Crawl Space Tips
How can you keep insects and pests out of your crawl space to prevent the cycle of infestation, unhealthy conditions and destruction? Here are some ways you can nip these problems in the bud.
- Keep Food Away
If you use your crawl space as a storage area, including for food, you can expect mice, rats, and cockroaches to find and devour it. It’s best to keep the crawl space clear of all food so you don’t give pests the motivation to come in.
- Thorough Cleaning
A dirty and debris-filled crawl space is the perfect environment for pests to hide and breed. When you get into the crawl space, clear out all the debris, damaged insulation, and old personal items you no longer use to lessen the chance pests to multiply and infest the area.
- Pesticide Application
One course of action to eradicate pests that have overrun your crawl space is to use pesticides. Apply the pesticides on tunnels, routes, and any organic material that pests are likely to chew. Better still, use food baits. Do it consistently and within a short time and the pest menace will be no more.
- Use Traps
Go to your local hardware store and get a couple of mouse traps, then set them right on the tracks or tunnels or where pests enter or exit the crawl space. On a good day, you can catch more than half a dozen. You can use food as bait.
- Seal Openings, Gaps, and Cracks
A mouse only needs a gap that’s roughly a quarter of an inch wide to enter your crawl space. Vents, loose seals and cracks are all avenues that pests and insects can use. Inspect your crawl space and find out where the holes are, then seal them completely. If you notice large cracks and other signs of foundation problems, reach out to the experts at JES for a thorough evaluation and repair options.
Once you’ve had your crawl space treated for pests, here’s how we can help:
Pests are drawn to leaking or standing water in your crawl space, so the first thing to think about is denying them this source. No matter how the water got into your crawl space, you need to remove it with trusted waterproofing solutions. Our CrawlDrain™ perimeter drainage system is the answer to collecting this water and directing it to a sump pump system. From there, the water will then be pumped out of the crawl space and away from your home.
Vent Covers and Doors
Now that you’re denying pests an essential piece of sustenance, you need to seal off the area. Use vent covers to conceal open crawl space vents and replace older, ineffective doors and entryways with more reliable pieces. JES experts can easily these durable vent covers and doors during your crawl space repair project. These solutions are airtight, resist moisture, and will not rot, warp, or crack.
Once you’ve sealed off the crawl space from outside air, water and pests, the next step is fully isolating the crawl space from the earth with a CrawlSeal™ encapsulation. CrawlSeal™ is a thick and durable 20-mil vapor and moisture barrier that not only improves the health of the crawl space, but its appearance and function, as well. This material brightens the crawl space, and it is tough enough to crawl on, making the crawl space safe and ideal for storage.
Along with sealing off the crawl space with encapsulation and vent covers, your crawl space also needs to be properly insulated. There are various kinds of insulation used in crawl spaces and throughout the home, but soft fiberglass is the most-used kind. While it is the most common, fiberglass can easily fail in moist crawl spaces. Mold can easily grow on and inside its surface, and insects also love this material in these conditions.
What bugs will not like is our ExTremeBloc™ insulation. These rigid panels that are fastened to crawl spaces walls are treated to deter insects and termites so they cannot chew or tunnel through the material. But when these special insulation panels and our encapsulation system is installed, our team makes sure termite specialists can still access areas they need to for their inspection.
All these solutions are designed to work together to best protect your crawl space and home, and another important piece of the puzzle is controlling the moisture and humidity in the crawl space. Even after encapsulating and sealing the crawl space off, it’s important to condition the air. Our powerful, energy-efficient dehumidifier not only cleans and filters the air in the crawl space, but it also reduces odors, lessens the potential for mold growth, and improves the overall air quality throughout the home.
Protect your home from mold, fungi, wood-destroying pests, rodents, and other nuisances by scheduling a free inspection and estimate with one of our professional crawl space moisture management experts.
Learn more by downloading the Free Homeowner’s Guide to Crawl Space Repair below, and contacting JES for an expert assessment.