If you don't control the bugs in your crawlspace, you will soon have to figure out how to control them in your house. You will get a big jump on the problem by eliminating these 4 things in your crawlspace that attract bugs.
Bugs love damp environments. It's a perfect habitat for them to breed, eat, and spread. Stagnant water creeps under the house because of clogged gutters, slow leaking water pipes, and faulty drainage systems.
The best way to determine if you have standing water in your crawlspace is to do a visual inspection. As uncomfortably squished as you may feel, it's important to grab a flashlight and take the journey "down under" to discover the source of your water pooling problems.
Though similar to standing water, this type of moisture sits on the wood and keeps the ground damp. It's just as attractive to insects as a pool of water. When living in a hot and humid climate without the proper ventilation or a vapor barrier, one should expect humidity to accumulate under the home. Termites, cockroaches, water bugs, and carpenter ants all enjoy this ready-made habitat.
Allowing your dog to use the crawlspace as a dog house is not a good idea. Discarded bones, chewed-up rags, pet toys, and other indescribable things are a perfect combination for a happy bug environment. During their downtimes, dogs may also be chewing on wood or water pipes, causing further damage.
Piling firewood, construction leftovers, and wood of any sort is an open door and "come on in" billboard for bugs. Termites and carpenter ants will move in quickly and spread. Though convenient during the winter, piling that wood near the home should be avoided at all costs.
Once invited, these critters will not leave without some professional help. Exterminators will need to be hired to evaluate the extent of the damage. The longer you postpone this step, the more damage will occur.
Once those little pests have been evicted, it's time to implement some proactive steps to prevent future generations from moving in. Start by repairing the clogged gutters. Redesign your drainage to direct water around your home rather than under it.
Next, install a plastic vapor barrier to keep the moisture level as low as possible. You may choose to install the vapor barrier yourself. Most supplies can be found at the local hardware store and shouldn't cost more than $600 to install.
The existing ventilation system needs to be addressed as well. Some professionals recommend closing foundation vents altogether. Others recommend installing circulating fans to keep the air moving through the crawl to control humidity levels.
Whatever combination of moisture protection you choose, you will not only prevent bug infestation, but you will also avoid mold and odors, possibly saving energy by eliminating air leaks and increasing insulation properties.