Goodbye Basement PestsMissy Henriksen
- National Pest Management Association
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Before I became part of the pest management industry, I
associated the sound of crickets in my basement with the arrival
of fall. That distinct sound male crickets make when they rub their
wings together (stridulation) would regularly greet me right about
the same time as the neighborhood leaf blowers. Both were annoying.
But now, it’s really just the leaf blowers that have me running for
the earplugs as crickets no longer seem to be an issue.
My secret solution? A dehumidifier. Ever since we installed a
dehumidifier that runs 24/7, crickets and other small insects have
disappeared out of our basement – and out of our lives. Thankfully,
even the frightening jumping crickets (Camelbacks) have vanished
from the laundry room, forcing me to identify another acceptable
reason to procrastinate on the wash.
I have mentioned before, pests need three things for their
survival: water, shelter and food. The elimination of water and moisture is
paramount in making your home inhospitable to creepy crawlies. In
fact, by simply eliminating – or even reducing – wetness in your
basement or crawlspace – you can greatly diminish the likelihood of
infestations of a myriad of pests including sowbugs, pillbugs, cockroaches, silverfish, centipedes, millipedes, and crickets.
In addition to installing a dehumidifier if there’s evidence of
any moisture, make a point when pest proofing your basement to
check for and fix any leaky water pipes under utility or bathroom
sinks; ensure sump pumps and heat pumps aren’t leaking, and be sure
the washing machine lines are intact. Of course, other parts of the
house should be water-free as well but basements and crawlspaces
are particularly vulnerable at this time of year as temperatures
Many of my fellow East Coasters who have recently experienced
flooding from Hurricane Sandy need to ensure their homes are
properly dried. Otherwise, not only will the pests mentioned above
be problematic, but damp wood is especially attractive to termites. With the
extensive damage they can cause, it’s essential to take
preventative steps now to protect against them.
Of course, moisture elimination is only part of the
pest-proofing equation. It’s also important to remove offerings of
shelter that may be lurking in and around your basement. Most
spiders and insects
come into the lower levels of homes through cracks and
crevices. Walk around the exterior of your home and use caulk
to seal any openings you see. Pay particular attention to holes
from utility lines and plumbing that come into your home. To check
your work, stand in your basement with the lights off. If you see
any streams of light coming in, grab the caulking gun and seal
things a little tighter. If you see a lot of cobwebs in a certain
area, there’s a good chance there’s a pest entry point nearby.
Don’t forget to check your dryer vents. If they remain open, you
have practically rolled out the red carpet for pests.
The last component of pest proofing is the elimination of food
sources. When it comes to food for spiders and other insects that
often infest basements, natural sources are outdoors. Be sure to
keep foliage trimmed back from your home and keep mulch 18 inches
from the foundation of your house. As the leaves come down, be sure
to remove them from gathering around your house as decaying leaf
piles are very attractive to pests.
And I suppose that gets us back to why leaf blowers are a common
sound in the fall.View Comments
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