As temperatures rise and humidity increases, homeowners in the Southeast need to be especially vigilant for insects attracted to moisture making their way inside.
During the humid summer months especially, moisture around your home can attract many types of pests. It can also cause fungi to grow, including wood rot fungus which can lead to severe structural damage.
Just like you and I, many insect pests need an ample supply of water to survive. If there is not enough water to sustain a population, the insects will move to a more suitable location. Some insects, such as springtails, camel crickets, and psocids (aka booklice) can be controlled simply by reducing the moisture or humidity in the home.
Excessive moisture can also attract common pests such as cockroaches, ants, termites and mosquitoes.
So, if you’re worried you are attracting bugs from moisture in the house, here are some signs you can look for. Some may be obvious, and some may have never crossed your mind.
Keep Bugs From the Moisture in Your House
First, you will want to make sure there aren’t any moisture issues lurking inside your home. There’s no shortage of ways moisture can get where it doesn’t belong, thus causing bugs that like moisture to enter your home.
1. Check for and fix leaking pipes
Sometimes a leak may not be obvious. Periodically check under sinks and around toilets to look for wet spots. Even a slow leak can lead to big problems.
2. Inspect caulking around bathtubs and showers
A small hole or break in the caulk will allow water to seep through. Many times when people find springtails (tiny gray insects that jump) in their sinks, bathtubs, or showers, the caulking had failed and allowed water to accumulate in the wall voids, under flooring, or behind the tub enclosure.
3. Keep humidity levels low
You can reduce the humidity in your home by using a dehumidifier or circulating the air with fans. Dehumidifiers are especially useful in basements.
Discouraging Moisture-Loving Pests Outside Your Home
The battle against insects attracted to moisture doesn’t stop indoors. There are a number of tactics that you can employ in your yard and around the outside of your home as well. Here’s what you can do to help control moisture levels and discourage pests from setting up shop outside your house:
1. Make sure gutters are not clogged and work properly
Clogged gutters can breed mosquitoes and attract a variety of pests such as carpenter ants and cockroaches (or palmetto bugs). This can also cause fascia boards to rot.
Terminix Service offers gutter protection, just call for a free inspection and estimate. They can also fix those rotten fascia boards!
2. Keep bushes and trees trimmed back away from the house
Heavy vegetation can trap moisture and provide harborage for many pests. The pests can also use bushes and tree limbs to gain access to the house and avoid areas treated with pesticides.
3. Limit the mulch and pine straw
Do not use excessive amounts of mulch or pine straw around the foundation of your home. This can trap moisture and keep the foundation wet, plus provide harborage for pests.
4. Eliminate areas of standing water around the foundation
Sometimes you may need to grade the soil sloping away from the foundation, or have a drain system installed, to prevent water from pooling there.
5. Empty water from old flower pots, trashcans, wheelbarrows, toys, etc.
Mosquitoes can breed in any amount of standing water that lasts for two weeks. Terminix Service offers a mosquito management program. They will treat the vegetation in your yard once a month to provide adult mosquito control and identify potential breeding sources, which are then eliminated or treated with a mosquito growth regulator.
6. Check your sprinklers
Make sure sprinkler heads are positioned to project water away from the house and not onto it.
Controlling Moisture Under Your Home
If your home or business has a crawl space, there are some additional precautions you’ll need to take there as well. To avoid attracting bugs, crawl spaces need to be dry and free of wood debris. A dry crawl space is a healthy crawl space, and a healthy crawl space equals a happy home.
1. Keep your crawl space dry
Excessive moisture in the crawl space makes it more attractive to termites and other pests. It can also cause wood-destroying fungi to grow, which causes wood rot.
There are a number of options available to help dry out your crawl space, such as a vapor barrier, drainage system, or new foundation vents.
2. Manage moisture with crawl space encapsulation
Sometimes conventional methods may not work. If the levels of humidity coming into the crawl space are high enough, it can result in condensation.
In this situation, you may need to go beyond these DIY steps recommended by Termininx. A dehumidifier and crawl space encapsulation system from a crawl space solutions company might be the only course of action available to you for controlling the moisture levels below your home.
Pest Control Options for Bugs That Like Moisture
If you’ve done all these things and are still dealing with pests caused by moisture problems, it’s probably time to call in the professionals.
Terminix offers a variety of methods to dry out your crawl space and make it better. With one phone call, you can schedule a free moisture inspection by a trained professional. A local, expertly trained technician will discuss what needs to be corrected and the appropriate options that are available.
Whether it’s gutter protection, vapor barrier, replacing broken foundation vents, drainage systems, or a complete crawl space encapsulation and dehumidification, we will find the right solution to your moisture problems. Then, those moisture-loving pests may not find your house so inviting.