The weather in our region may be warmer than usual, but that won’t stop some creepy crawly critters from invading your home. One key area bugs like to colonize is basements. Whether finished or not, basements often offer ideal conditions for bugs to make their homes.
Here are a few of the more common ones you might see. Some pose a risk—to your house and health—others are relatively harmless (but still creepy looking nonetheless).
Because basements are underground, they’re a prime target for termites. Termites often will grow a colony that’s 18-20 feet underground, but that could be right under you home! It’s common for them to colonize an area near a food source, and basements are like a smorgasbord to them.
What’s worse, you may not even notice them. They could easily chew through support beams behind walls, without even going after the side of the wall you see. They are also known to build thin mud tubes in the walls, and finding them can be a real challenge. If you can’t see any signs of mud tubes (you might find soft spots in the walls), look for “kickout” holes, where they will dispose of their droppings.
While these critters are scary-looking (to some people, at least), they’re entirely harmless. Of course, that doesn’t mean you want them in your home! They like to eat starchy materials, so books, clothing, stored food, and even carpeting could be attractive to them. Unfortunately, these pests reproduce very fast, and they can survive long times without food or water. Both of these factors make getting rid of an infestation a real challenge. When they invade a home, they often are found in walls and under subflooring. Look out for their droppings: small, black pellets that look like peppercorns.
Spiders often harbor in basements, especially if they are infrequently used. Removing the webs as needed with a dust mop can help reduce their numbers. Black widow spiders usually nest around the exterior of a home and fortunately the geographic range of brown recluse spiders doesn’t extend to Maryland.
How to Pest-Proof Your Basement
These are just a few of the creatures that might make their home in your basement. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prevent any serious infestation. These include:
- Fix leaky pipes.
- Install a dehumidifier.
- Clear rubbish—lose papers, old clothes, etc.
- Remove any insect-attracting materials from outside your house