7 Tips to Help Keep Pests Out of Crawl Spaces

A crawl space with wooden beams and yellow insulation.
A crawl space with wooden beams and yellow insulation.

Do you know what’s lurking beneath your home? Do you know how to keep pests out of your crawl space? 

If you haven’t been down there for a while, chances are you’ve acquired a few pests. Crawl spaces are notorious for attracting all kinds of bugs and rodents. 

If untreated, these pests can eventually make their way into your home. Thankfully, Environmental Pest Management is here to help. 

We provide safe and effective pest management year-round. 

With regular treatment, we can help protect the foundation of your home by keeping pests out of your crawl space. We are located in Burnsville, MN, but we service the greater Twin Cities Metro area. 

We offer residential, commercial, and multi-family services as well as TAP insulation. Schedule a free crawl space inspection with Environmental Pest Management today!

Common Pests Your Crawl Space Attracts

A vole peaking out from under a deck

No crawl space is fully immune to bugs and rodents. However, if you stay up to date with regular inspections and treatment from Environmental Pest Management, your chances improve significantly. 

Certain types of vermin are common to crawl spaces in Minnesota. You may encounter the following:

  • Bats
  • Chipmunks 
  • Mice
  • Moles
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Voles

In addition to mammals, insects are notorious for clustering in dark, damp spaces. Common insects found in your crawl space include:

  • Bees and Wasps
  • Beetles
  • Carpenter Ants
  • Cockroaches
  • Earwigs
  • Silverfish
  • Termites

Let’s look at some effective prevention measures you can take to ward off any unwelcome guests. 

Tip #1: Keep Pests Out Of Your Crawl Space By Deep Cleaning and Removing Pest Attractors

A person using a spray bottle to deep clean. Regular cleaning is one way to help keep pests out of crawl spaces.

Crawl spaces are great for storage. However, make sure it contains absolutely no food of any kind, even pet food. 

Pests live and breed near food, including sealed food. Foods attract pests, so make sure your space is devoid of any and all. 

If yours does happen to contain food, make sure to remove it promptly. Then once cleared, give your crawl space a thorough deep cleaning to eliminate any crumbs or remnants. 

Cleaning your crawl space helps fend away pest activity. 

Tip #2: Remove External Debris and Foliage

A homewoner trimming hedges around their home to help keep pests out of crawl spaces.

The bushes and shrubs surrounding your home are natural habitats for all kinds of critters. Making sure your home’s exterior is clear will help prevent infestation. 

Many invasive bugs are attracted to certain types of foliage. For instance, the boxelder bug is known for being attracted to the boxelder tree, from which its name originates. 

Other pests and rodents are attracted to fruit trees and sweet perennials like hostas and roses. Stinkbugs and chipmunks love anything sweet and are notorious for hiding indoors when cold weather hits. 

Foliage from nearby trees can push up against the house, creating damp hiding places suitable for pests. Keep pests out of your crawl space by clearing all loose debris away from your foundation walls. 

Tip #3: Seal Cracks and Openings 

An unsealed foundation crack in a home.

Once the debris has been cleared away, it will be easier to spot any cracks or openings in your foundation. 

Cracks are an open invitation for pests to enter your home. 

Seal these open cracks with caulking, foam insulation, wood, or cement blocks and replace any broken boards. 

Tip #4: Shine a Light 

Someone shining a flashlight to find pests in their crawl space

Most crawl space bugs and rodents will flee at the first sign of light. 

You can’t stay down in your basement or crawl space with a flashlight 24/7. But you can have simple LED lighting installed. 

Low-cost and energy-efficient LED bulbs will help keep pests away. And if your space has any appliance parts or piping, it will be easier to service them with proper lighting. 

Tip #5: Set Traps

A dead cockroach next to a pest control trap in a crawl space.

Setting traps is effective, cost-efficient, and they do the job of keeping pests out of your crawl space. Traps should be placed both inside and outside the home. 

Not all traps are created equal. Traps purchased through a local retailer work for the short term, but the poison wears out over time. 

Another “trap” is having a pet who hunts. Some cats are great hunters for vermin like mice and rats, and dogs will occasionally eat certain bugs. 

Keep pests out of your crawl space by letting your pets inspect the area. Just make sure you don’t have any poison traps around when they’re running loose.

Tip #6: Install Proper Ventilation 

A de-humidifer next to a moldy wall.

Crawl space rodents and insects thrive in humid environments. To lower humidity and moisture levels, install a dehumidifier. 

While dehumidifiers are a quick fix, a ventilation system is best at keeping mold, mildew, and wood rot at bay. Vents can both open and close, which adapts well to Minnesota’s constantly changing weather. 

Most new homes are built with crawl space ventilation systems. However, if your home is older, you will want to remove and replace moisture-rotted beams before installation. 

Dirt and concrete walls and flooring will help further prevent moisture from spreading. 

Each state’s HVAC IRC code varies, but most ventilators are required to cover 150 square feet of crawl space. Be sure to check with your city’s code to make sure you have enough. 

Tip #7: Crawl Space Encapsulation

A vapor barrier being installed to help keep pests out of crawl spaces.

The most effective way to control moisture levels, create a vapor barrier, and seal off any cracks is plastic encapsulation. 

A 20-millimeter thick encapsulation will create a plastic vapor barrier in your crawl space. It will cover the floor, walls, and ceilings, so pests can’t enter your crawl space. 

Regular Inspections Are Best

A pest specialist explaining something to a customer.

Regular and frequent inspections in and around your home are the best prevention against unwanted pests.  

Find out more about Professional Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by Environmental Pest Management. This service will ensure your home stays pest-free for as long as you own the home. 

Environmental Pest Management will answer any WHAT, WHY, HOW, and WHEN questions you may have. Their unique solutions will help get to the root of the problem. 

After identifying the source, they will help you take the appropriate measures to protect the foundation of your home. 

With Environmental Pest Management, you can prevent pests from entering your crawl space with regular inspections and treatment.  

Schedule your free crawl space inspection with Environmental Pest Management today!

How To Get Rid Of June Bugs

june bug portrait
june bug portrait

Summer’s coming! You know it’s summer when you hear the whack of June Bugs smacking into your sliding glass door. Let’s discuss how to get rid of June Bugs.

Are you ready to enjoy the season? If you want to relax this summer, let Environmental Pest Management handle pest control. 

We handle all kinds of indoor and outdoor pests in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. Contact us today for a free quote.

How to Identify June Bugs

A large June Bug on a green leaf.

There are hundreds of June bugs species, but in Minnesota, there are roughly 20 bugs with this name. June Bugs in our area are about an inch long and have an oval-shaped body.

These bulbous bugs have six hairy-looking legs and a pair of black antennae. They are dark brown, although some appear almost black or maroon. 

The June bug’s back and body is a hard, smooth shell with a uniform color and no markings. The underside is hairy. 

When they walk, they move in a bumbling way, almost as though their legs are too short for their bodies. When they fly, they always look like they’re about to crash.

They certainly are goofy, graceless bugs.

June Bugs are unique insects with two sets of wings. That hard shell covering the backside is a set of wings. There’s a second pair underneath the first.

The top set of wings serves to protect the bug but sticks out straight to be out of the way in flight. The top wings sticking out make this bug aerodynamically awkward.  

What Is A June Bug’s Life Cycle?

June Bug Larvae on potting soil

Adult June Bugs show up in or around (you guessed it) the beginning of summer. But where do they originate?

The bug begins life as an egg. The little white egg takes about three weeks to hatch.

The June Bug larva makes its way into your soil. It has a huge appetite, and it will molt twice before moving to the next stage of life. 

The bug will continue in the larval stage, eating roots and growing for one to three years. 

When the larva has grown and matured enough, it enters the pupal stage.

The pupa starts dark brown, gradually taking on an iridescent sheen. The pupa remains underground and doesn’t move at all during this stage.

The pupal stage lasts about three weeks. When this stage ends, the adult bug finds its way out of the ground and flies off to find a meal.

What Draws June Bugs To Your Home Or Yard?

walking june bug

June Bugs are attracted to moist soil and organic material. If you leave grass clippings left in your yard, June Bugs will be happy to dine there.

Damp soil is an ideal place for June beetles to lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the June Bug grubs will burrow into your lawn.

June Bugs are drawn to any light source. If you have exterior lights on in early summer, you are likely hosting a nightly June Bug party. It may be the reason you’re researching how to get rid of June Bugs!

What Harm Do June Bugs Cause?

A June Bug on white blossoming flowers.

This flying, bumbling beetle is not a danger to people, and they do not want to bite or eat you. But June Bugs are interested in your plants.

June Bugs eat a wide variety of plant leaves, making Swiss cheese out of your lawn and garden. But that’s just the start.

The bugs lay eggs in your soil, turning your yard into a June Bug nursery. When the eggs hatch, the grubs feast on the roots of your plants.

A grub infestation can cause patches of dead grass to show up on your lawn. Brown patches in your yard are a sign of grubs munching on your roots.

Bugs in your lawn can also attract other animals notorious for being pests. Skunks and raccoons will dig small holes digging up grubs for dinner. 

How To Get Rid Of June Bugs

A bug zapper light installed and lit up to help prevent June Bugs in a yard.

The first step to getting rid of June bugs is to focus on the adults. 

If you aren’t squeamish, grab a pair of gardening gloves and pick the bugs off your plants by hand. Place them into a jug of soapy water to drown them.

If you prefer a hands-off approach, try this integrated pest management approach. This DIY insect killer is safe for humans and the environment:

  1. Mince four cloves of garlic. Soak them overnight in a tablespoon of mineral oil.
  2. Drain the oil, then add the garlic to a pint of water.
  3. Add a teaspoon of dish soap to the mix. 
  4. Put two tablespoons of your mix in a pint-sized spray bottle. Fill the remainder with water.

To get rid of June Bugs, spray the ones you see, as well as the plants they’ve been munching. The method also works well on Japanese beetles.

You can also reduce your June Bug count by installing a bug zapper. These bugs are notorious for heedlessly heading into lights. They fly straight into a crispy end with this contraption.

Once you’ve gotten control of the adults, you’ll need to address the grubs. 

June Bugs like to lay eggs in short grass, so don’t mow your lawn too low. You can set the mower to at least three inches to keep it at an ideal height. 

Deal with grubs naturally by introducing nematodes to the soil. You can purchase these microscopic worms online or at a garden center. Apply them with a spray bottle. 

A similar method is to apply a bacteria called Bacillus Thuringiensis, or BT. Apply in a spray or powder form to safely eliminate grubs.

If you need a more robust solution, try an insecticide that contains neem oil. This compound is toxic for many larvae but will not harm most beneficial bugs

Don’t Want To Deal With Bugs This Summer? Let Us Help

A pest control worker spraying a lawn.

If you’ve tried managing your outdoor pests, but they keep coming back, give us a call at Environmental Pest Management. We are experts at keeping your Minnesota yard free of nuisance bugs. 

Reach out today for your free quote to be on your way to having a pest-free environment!