A dry, healthy home starts here.
Since the lion's share of pest problems in a home take place in the basement or crawl space, many of our experts also offer certified pest control services.
Pest control goes hand-in-hand with crawl space encapsulation, as most pest-infested crawl spaces are also moist, humid places.
There are few things more destructive to your home than a pest infestation! If allowed to live unchecked, animals and insects living in your home can mean thousands of dollars of damage -- and possible structural damage.
For example: one home in 30 is infested by termites annually. A colony of 60,000 workers can consume a 2"x4" piece of wood in about four months! If you have subterranean termites, a colony can live undetected in your home for 3-8 years or more!
Other pests can be carriers of rabies, salmonella, and a wide variety of other bacteria and viruses. And when mice and rats begin to gnaw on wires in your home, it becomes a serious safety and fire hazard!
As with many home issues, the best way to fix a problem is to prevent it from happening at all.
Sealing the crawl space will create a physical plastic barrier between the pests and your living space. Drying the space will eliminate the moisture that is so vital for their survival. The pests stay out, and your home is protected!
Our crawl space encapsulation system is a great way to create an inhospitable environment for pests -- as well as increased energy efficiency, and a healthier home environment.
We can install your system quickly -- often in less than a day! To schedule a free crawl space upgrade estimate and learn more about our warranted products and services, contact us by phone or e-mail today!
Even crawl space vents that are covered with a fine-mesh screen won't do much to stop termites, ants, and other insects from making your crawl space their home.
If you don't have a screen over the vents, remember that mice can enter through openings as small as a dime!
Sealing these vents will deter these pests and more, while maintaining a drier crawl space.
More about Venting Crawl Spaces
Crawl spaces are perfect environments for many types of pests! Once they're in the house, there's little stopping them from moving in upstairs as well.
Pests are attracted to crawl spaces for five reasons:
1. Readily Available Moisture: As hot, humid summer air enters into a crawl space through the vents, the space becomes filled with condensation and moisture. This moisture is life-giving for hundreds of varieties of pests!
2. An Abundant Food Source: Wet, rotting wood makes ideal food for termites, powderpost beetles, and many other pests. Once they move in, they become food for spiders and snakes.
3. Year-Round Warmth: A crawl space maintains 50F-60F temperatures year-round, making them perfect for invading pests to live a long, healthy life.
4. Shelter From Predators: Cats, raccoons, mice, and other stray animals take shelter in crawl spaces because they're dark, safe, and secluded.
5. Easy Access: Pests can access the crawl space through many different ways, including cracks in the walls, through vents, and up through the dirt floor. If you have soil or debris outside your home that reaches the structural wood of your home, this is also an easy access point.
Depending on your region and the condition of your crawl space, there are hundreds of possible creatures that could be infesting your crawl space. However, a handful of these invaders stand out for being especially damaging to your home.
Common types of damaging crawl space pests include the following:
In the United States, termites are responsible for approximately $30 billion dollars worth of termite damage each year.
They're able to consume hard-to-digest wood cellulose due to a symbiotic relationship they have with a bacteria residing within their gut. These creatures also able to eat many other organic materials, including wood, paper, books, drywall, leather, cellulose insulation, cardboard, and even animal fur!
The dark, moist environment of many crawl spaces, combined with any rotting wood present, provide termites with an ideal, habitable space.
Deter termites by sealing the crawl space, making sure there's a 6"-8" gap between the gradeline and slab, and by keeping the crawl space free of standing water and humidity.
Mice and rats begin to deal damage to your home quickly after entering the crawl space. These rodents invade food storage, chew wires (a common fire hazard), and create holes in building materials.
They're attracted to a crawl space by the year-round warm environment, the ready food source, and the readily available fiberglass insulation, which they use as nesting material.
The Pennsylvania State University reports that mice and rats are also the carriers of many different types of harmful bacteria and viruses, including salmonella, hantavirus, and rabies, as well as parasites such as mites, ticks, tapeworms, and ringworms.
With rodents, there's no such thing as "just one". A single female rat can have 10 litters of up to six to seven seven mice each year!
Carpenter ants are likely the largest species of ants you will find in your home, ranging from 1/4" to 3/8" in length. Their coloration ranges from black to reddish or yellowish, with large mandibles on workers.
Carpenter ant galleries are smooth, whereas termite galleries are rough in appearance. Winged carpenter ants can be most easily identified by their pinched-in abdomen -- winged termites have a uniformly shaped body. Winged carpenter ants will also have "elbowed" antennae (termite antennae are straight).
While carpenter ants nest in wood, they do not eat it, and will not usually destroy wood at the rate that termites do.
However, if they live in a home for an extended period of time, their habitation can lead to structural damage to a home.
The name "powderpost beetle" has been assigned to several species of wood-destroying beetles that infest dry, untreated wood. Identifying powderpost beetle damage causes more confusion than any other structure-infesting pest, and is often mistaken for damage from termites, carpenter ants, and longhorn beetles.
Powderpost beetle larvae will feed on the cellulose in wood. Larvae leave the wood through 1/8" holes bored through the surface. The newly emerged adults will immediately mate, laying eggs on or below the surface of the wood.
Feeding larvae reduce the wood to a fine powder (hence their name), and will cause extensive damage to wood surfaces over 1-5 years.
Human development and construction continues to encroach upon the natural habitats of many small animals, including opossums, skunks, raccoons, squirrels, and others. Stray cats will also often enter crawl spaces for shelter and to hunt mice.
These animals will live, breed, and die in your crawl space, and may create a nuisance or carry any number of diseases, including rabies. Dead animals can also result in significant odors, which then rise into the home.
Removal of these animals can be dangerous, and should only be conducted by a certified professional. Most specialists are able to make humane removal and relocation services available to the homeowners, when permitted by local laws and ordinances.
Carpenter bees are members of more than 500 species that are located all over the world. The name comes from the fact that they tend to burrow in dead wood and structural wood -- including in your crawl space.
While carpenter bees bore into wood to make their nests, they do not eat the wood, and their nests do not tend to be large.
Other species of wasps, hornets, bees, and other species may also find the crawl space a welcome environment in which to nest. Their nests will tend to be larger, but do not typically mean structural damage.
Indeed, the primary threats caused by these kinds of infestations are the nuisance their presence creates, and the danger presented to individuals who are allergic.
When present in small numbers, spiders and snakes in a crawl space can be beneficial, as they will eliminate a good portion of insects, rodents, and other unwanted guests in your crawl space.
However, when too many spiders are present in a home, or species of snakes or spiders are found to be poisonous or deadly, then removal of the threat will be necessary.
Escaped exotic pet species have also been found in crawl spaces -- some of which may be deadly. A professional should be called in to manage any widespread infestation and to deal with unidentifiable species.
It's also worth noting that the presence of these predators in large numbers is an indication of a food source -- and an infestation of one or more other pest species in your home.
Most species of crickets prefer to live outdoors, but when the outdoor provides unfavorable conditions such as excess heat, cold, or rainfall, they can sometimes invade the home in large numbers, preferring to make basements and crawl spaces their homes.
Depending on the species, crickets can eat a wide variety of materials in your home, including paper, dirt, wood, silk, wool, fur, fruit, vegetables, and other organic materials. House crickets have even been known to eat rubber!
The presence and noise of crickets can be a constant source of irritation and convenience for a homeowner.
In the case of the camel cricket, homeowners often react with alarm when seeing them, mistaking them for spiders. Crickets are easily and permanent removed by pest removal professionals.
When in a crawl space, moles are generally harmless animals that feed on earthworms, invertebrates, and nuts. When found in crawl spaces, they're commonly mistaken as mice or rats. When living in a yard or garden, however, moles are sometimes considered pests.
Moles can tunnel up to 100 feet per day, and are responsible for damaging young plants by disturbing the soil, raising molehills in lawns, and undermining plant roots, which can sometimes lead to their death.
Weasels and voles will sometimes use mole tunnels to access these roots to use as a food source.
Moles can be eliminated from crawl spaces easily. Problems with moles are usually managed in conjunction with a more serious pest issue, such as an infestation of rodents, termites, or carpenter ants.
It's easy to overlook the microscopic dust mite when considering the pests living in your crawl space.
But with dust mite waste 15 potent allergens and composing 80%-90% of the allergenic component of house dust, these small critters can mean big trouble!
Dust mites are tiny arachnids that feed primarily on human and animal dander and prefer warm, humid environments -- such as the ones found in crawl spaces.
One human being sheds enough skin daily to feed roughly one million dust mites -- each of which will defecate about 20 times daily.
Females will also lay 2-3 eggs per day, living between 30 and 100 days.
Learn more about Dust Mites
A damp, warm crawl space will become the home for countless other pests! In time, your crawl space will support an ecosystem all of its own.
There are several short-term and long-term solutions for eliminating crawl space pests. We recommend using a short-term solution to kill the immediate infestation. Once that's gone, a long-term option is a good idea to deter future pest infestations and to best preserve your home's condition, value, and overall healthiness.
Common crawl space pest control methods include the following:
Applying pesticides and biocides provides immediate results in killing existing pests within the crawl space. However, this solution is temporary only, and will not provide a pest-free home for long unless continually reapplied to your home.
Pesticides and biocides application is often limited by obstacles around the home (decks, bushes, patios, etc). These obstacles can make creating a consistent barrier around your home difficult or impossible. It's also worthwhile to note that animals that enter the home directly through the floor from underground, such as beetles and termites, may not be affected.
Depending on the product, repeated applications may also lead to potentially significant health consequences.
Pests will often enter the crawl space through cracks in the walls or through gaps around non-airtight crawl space doors. Their favorite entryway point, however, is through crawl space vents.
Our contractors can install crawl space vent covers and airtight doors, blocking passage into the crawl space. All wall and floor surfaces are then covered with a thick, durable 20-mil liner that deters pests, while holding back moisture and humidity entering through walls and floors.
If your crawl space is experiencing flooding, we'll install a perimeter drain system and sump pump as well. A layer of drainage matting will be installed on the floor to direct water to the sump pump system and prevent it from collecting under the liner.
When it comes to pest infestations in a crawl space, moisture and damp wood are critical factors. Eliminate the source of water in the crawl space, and it becomes impossible for many types of pests to survive.
Termites, carpenter ants, dust mites, cockroaches, crickets, and countless other pests aren't likely to enter the space at all if it's dry and well-maintained.
Once your crawl space is sealed, and sources of standing water are eliminated, you've made great strides to accomplish this. Finish off the problem for good by installing a crawl space dehumidifier. We recommend one that's powerful, energy efficient, and self draining -- so you don't have endless collection trays to empty.
At Basement Systems, our worldwide network consists of more than 300 basement and crawl space experts serving throughout Canada and the United States. Our warranted systems can help you transform a damp, rotting crawl space into a dry, clean, and energy efficient part of your home.
It costs you nothing to meet with an expert from your local dealership! To sign up for a free crawl space upgrade estimate, contact us by phone or e-mail today!
Your free estimate includes a professional on-site inspection and measurement of your crawl space and a consultation, where we answer any questions you may have. We'll work with you to customize a system that meets everything you'd like us to do (waterproofing, encapsulation, insulation, etc), and provide you with a written cost estimate.
As an added courtesy, we like to send along a full-color copy of our crawl space book before each scheduled visit. This informative book is full of pictures and information about crawl space building science, as well as the highlights of our products and services.
Our innovative and forward-thinking approach to designing products has solved wet basement problems that the basement waterproofing and crawl space industry has faced for decades, and our patented sump pump systems are the smartest and most reliable. Plus we listen to our customers and respond accordingly! Basement Systems Inc. has been awarded 24 Patents and 19 Innovation Prizes on waterproofing products we use every day, including a battery back up sump pump system. This approach ensures the best waterproofing systems and solutions available.