Unwanted Guests in Your Garage
When it comes to pest control, many homeowners focus on the finished living areas of the house, but often forget about the garage. Mice, insects, and snakes are often drawn to this inviting unfinished space, seeking the promise of food or shelter.
The warm light of an open garage, a full trash can, the scent of prey, or even cardboard boxes all can attract pests. While a few ants or even a single mouse might not seem like a big deal, you must nip these pest problems in the bud before they slither or crawl their way into the house.
When winter comes, mice living in the vegetation around a home begin to search for a place to bed down for the winter. A garage makes for near-perfect accommodations, especially if there’s a supply of tasty bird seed, dog food, or grass seed to feast on. Little mouse droppings and holes gnawed in bags of stored seed or food are the most common signs of rodent activity. Take action right away by setting mouse traps, such as these available at Amazon, before they set their beady little eyes on the house.
Of all the pests on this list, none should strike more fear in the hearts of homeowners than termites, which feast on the cellulose in the wood of a home’s framing. While it can take a colony 3 to 5 years to do serious damage, the pests often go undetected for long periods.
It’s imperative to address the problem as soon as you discover termites. Termites cause an estimated $5 billion in damage each year to homes, so it’s best to call in the pros to take out a termite colony in your garage rather than attempt a DIY solution.
Though the sound of chirping crickets might be soothing on a summer’s eve or cool fall evening, it’s less so when Jiminy Cricket’s mating calls are reverberating from the garage at 2 a.m. (Cricket chirps have been measured at more than 100 decibels!)
Since a single cricket can lay hundreds of eggs, you can quickly end up with a veritable cricket symphony in your garage. These 6-legged troubadours love moist, warm areas, so eliminate any damp conditions in the garage to keep them at bay. And if that doesn’t do the trick, try these glue traps (available on Amazon).
One of the best reasons to take care of that rodent problem in the garage is snakes. Snakes eat rodents, so it’s understandable why they would want to slither through that crack by the garage door. And while a snake might solve your rodent problem, few homeowners relish the idea of having a scaly squatter taking up residence in their garage, even if most are harmless.
Keep snakes out by keeping the garage door closed and sealing any cracks or crevices that open to the outside. Expanding foam spray, such as this product from Great Stuff, can do the trick (available from Amazon).
Spiders, like most pests that slither, crawl, or creep into your garage, are in search of two things—food and shelter. If you’re effectively controlling the pest population in your home, chances are spiders will head to the garage in search of insects to feed on. Webs with unfortunate victims caught in them are telltale signs of spiders. Spider repellents are an option, but a better solution is to eliminate the insects they’re feeding on.
If you have rotting wood or wet cardboard boxes in your garage, there’s a good chance you’ll attract pill bugs. These pests, so-called for their pill-like shape, require moisture to survive. They feed off rotting wood or damp cardboard and paper. If you find a pill bug in your garage, take heed. The pill bug’s presence might alert you to rotting framework near the foundation or in the door threshold. If that’s the case, thank the pill bug for bringing your attention to these issues, then send him packing by removing and repairing the rot.
These long slender bugs, which get their name from their silver color, can slip easily into tiny cracks or hitch a ride inside cardboard boxes and plastic containers. Once inside, silverfish will nosh on paper, clothing, pet food, glue, and even other silverfish.
Females can lay three eggs per day, so it doesn’t take long for a silverfish infestation to take hold. While pesticides and glue traps are effective ways to remove silverfish, you also can try some natural options such as essential oils, mothballs, citrus sprays, and cinnamon to drive them away.
While many types of ants can infiltrate homes and garages, few can wreak havoc like carpenter ants. True to their name, these tiny ants like to nest inside wooden structures, turning a home’s framing or wooden shelving into Swiss cheese in the process. Use an ant control treatment, such as this spray product from Harris (available on Amazon), to eliminate carpenter ants.
Of the pests you’ll find in your garage, ground beetles are perhaps the least concerning. They don’t cause structural damage to a garage, won’t reproduce indoors, and do not bite or sting. That doesn’t mean they should be welcome house guests. Beetles are attracted to light, so keep the garage door closed and the light off at night. You also can prevent beetles from getting into the garage by sealing up any cracks or crevices around the door opening.
Few insects can cause a chill to run down a homeowner’s spine like a cockroach. This is due to their large size—many are up to 1 ½ inches long—and the fact that the presence of one cockroach usually means others are lurking. Since roaches can transfer pathogens and cause allergic reactions, it’s crucial to rid your garage of them by eliminating any food sources in the garage and setting up roach traps, such as these from Combat (available on Amazon).
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