Garages make excellent homes for all sorts of pests. Because of their close proximity to the outdoors, pests can sneak into the many exit points of a garage. Those large car door openings offer plenty of space for all sorts of bugs and rodents to enter. And once inside, you might have an infestation on your hands.
Thankfully, you can keep pests out of your garage before an infestation varies. Some methods work better than others depending on the type of garage and your specific circumstances. Depending on your pest you might want to try a specific method. You can use these tips by themselves or all together for the most powerful effect.
Common Pests Found in a Garage
Here are a few of the most common bugs and pests you might find in your garage.
Many homeowners complain about mice, rats and squirrels becoming unwelcome guests in their garage. Rodents can burrow into garaged and wreak havoc on your garage’s structure and any contained equipment. This structural damage paves the way for even more pests to find their way into your garage.
Ants come in a few varieties, each with their own potential issues. Pavement ants burrow into concrete and other pavement, potentially destroying your garage floor. Carpenter ants devour food, posing a risk to your garage’s wall and roof. House ants might not cause any structural damage, but they create unpleasant environments and leave homeowners feeling disgusted.
Spiders might provide a service by killing off many other unwanted pests. Unfortunately, some spiders pose a risk of their own. The brown recluse and the black widow can deliver a bite with enough venom to kill an adult. Even the less dangerous ones can make any place they occupy instantly unappealing to spend any amount of time in.
Termites destroy plant matter in all of its forms including wood and paper. They can chew through your garage walls, destroying its structural integrity. This can end up costing thousands of dollars to repair. Each year, termites cost Americans around $30 billion in damages.
Beetles are one of the more common invasive pests you might encounter in your garage. And with over 30,000 different types of beetle in the United States, it is easy to see why. Some cause damage to foodstuffs and plant materials. So if a beetle colony finds a suitable home in your garage, they pose a risk for your nearby gardens and flower beds.
These little bugs love dark and moist spaces, the kind offered by many unfinished garage areas. You can avoid sowbugs by allowing for proper ventilation in your garage to keep it dry.
Perhaps the most annoying of all bugs, flies can make spending any time outside a pain and a chore. Not only will they annoy you, many flies carry and spread diseases, mosquitoes being the most infamous culprit. Flies can deliver irritating bites which may spread illness such as malaria, typhoid, cholera and a painful rash. Because they can fly, keeping them out might pose a challenge.
Silverfish live in dark, moist environments, much like sowbugs. Unlike their mostly harmless conhabirator, silverfish can pose a significant threat to plant products, especially wood. They commonly tear up books and wallpaper wherever they hatch an infestation. Keep an eye out for holes in paper from feeding marks and yellow stains, as these may indicate silverfish presence.
What Attracts Bugs and Pests to a Garage?
Garages offer protection from the elements for many species of pests and bugs. During the winter they provide heat and during the summer they offer shade.
They Simulate Natural Environments
In many cases, garages can recreate the natural conditions many pests need in order to thrive. As seen above with silverfish and sowbugs, garages accidentally create the exact habits pests are best suited for. Plus, cluttered garages offer plenty of hiding space for bugs to make nests in.
Spending a lot of time in your garage fills it with all sorts of smells a bug loves. Smells from food such as those of the snacks and meals you enjoy in your garage as well as the smell of wood attracts all sorts of bugs and pests.
11 Ways to Keep Pests Out of Your Garage
1. Get Rid of Any Current Pests
Begin your journey towards a cleaner and healthier garage by clearing out any current pests. Bugs thrive in an ecosystem, so clearing out one pest might kill off another one, or at least make your garage less enticing. Additionally, some pests cause structural damage making it difficult or impossible to seal off any cracks and holes. This makes it easy for more pests to find a way inside.
Depending on the pest you will need to take a certain action. You can eliminate most bugs with the appropriate bug spray so long as you get all of their nesting points. For more serious or extensive infestations, you may need to hire a professional pest control company.
2. Clean Your Garage
Bugs and other small pests love to hide in nooks and crannies. Give them less space to live by clearing the clutter. Store as many items as you can off the ground or in cabinets and drawers. This way pests will not have anywhere to hide and you can spot them more easily if they do get inside.
You can also clean out any potential foodstuffs which attract pests. A clean garage contributes greatly to its safety beyond eliminating the likelihood of a pest infestation.
3. Check Garage Door
A big garage door offers the right sized entry point for all sorts of pests. Make sure your garage door closes all the way and provides a solid seal. Even the smallest crack can provide the base for a bad infestation.
4. Garage Door Maintenance
Wear and tear from regular use might cause your garage door to fail in keeping the bugs out. Check the crevices between individual partitions of your door to make sure they create a seal. Additionally, make sure your rail system and lift work as intended to keep the door opening and closing as desired. If your door gets stuck open for even a few minutes it allows the perfect opportunity for scores of pests to sneak right in.
5. Place Traps
Pests such as termites and rodents make their own entry points. For these critters, a well placed trap keeps an unwanted visitor from starting a colony. You can use mouse traps and bug traps at possible entry points. Just make sure you change out bait as needed to make sure the traps continue performing as intended.
6. Remove Food
A hungry pest might stop at nothing to get to an untapped food supply. As enticing as it is to keep food around your garage workspace, use se
7. Check for Cracks and Holes
Sometimes bugs find their way in even through the most tight sealed doors. Rodents and termites make their own entry points. Bugs can squeeze through even the smallest cracks, so do not let any crack go without sealing it. Use the sealant of your choice, whether it be caulk, paint or another building material.
8. Spray Baseboards
You can find many preventative bug sprays which create a protective barrier. These sprays often last for several months, solidifying your perimeter. Spray the bottom baseboards all around your garage to keep bugs from crawling in. You can find a variety of commercially available sprays.
Also, many professional organizations offer defensive spraying for all sorts of buildings, garages included. Hiring a professional brings their knowledge and resources with the tradeoff of a higher price.
9. Use Weather-stripping
Weaitherstripping is a type of insulation designed to go around the perimeter of doorways and windows. It works to keep heat in and cold out. However, it can also protect against invading pests. Many bugs find it difficult to chew through weatherstripping’s inedible materials. It gives you a tight fit on doors and windows while keeping your pest control measures well within budget.
10. Look For Anthills
Sometimes an infestation starts outside before it moves inside. Check around the outside of your home and garage for signs of bugs such as anthills. When an ant colony gets an established nest outside of your garage they often launch repeated attacks trying to get inside.
Spray any anthills with bug killer whenever you see them in your lawn or driveway. You will need to spray them repeatedly to kill the entire colony.
11. Get Rid of Cardboard Boxes
Many invasive pests can eat plant material, especially cardboard boxes. Silverfish, termites, ants and rodents will eat cardboard to sustain themselves. Get rid of any cardboard boxes and opt for more secure storage measures such as plastic or metal bins.
Bug and pest infestations can spread to the point where they cause immense property damage. Sometimes an infestation could begin in your garage and end up in your home. Taking the above measures will help you enjoy your garage in both safety and comfort.
Whenever you find yourself the victim of an uncontrollable infestation, call a professional. Check out our blog for more information about garage safety.