A dirty, moist, vented crawl space is an open invitation for rodents such as mice and rats to take over your home. When they come in, they’ll destroy your belongings and turn your house upside down. Don’t be an enabler of pests. Clean your crawl space regularly and seal it completely using plastic encapsulation.
Before we look at steps you can take to stop rodents from entering your crawl space and breeding, here are signs that should alert you to the possibility of rodent infestation.
- Piles of dirt or pest droppings
- Foul or acrid odors
- Signs of burrowing
- Holes dug in walls
- Scratching noises on ceiling or walls
- Mice or rat sightings
Ways to Control Rodents in the Crawl Space
Keeping rodents from your crawl space may seem like a fulltime job if it’s vented, not encapsulated, or has a dirt floor. Cleaning this space does help. Alongside cleaning, here are a couple of things you should consider doing as well:
Seal all entry points. Mice can squeeze into your crawl space via a vent or crack that’s just ¼” in size. Inspect the interior and exterior of your crawl space for cracks, unsealed corners and openings, then seal them with foam insulation or caulk to deter entrance. If the crack is large, call a crawl space repair contractor to fix it.
Spread plastic vapor barrier. Generally, pests and rodents like crawl spaces with high moisture content. Encapsulating the crawl space with a plastic barrier between the dirt surface and the crawl space will keep moisture levels to a minimum. Sealing your crawl space with a thick and durable plastic barrier not only helps lock out moisture, but it deters pests and rodents such as mice from entering your home. A 20-mil plastic encapsulation is the best choice for a barrier.
Trim bushes near your home. If your Grand Junction, CO, home is surrounded by overgrown hedges or brush, you should trim or clear it. Otherwise, pests that reside there will burrow right into your crawl space.
Set traps. On top of applying pesticides in strategic places, lay traps on the paths of mice and rats and areas of suspected pest activity. Inspect them and remove any that have been tripped. Traps will help you get rid of mice that play hide and seek. You can get traps from your local hardware store.
Remove rocks and debris. Any of these creates the perfect hiding spot for rodents. Mice and rats won’t just hide there, but breed as well. You’re likely to find their litter tucked somewhere behind the debris or rocks. By removing them, you’ll deny them a place to cozy up.
Replace rotten beams. Any wooden structure under the home is going to attract rodents and termites. It’s best if you remove or replace it with a dry one.
Light up the crawl space. Rodents like moving around in the dark. After all, they’re nocturnal. Lighting this space discourages them from entering the crawl space and establishing a colony.
Get a cat. It’s another practical way of dealing with rats or mice. If you have a cat, don’t pamper it indoors. Leave it to explore the crawl space and find and chase critters that want to set up home there.
Don’t store food. Store anything else, not cooked food, grains or water down there. Otherwise, you will be making it easier for the mice hiding in the bush outside the crawl space to come in and feed.
Just because you’ve cleaned your crawl space and sealed it doesn’t mean you let your guard down. Cracks could occur because of soil movements, the plastic barrier can get ruptured by accidents, and door seals can get loose. All these may again compromise your crawl space and allow pests to come in. You have to check this space from time to time and take appropriate measures if something is amiss.
If you suspect that rodents or insects have invaded your crawl space, do a quick spot check and schedule a free crawl space inspection with your local crawl space contractor. You’ll get to understand the scope of the problem, and if there are moisture issues, know what measures to take.