Has it been a while since you’ve checked on your crawl space? If this is the case, you’re probably apprehensive about the state you’ll find it in. You may also be wondering what might be living there.
Many pests find dark, moist, and quiet conditions in a crawl space attractive. These pests include snakes, rodents, roaches, bats, termites, and carpenter ants. One way to prevent these pests from entering a crawl space is to encapsulate it with heavy-duty polyethylene.
Read on to learn more about the pests that may call your crawl space home. We’ve also outlined some tips on how to address some of these infestations.
To answer this question, we must first establish the type of environment that snakes find attractive.
Snakes and other reptiles are drawn to quiet, dark spaces with mild temperatures. These three aspects are ones that your crawl space definitely provides.
Additionally, crawl spaces are often neglected by homeowners for years on end. This neglection provides snakes with an undisturbed shelter. A neglected crawl space is also likely to have rodents for snakes to feed on.
If you check on your crawl space one day and find a snake calling it home, don’t try to get rid of it yourself. Instead, contact animal control and let professionals do it for you.
Another class of wildlife that may infest your crawl space is rodents. Small rodents such as rats and mice view your crawl space as prime real estate thanks to the darkness and humidity it provides.
It’s the perfect place for them to rest without having to worry about predators (unless a snake is lurking around).
The issue with rodents is that they tend to chew at the wiring and wood in your crawl space to use as nesting material. The fast breeding rate of these animals can transform this from a minor problem to a huge one within only a few weeks.
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is a resounding yes.
In a similar fashion to snakes, roaches seek out dark environments for shelter. Additionally, the humid conditions of an ill-maintained crawl space are ideal for these pesky insects.
The issue with roaches is that they’re not solitary creatures. These critters breed at lightning speed, and before you know it, you’ll have hundreds of them calling your crawl space home.
Furthermore, roaches are known to want to branch out from their nesting area in search of extra food. They’re likely to take frequent trips to your kitchen and bathroom.
This isn’t something to take lightly. Roaches can carry serious diseases and infect the surfaces of your home that they come into contact with. Therefore, you must address a roach infestation promptly.
You may think that bats aren’t attracted to crawl spaces because they don’t give them space to spread their wings. However, this isn’t true.
The warm, dark environment in your crawl space makes it an ideal resting spot for bats. Additionally, your crawl space is connected to openings at the top of your house, such as utility vents. Therefore, bats can access it easily.
Many homeowners choose to encapsulate their crawl space as a protective measure. This involves lining the crawl space with heavy-duty polyethylene.
This seals off all the surfaces of a crawl space from moisture. Since most insects and pests are drawn to moist, humid conditions, encapsulation is a great way of keeping them out of your crawl space.
This isn’t to mention the physical barrier it creates to obstruct these pests’ paths.
Encapsulation is also often used to prolong the lifespan of swimming pools.
If encapsulation is so effective, why doesn’t everyone do it? The answer to that is the cost of the process. Installing the polyethylene barrier isn’t something that you can do yourself. You’ll have to hire a professional to do it.
The cost of the service, combined with the cost of the materials required, can add up to over $10,000.
Having a termite infestation in your crawl space can have dire consequences for the structural integrity of your home.
Encapsulation isolates your crawl space from any moist air that may be seeping into it through vents, pipes, or other inlets. Since termites consider moisture an essential lifeline, encapsulation makes your crawl space’s conditions undesirable for these pesky insects.
Additionally, the polyethylene barrier seals off any openings that termites can crawl through to enter your crawl space.
In a similar fashion to termites, carpenter ants require consistently humid conditions to thrive. Therefore, the dry, clean crawl space environment created by encapsulation is highly effective in keeping these critters from getting under your house and munching on the wood down there.
Using a bug bomb in your crawl space is a viable option. However, you should only do so if the insect infestation down there is particularly severe. This is because bug bombs contain highly toxic chemicals.
Needless to say, you shouldn’t risk these chemicals seeping up into your house when it’s not absolutely necessary.
Fixing the bug bomb to the end of a stick with duct tape is a nifty trick to use when deploying the bug bomb. It allows you to activate and place the bug bomb in your crawl space with minimal exposure to the toxic ingredients in it.
Foggers are another alternative to use when addressing the bug problem in your crawl space. However, they’re not as effective. This is because foggers won’t spread that well in low areas such as attics and crawl spaces.
You can counteract this by angling the projectile in such a way that it won’t spray all of its contents into the surface straight above it.
Since the pests living in your crawl space are likely to be well-hidden, you should rely on hearing and smell to determine if creatures are calling your crawl space home.
Look out for strange sounds such as inexplicable scratching, chirping, or whining. Additionally, something’s probably living down there if you hear footsteps that don’t seem human.
Animals and insects living in your crawl space will also create a bad odor, primarily from the accumulation of their droppings. This is another sign that you need to check your crawl space for infestation.
If it’s been years since you’ve taken a look at your crawl space, there’s a pretty good chance that something is living down there. So, what lives in crawl spaces?
Your crawl space is ideal as a resting and breeding spot for a variety of pests. Snakes, rodents, roaches, bats, termites, and carpenter ants all find the moist, dark environment of a crawl space attractive.
If you leave these pests unattended, this doesn’t bode well for the structural integrity of your house or the health of its inhabitants.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.