Unwanted insects in your basement may be a sign of water damage and probably mean you have water issues outside your home. Also, you probably have mold!
Until I became mold and allergen intolerant, I didn’t think too much about indoor air quality. But now I know the problems with air quality in our living spaces often starts beneath our floors, where mold, dust mites, roaches, other bug populations and bacterial can grow without any interference.
Bugs in Your Basement
If you find bugs in your basement, you definitely have a moisture problem. Many of the allergen and bug issues in your home originate in the crawl space or basement (finished and unfinished!). Unfortunately, basement air is frequently the most damp, compromised air in the house. Contaminants commonly spread upwards. Because warm air rises, temperature differences between the house interior and exterior can cause upward movement of air. This can cause outside air to enter through the basement and rise up into the home, bringing pollutants with it. These air quality issues are important to address to promote health and well-being.
Bugs in the basement or crawl space usually lead to bugs in the house. Having bugs doesn’t mean you’ve done a bad job keeping the house clean! But, it could be a sign of possible foundation problems. It’s a fact. Bugs and pests are attracted to moisture and darkness. Unfinished basements and crawl spaces often serve as an ideal breeding ground for insects.
Crawl space moisture or a wet basement is often an indication of foundation issues. Most of these common basement bugs need moisture to eat and produce offspring. Here’s a list of common insects found in basements.
Longer than centipedes, the millipede looks similar to brown worm. They can slip into basements through foundation cracks and are drawn in by moisture.
Earwigs are small, flat insects with large pincers that can make them look threatening. They will enter basements through foundation cracks and come in under doors and windows that don’t fit properly.
Since cockroaches can spread disease to humans and like to multiply quickly, they need to be eliminated immediately from a basement or crawl space, before the problem grows. Roaches like damp, dark spaces and are nocturnal. Once they find their way in, roaches tend to not isolate themselves to the crawl space or basement, usually making their way into the living areas of the home. I could write a lot more about the dangers of having cockroaches in your home, but these nasty little critters are well documented in other places on the web. My message – where there are cockroaches, you will generally find mold, or it’s on its way to your home within 24-48 hours.
About the same size as a termite, the carpenter ant has a dark body and distinctive waist. They will nest in moist, decayed wood often found wall spaces that have been damaged by moisture or under rotted sub-floors. Whether you live in Colorado, Tennessee or Missouri, basement bugs are common. Even the brown recluse spider can be found in basements in several states as far north as Ohio as south as Georgia and westward into Texas, where four species of the brown recluse spider have been discovered.
Subterranean termites must have moist soil nearby. They infest any wood that is in contact with the ground. Warm weather and consistent humidity are most likely to cause termite activity. Moisture, leaky pipes, improper drainage, and poor airflow all create moisture issues.
How to Get Rid of Bugs in the Basement for Good
A pest control company or exterminator can help get rid of bugs. However, if you have moisture problems, bugs will always be part of your future. The best first step to get rid of bugs in the basement or crawl space is to eliminate water intrusion completely, so the bugs will no longer be drawn in.
- Correct the underlying cause of your moisture problem.
- Make sure rainwater drains away from your home. Have a professional repair your gutters, downspouts and grading around your foundation.
- Eliminate standing water in your yard. Have drains installed if necessary.
- Encapsulation (block assess) with a moisture-resistant barrier.
- Eliminate moisture, reduce humidity,
- Detour pests by blocking access from the foundation.
- Reduce moisture and circulate fresh, clean air throughout the home with a dehumidifier.
- Eliminate conditions favorable to their survival. Keeping your basement dry will cause some insects to die quickly or leave.
- Repair leaky faucets and dripping pipes. Wrap sweaty pipes with insulation.
- Seal doors threshold and window cracks and crevices with caulk.
- During daylight, look for light entering the basement through cracks. Seal those cracks.
- Get rid of boxes, bags and clutter that are hiding places for bugs.
- Sweep or vacuum regularly. Remember, dead bugs are food for other bugs.
- Remove excess shrubs, vines and overgrown vegetation from the side and foundation of your house.
- Store food in tightly sealed containers. Clean up spilled food immediately.
If you still need help getting rid of insects in your basement, call a professional. A trained pest control professional will inspect your basement, crawl space and the rest of your home, and recommend a customized solution to fit your needs. The recommendation could include crawl space services if there are moisture issues.
Additional Information about Bugs and Moisture in your Home
Readers Digest: Cleaning and organizing to prevent bugs – https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/things-in-house-attracting-pests/
Mold-Help.org: Kinds of bugs inside your home that can mean you also have mold – Certain Insects Are a Sign of Excess Moisture in your Home
Written by by Carolyn Willbanks, Mold-Help.org