Is the garage considered the inside or outside of a home? Most people would agree that it’s inside. Regardless, we know that you want to keep bugs out of your garage. Whether we’re talking about spiders, roaches, or ants – it’s no fun to share your space with pesky bugs. Not to mention, it’s a bit unsanitary. Nobody likes to be surprised by pest droppings or a quick scurry in the corner of the room. If you’re someone who wants to know how to keep bugs out of your garage, we’ve got some helpful tips for you – especially if you happen to keep your garbage can inside.
According to the American Housing Survey, nearly 80,000 Americans have a garage. Garages are a great asset to have at home — they keep your vehicles safe, provide additional storage and can be used as a workshop or hobby room. Unfortunately, many garage owners struggle with an unwanted pest infestation, including bugs and rodents. Once these pests make their way into a garage, they can destroy your belongings, damage the structural integrity of the room and may make their way into your main living space if not stopped. If you are suffering from a garage pest infestation, here are some steps you can take.
The garage is meant to give shelter to your car, store tools, sports equipment and anything else that needs to be packed up out of sight. It also serves as the perfect shelter for bugs and rodents. Compared to more secure parts of the house, the garage – sometimes left open for extended periods of time – provides easy access to your home for bugs and other small critters seeking protection from the outdoor elements. The first step in keeping bugs out of the garage is identifying them.
Tips to Keeping Insects Out of Garage
The first step is to make sure that any food you might store in your garage is kept put away. You’ll want to use airtight containers so that insects and vermin cannot smell any food. This goes for unwrapped and wrapped food that you may store in the garage if you use it as a sort of back-up pantry.
Some people keep fridges or freezers in a garage. Insects can even smell or be attracted to food in them, so make sure that they are tightly closed. Anything that you spill on the floor should be immediately cleaned up.
Clean Up Spiderwebs
Spiders can be both good and bad. They can be great to have around since they kill other bugs by catching them in their webs. However, spiders can be messy creatures. The webs that they spin are very unsightly looking. They can leave dead insect pieces all over the floor as well.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to get rid of webs by dusting the corners of the garage to get rid of the spider webs. Try to eliminate webs on a weekly basis to make a difference. Your guests will certainly find it to be more visually appealing not to see a ton of cobwebs.
Spray Bottom Baseboards
Look for a great insecticide that comes highly recommended. You can then spray the bottom baseboard of your garage on the inside and the outside so that any insects that come into contact with it will be immediately killed.
Be careful if you have young children or pets who may have toys lying around or who play in the immediate area. Insecticides are toxic. There are non-toxic kinds that may be safer, but they do not tend to be quite as effective. In case it rains, you’ll want to re-spray the area outside along the foundation.
One of the main ways insects get into garages is through the bottom. Most garage doors have a gap through which insects of all kinds can crawl. You may not notice the crack, but even the smallest sliver of an area will allow insects to get in.
To help you deal with this, purchase weatherstripping material or rubber seals. You can usually find them at any hardware store or online as well. Be sure to get the right size for your garage door.
Take measurements and look for strips that will be as close as possible to your garage door size. Weatherstripping is not only a great idea because it can keep insects out. It’s also great because it helps you to keep your garage more energy efficient. Garages that let in outside air will make it so that your air conditioning and heating bills go up, even when it’s just a tiny crack.
Water can be a major attraction for mosquitoes. These pesky insects have a tendency to make a home in water cans, buckets, barrels or anything that holds water. What is worse is that they will go into the water to breed.
Once a mosquito lays eggs and starts to multiply, it can be very difficult to get rid of them. While some people can have a tendency to store things in a garage and then forget about them, you don’t want to do this with water-filled items. It’s never a good idea to have stagnant water lying about, especially if getting rid of insects is your main goal.
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Look For Anthills
Prevention can be very important. Once a month, take a walk around your home in order to inspect the foundation. Start by looking for anthills and any evidence that ants are starting to amass around your foundation.
Ants are so small that they can enter into a garage and get into any part of the home, causing a major annoyance. You can set ant bait traps along the outside in order to try to catch them before they enter the home.
Fill In Gaps With Caulk
Use a caulking gun to fill in any cracks or holes that you see in the walls of the garage. You can use silicone caulk since it holds up the best. Filling in all the gaps will help to avoid insects that filter in through small cracks.
Don’t be fooled thinking that a small hole will not let in any insects. Remember that minuscule insects like an ant can get into even the smallest cracks that you would never think.
Get Rid of Cardboard Boxes
Termites can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. When someone is trying to buy a home, an inspector will look for signs that termites are around and include it in the inspection report. It can quickly become a reason for someone not to buy a home.
Termites can be attracted to organic material such as wood and cardboard boxes. The problem is that most people have some of both of those, wood and cardboard boxes, in their garages.
Termites can eat away at the foundation of the home. A house that has a termite issue can turn away potential buyers and cost a lot for remediation. Wood and cardboard boxes also can act as a sort of shelter for bugs and termites who like to take coverage under them.
This means that when you enter your garage, you may not necessarily be able to see the insects that are there. Keep boxes off the floor by installing storage racks alongside the walls of your garage so that you can place boxes and such on those racks.
Opt for plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes so that you get rid of any place for an insect to take shelter. You can easily find some affordable bins at a local dollar store or even a secondhand store.
Insects are more than unsightly creatures that nobody wants lingering in their home. When guests come over, nobody wants to see webs and bugs crawling around since an insect that is in the garage can easily find its way into the home too.
They also can cause damage, particularly if they are termites. Getting rid of insects doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Take preventative measures by inspecting the outside of your home on a regular basis.
Look for anthills and cracks that may allow creatures to be getting into your garage. Use caulk or ant bait to get rid of them for good. Eliminate stagnant water that may collect and ditch the cardboard and wood. With a little bit of effort, you can rid your garage of pesky critters.
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Start With a Clean Slate
If you want the best chances for preventing a bug infestation, it’s important that you keep your garage clean. This means more than sweeping up the dirt in the open areas. Bugs love dark places where they can hide. Just think, if you have a lot of boxes piled up around your garage, consider condensing them into clear containers and only keep what you need. This way, it gives bugs fewer places to hide and gives you better bug control.
Check for Cracks
Carefully survey the walls, ceilings, and windows in your garage. Pay close attention to the weather stripping around the garage door and make sure it closes all the way. If you have holes in your window screens, make sure to mend them. Once you’ve addressed any cracks where bugs might enter, apply some eco-friendly pest control spray around the perimeters of the doors, windows and garage openings. This will help prevent one bug from telling all his fellow bugs where the food is!
Avoid Putting Unnecessary Odors into the Trash
When we think of garbage, the last thing we associate it with its attractiveness. But one man’s garbage is another bug’s buffet paradise. In other words, avoid putting anything smelly into the trash that will attract bugs and rodents. You can do this by rinsing containers, bottles, and packaging before placing it in the trash. Pay close attention to items that have touched raw meat, as, over time, they can release some powerful odours. You can also double pungent bag garbage like seafood scraps.
Clean Your Trash Can Keep Bugs Out of Your Garage
This step is important if you want the best chances to remove or prevent bugs in your garage. Check out my post with excellent tips on what to use when cleaning your trash can. You’ll likely want to clean your trash can frequently, as there are often unwanted leaks or spills that can stick to the bottom and sides. Over time, these smells can attract pests and are unpleasant so close to your home. We know that cleaning trash cans isn’t exactly an enjoyable chore. If you’d rather skip cleaning your trash can, you’re in luck!
Why Pests Love Garages
Most people have encountered an insect, rodent or another pest in their garage at one point or another. Have you ever wondered why bugs seem to love garages so much? Chances are, it’s for one or more of the following reasons:
- Garages offer protection: Your garage offers bugs and pests protection from dangers like summer heat, frigid winters, severe or inclement weather, natural predators and more. Pests may also seek protective shelter in your garage if their outdoor home has been destroyed.
- They simulate a bug’s natural environment: Many bugs are drawn to garages because they remind them of their natural habitat: moist, dark and warm with plenty of materials and debris to burrow and nest in.
- Pests are attracted to smells: Your garage can be a source of many tempting smells for bugs and pests, including sweet scents from food products, plants, spillage, stored grains, animal food or birdseed. Some pests are attracted to less pleasing smells, like garbage, blood and sweat.
Why It’s Important To Eliminate Pests In Your Garage
Bugs and rodents are more than just a nuisance-they can also be dangerous. Some pests can cause great damage to your belongings or the structure of the garage. They can even use the garage as an easy way to enter your home. Some pests, like rodents and flies, can also spread harmful bacteria and diseases. For these reasons, the prompt elimination of pests is crucial.
Common Garage Pests
There are several different species of bugs or types of pests that can pose a threat to you and your garage. However, the following are among the most common garage bugs and pests.
According to one survey, 37% of Americans saw a rodent in their home in 2017. Of that 37%, 39% saw the rodent in their garage. Rodents include mice and rats and are among the most dangerous garage pests because they can spread fleas and mites, chew and burrow into your belongings and seldom arrive alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rodents can also spread over 35 diseases worldwide.
Identifying the ant in your garage is the first step to eradicating the issue. The three types of ants most commonly found inside homes and garages are:
- Carpenter ants: Carpenter ants excavate wood and nest inside structures, which can cause lasting damage to areas in your garage, like shelving.
- Odorous house ants: These ants do not necessarily pose a threat to you or your home, but colonies nest under debris and wood, which many homeowners find bothersome.
- Pavement ants: Pavement ants have a stinger and often feed on food items. They mine into the pavement and concrete, including garage floors.
Spiders often retreat into homes and garages in the late summer and early fall, as temperatures begin to shift outdoors. Numerous different types of spiders can enter your garage through cracks or when your garage door is open. They build unsightly webs on the ground and in ceiling corners. Although most household spiders do not bite, most homeowners do not want an infestation on their hands.
According to the CDC, termites are among the most destructive household pests in America and are responsible for billions of dollars of damage per year. Termites break down and consume more than wood — they are are also often responsible for damage to cardboard boxes, fiberboard, paper products, furniture and more. They usually enter your garage at vulnerable areas, like where wood siding meets the ground or where moisture collects near your foundation.
There are roughly 30,000 different types of known beetles in the United States. Beetles enter your house or garage through packages, firewood or other natural materials stored indoors or even potted plants. Though beetles are harmless for the most part, they can pose a significant threat to any stored food products you keep in your garage, including grains, dairy, meats, boxes of cereal and more. They have also been known to eat fabric, wood and plants.
Sowbugs enter your garage through unsealed structural cracks and thrive in the dark, moist environments. Sowbugs pose virtually no threat to you, your home or the items stored in your garage. However, many find their presence alone to be a nuisance. Unless they can establish a nest in a consistently damp area of your garage, they should not live very long. To help eliminate the risk of sowbugs, make sure your garage is properly ventilated, and there is no standing water.
Because many flies feed on garbage, waste and rotten food, they are often known to carry sickness-causing bacteria and disease, including:
Flies in garages are often drawn to overflowing or empty, soiled trash cans. They can also fly into your garage through unsealed cracks, or anytime the door is open.
Silverfish are attracted to moist environments, including damp fabrics and paper products. Because of this, they pose a significant threat to wallpaper, books, insulation and even packaged food products. Additionally, some people may be allergic to silverfish scales. Silverfish are good at hiding, so you must know the signs of an infestation, which include:
- Holes, notches or scratches on items or surfaces, which could be feeding marks
- Yellow stains or scales
- Black pepper-like feces
Once a cricket or infestation of crickets takes hold of your garage or home, it is challenging to get rid of the problem. In addition to loud chirping noises at all hours, crickets have also been known to chew through loose fabrics. Crickets can lay hundreds of eggs at a time, so prompt elimination is crucial to avoid a full-on cricket infestation. Crickets are drawn to warm, moist areas, so doing your best to eliminate these conditions in your garage will help prevent an uncontrollable infestation from taking hold.
There is not enough to use pesticides. Laying traps throughout the garage to catch any pests that breakthrough your garage can be good reinforcement. Don’t forget to check your traps often and change the traps regularly.
If you own a garage, insects may constantly be trying to get in it. Summer heat can send insects inside searching for a water source, and colder winter months will drive them inside seeking warmth. No matter what time of year it is, you can get rid of these unwanted guests from your garage. Preventing the insects from getting in the garage in the first place is desirable, but you also need to kill the ones already taking up residence.