How To Maintain Your Basement From Insects

I can’t count the number of times my basement’s been under siege from water and bugs.  Let me tell you, it’s been anything but pleasant.  I’ve thought up–and come across tips online–a few clever ways over the years to fix this problem.  Think of it as home renovation and, more importantly, think of it as fun way to reinforce your basement, keeping the good times in and the outside elements left in the cold.

Rather than wonder on when the next exterminator appointment should be, there are many ways, both simple and complex, to get your basement ready for the onslaught.  Below are four great ways to get the upper hand:

Setting Traps

If your home hasn’t been greeted by a lovely bunch of crickets known as the Camel Cricket (or Cave Cricket),  then count your lucky stars.  These wonderfully annoying creatures love to nest in damp, cool basements, breed rather too quickly for my liking, are blind and can jump extremely high and fast (usually towards us), and love to eat wool or cotton.  When outside, these crickets love to reside underneath bushels of leaves pressed up against the house, and will try and seek shelter inside homes as the weather dips.  Once they get inside, it’s best to get at them quickly before they spawn at an alarming rate.

You can do this in a number of ways, but one of the most proven methods is setting glue traps along the edges of your basement.  These crickets love to munch on glue-based products and will naturally scurry along the floorboards.

And if you can’t find traps at the nearest Home Depot, you can get creative with wooden boards and a roll of duct tape.  Encase the wood with duct tape facing outward, then place these boards near the wall and within a matter of days (sometimes hours if there’s a large horde) the crickets will be prisoners.  Tear the used layers off and repeat.

Inspecting Your Home’s Foundation

It’s always good to go outside and check on your home’s foundation for any developing cracks.  There are two avenues to help patch up any openings that may invite water or bugs in:

  1. Make sure the siding is up to par around window sills and doorways and if need be, caulk and plug up any holes.
  2. Invest in weather strips for air drafts under your entry doors and basement doorway, a trick that helps block out rodents and insects while helping to insulate your home even more.
  3. If  your basement leads up to your garage, inspect any possible openings that may lead down.  This one’s especially true for cables and other wires that flow towards any electronics in your basement.

If you can’t completely seal the holes, just do your best to make it as tiny as possible via old rags stuffed inside.

Invest in a Dehumidifier

Water leaks can be one of the most common problems for basements.  Unfortunately, water is a great invite for insects like the Camel Cricket.  Collect the added moisture with a dehumidifier and hopefully deter insects elsewhere.  Another plus side with dehumidifiers is they rid basements of mildew and bacteria growth, thus restoring the fresh scents from before.

Cleaning Up

One of the easiest ways to expel insects from your home is simple:  staying on top of house cleaning.  This means vacuuming up loose dirt, food crumbs, liquid spills containing syrup bases and so on.  When food piles up, the rotting scents linger to the waiting noses of insects and rodents.  Since cleaning up around the house is considered a constant home improvement, it would be wise to follow up and make every area of your home, including your basement, shiny from beginning to end.

Outside of incidents like general human error (i.e., open doors), there are a variety of ways to make sure your basement is up to snuff year-round.  In the end, home improvement is all about making the quality of your living quarters as comfortable as possible.

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