Just because the crawl space of your Columbia, SC, home doesn’t see much human traffic doesn’t mean no creature traverses it. When you go to bed at night, pests and rodents come out to forage and breed. And sometimes they will get into your home.
Scratching sounds, pungent smells, tunnels and pest dropping are just some of the things you’ll experience. And they should alert you to the possibility you have uninvited guests. Unless you clean and seal the crawl space, pests will make it their second home.
What Can I Do to Protect My Crawl Space?
When it comes to protecting the crawl space, a lot of talk centers on encapsulation to keep moisture at bay and to make your home energy efficient. Controlling crawl space pests comes as an added benefit. That shouldn’t be the case, as pests and rodents threaten the crawl space pretty much like moisture.
If you have a crawl space, make sure it’s always clean. Clear our debris, rocks and any foreign objects. Any of these can create the perfect hideout for rats and mice. By removing them, you’ll deny pests a chance to hide and establish their presence.
Crawl spaces with dirt floors are instant magnets for rats and other rodents. Left as they are, such floors allow pests to create tunnels they can use to enter and exit your crawl space.
Set traps with baits at every access point to and from the crawl space. Check the traps once in a while and reset any that are tripped. On a good day, you should be able to catch a couple of rats. If you do it consistently, you’ll see the rat numbers falling.
Pests enter your crawl space because it’s warm and secondly, near a food source. Rats and mice will partake of whatever food is down there. With nourishment just a moment away, all they will do is eat and breed. You wouldn’t want them to do that, would you?
If the crawl space is vented, make sure that you seal the vents. Inspect it for cracks too, and seal them with spray foam insulation. A mouse only needs an opening that’s a quarter of an inch wide to squeeze through into your crawl space. Sealing holes, openings and cracks ensures they have no entry point.
Pests thrive in dirt and debris-filled spaces. Rocks and heaps of trash not only create a hideout but a place for them to breed. For this reason, clear out and clean the crawl space of dirt, damaged insulation and debris. Leave nothing that will give them the motivation to set up a colony inside the crawl space.
Aside from cleaning dirt and trash, clean out water from the crawl space. Stagnant pools of water make the atmosphere humid, and this attracts pests running from the dry air outside. Once you encapsulate this space, install a dehumidifier to bring moisture levels to 50% or thereabouts.
If you have a serious pest infestation, consider using pesticides to eradicate them. Laying traps helps, but it’s not as effective as rat poison. Mix some poison with the food that pests love, then place in or around their tunnels as well as nests.
Another useful step you can take is to clear out any bush near the crawl space that harbors pets. During summer and spring, there might be a lot of rat and mouse activity. So make sure you don’t create their second hideout by leaving shrubs and bushes to overgrow.
Dark conditions under the crawl space will also encourage pests to come in. Besides, you won’t be able to see the true condition of this space or clean it properly. Install lighting and you will be able to manage this space, carry out inspections, and take action whenever there’s an issue.
It’s not enough to clean, seal and dehumidify your crawl space. Ensure that you inspect this space and carry out routine maintenance. Fix cracks, seal openings and replace door seals. This way, you won’t wake up to surprises.
Not sure what step to take? Schedule a free crawl space inspection with a trusted local basement and crawl space contractor and get solid recommendations to protect your crawl space.