If you have ever had a damp or flooded basement, then chances are you’ve had to contend with some unwanted visitors of the creepy-crawly variety. It’s quite common, albeit icky, to have bugs in the basement once there has been moisture seeping through your foundation.
Most Common Basement Bugs
The most common basement invaders are sowbugs, pillbugs, millipedes and centipedes. They aren’t actually insects, they’re arthropods or crustaceans. Although they aren’t considered harmful or dangerous, they are a nuisance when they make their way into our living spaces.
• Sowbugs and pillbugs thrive in moist conditions and feed on decaying organic matter. For the most part, they do not live for very long indoors because there isn’t enough moisture to sustain them.
• Centipedes and millipedes feed on other bugs such as spiders, bedbugs, silverfish and ants. In fact, they are pretty good natural pest control. Millipedes cannot survive in the home because the humidity levels are too low for them.
Preventing Bugs From Entering Your Basement
Since the insects are coming in from outside, the first thing you want to do is reduce their numbers from the outside.
• As I mentioned, these critters thrive in moist conditions. Make sure that the ground slopes away from your house and that your gutters are cleaned regularly to ensure that there is no water or moisture retention near your home’s foundation.
• Remove decaying vegetation and leaves from around your home and keep vegetation well trimmed. Also remove other objects that they typically hide under such as boxes, boards, pots, bricks and stones.
• Instead of using fine mulches in your planting beds around the house, use coarse mulch which allows water to drain more quickly. Always allow the ground to dry between watering.
• Foundation repairs should be addressed as soon as they are detected. You will want to be sure that the repairs are done before the fall.
• Do not store fire wood or other organic matter inside your home.
• If you have any damp areas in your basement, run a dehumidifier or small electric fan to ensure that conditions are not favorable to these common pests.
Green Tip: there are many pesticides on the market that are dangerous to human health and the environment. Be very careful when choosing products to deter pests. One of the more eco-friendly products that is highly recommended is diatomaceous earth. It is sometimes sold on its own or as a main ingredient in green pesticides and works by scratching up the coating on the bugs exterior so they die of dehydration.
For more information on controlling insect pests in your basement, talk to your local basement waterproofing specialist or home improvement expert. Taking a bit of time to prevent infestations is much more practical than waiting for serious problems to arise.