Moisture Linked to Insect Infestations

Waterproofing and foundation repair go hand in hand with pest control. Removing the water and sealing cracked foundations is the first line of defense for preventing pests in basements and crawlspaces.

Advanced Energy’s 2005 crawlspace research study was the beginning of closed crawlspaces.  Their research helped people understand the importance of closing a vented crawlspace. In its studies in Flagstaff, Arizona, and North Carolina, the research team discovered an interesting finding. In addition to increasing energy efficiency and decreasing moisture they also found closing the crawlspace had a dramatic impact on decreasing insect infestations. Team leader Cyrus Dastur, said they saw a 70-percent decrease in insects in the houses with closed crawlspaces compared to houses with vented crawlspaces.

The EPA has a basic plan for controlling pests. Overall, pests seek places to live that satisfy basic needs for air, moisture, food, and shelter. They suggest the basic ways to control pests:

  • Remove water. All living things, including pests, need water for survival. Fix leaky plumbing, and do not let water accumulate anywhere in or around your home. Remove or dry out water-damaged and wet materials. Even dampness or high humidity can attract pests.
  • Remove or block off indoor pest hiding places. Caulk cracks and crevices to control pest access. Avoid storing newspapers, paper bags, and boxes for long periods of time. Also, check for pests in packages or boxes before carrying them into your home.
  • Block pest entryways. Install screens on all floor drains, windows, and doors to discourage crawling and flying pests from entering your home. Make sure any passageways through the floor are blocked. Place weatherstripping on doors and windows. Caulk and seal openings in walls. Keep doors shut when not in use.
  • Remove food. Consider pest-proof food and waste containers. You may use this as a criterion when evaluating cabinetry or designing space.

The Basement Health Association is always working to align professionals whose works effects the basement environment. Encourage pest control professionals to join the association. Consider networking with these professionals to work together to better the health of the basement and crawlspace environment.