Pests in your garage could be a problem that you might face at any time of the year. When you treat your lawn or experience harsh weather conditions, insects can hide within your property and avoid extermination. Since these little intruders like to hide in dark, damp places, you need to inspect every part of your property to find them before an infestation breaks out.
If you catch bugs and rodents inside this part of your home, especially if it’s attached to the house, you can prevent them from taking over your entire property and making you and your loved ones sick. Controlling the pests that may come into the garage will also protect the valuables that you store there, including your car. Explore the seven ways to drive away bugs in your garage.
Common Garage Bugs and Pests
To guard against a potential infestation, you need to know what pests to look for as you inspect your property. Here are some common garage bugs and rodents that could make your garage their home:
- Mice or rats: Rodents will invade your garage in the winter to stay warm and protect themselves from the snow and ice. They can sneak into the home through gaps in the walls and even hide inside the hood of your car. Once they’re inside, they can chew through wires and boxes, and they’ll leave behind bacteria-filled fecal pellets and urine.
- Crickets: During the warm, dry months of the year, you might find crickets in your garage. These insects can destroy your clothes or fabrics and make annoying chirping noises throughout the day. You may have a hard time finding and catching them on your own because they jump and hide, especially when they feel threatened.
- Spiders: You may encounter spiders in your garage because they tend to feed on other common pests, such as flies and mosquitoes. They also enjoy dark, secluded areas where they can set up camp and lay eggs. Once they multiply, they’ll go to different parts of your property until they’ve infiltrated the whole place. You might not notice a spider infestation right away because they travel alone and wander stealthily throughout the house.
- Raccoons: These pests can wander into your garage if you store garbage or other food sources inside, and you leave the door open. If you find one in your property, it’s probably about to give birth and is looking for a place to take care of its babies. Raccoons are dangerous to try to handle on your own because they carry rabies and other viruses.
- Flies: You might discover flies in your garage if you store your garbage inside, the door is open or the wind carries them there. They usually fly through the air and rest on walls, window sills, furniture or floors. If there are enough of them in the garage, you may discover fecal matter in places where they’ve landed.
- Ground beetles: The most common beetle to come inside your house is the ground beetle. These insects are nocturnal and can either crawl or fly into gaps and cracks throughout your garage. Even though they eat worms and slugs that can damage your yard, you should get rid of them quickly because they can infest your house in large numbers.
- Silverfish: These occasional househole invaders feed on cardboard boxes, paper products or glue that you store in your garage. Once they’ve safely made it inside your property, they’ll tend to hide in cracks, underneath shelves and in corners. You might not notice silverfish right away because of their speed and superb ability to keep hidden. Unless you have preventative measures in place, these insects can cause a tremendous amount of damage before you even know you have them in the house.
- Sowbug: These small crustaceans typically stay in very moist places. You would find hide them hiding around your home or coming in through gaps in the garage door. If you find several sowbugs inside, you probably have a bunch of them in your soft soil.
- Ants: If you have ants in your garage, they are likely carpenter ants, odorous house ants or pavement ants, and you would have to treat each type of ant differently. Carpenter ants eat wood and make nests inside your walls, and pavement ants can mine into your concrete floor. Odorous house ants create nests under debris, so you might not find them at first.
- Termites: If you have termites in your garage, you may find them inside vulnerable areas where you may have moisture damage or wood materials. Termites are some of the most destructive pests in the country, breaking down your walls, baseboards and cardboard boxes.
- Snakes: A snake can slither into an open garage at any time. This animal is often looking for rodents or insects to eat, so if you have an infestation of another pest, it could attract snakes. In extreme temperatures, these pests may also come inside to cool or warm themselves.
- Birds: If you leave your door open, you may accidentally have a bird fly into your garage. You should keep this opening shut when you’re not using it to prevent bird poop on your tools, cars and other equipment.
How Do You Keep Bugs Out of Your Garage?
The pests in your garage can infest the rest of your living space and harm you and your loved ones. If you’re concerned about getting an infestation in your property, here are seven ways to keep bugs out of your garage.
1. Remove Existing Pests
Before you prevent bugs and rodents from coming into your property, you need to remove any pests that are already in there. Insects you already have could multiply or attract other, more intimidating creatures, so you should inspect your property to keep spiders and other pests out of your garage. Examine every corner and wall for scratch or chew marks, holes, insect body parts, damage to your belongings or nesting holes.
If you find any signs of activity, try to identify the pest so you can figure out the proper extermination method and check for hiding places. Eliminate the pests on your property with pesticides, sticky traps or eco-friendly methods. A pest control company can also deal with any bug or rodent you find in your garage.
2. Clean Your Garage
Bugs and other pests tend to hide in the clutter and grime around your garage. After getting rid of any critters you currently have, clean your floor, walls and doors. Dry damp areas with a towel or portable fan and repair the window leaks or dripping pipes that caused the moisture. Reduce the humidity in the air by providing enough ventilation and removing standing water from inside and outside your property.
Clear away the clutter from your garage that could be a breeding ground for pests. Mop the floors to get rid of sweet, sticky residue. Seal your garbage and food in airtight containers to prevent the smell from getting into your property. Sweep away spiderwebs along the corners of the walls.
3. Check for Cracks and Fill Them
Most pests come into your garage through gaps in your walls, doors and windows. Since they’re so small, they can even fit through small holes that you can barely see. Check your concrete floor and foundation for cracks, and seal any you find with silicone caulk.
Fill the bottom edge of the garage door with weatherstripping or a rubber seal to prevent insects from entering between the door and floor. When looking for weatherstripping, try to find a product that’s as close as possible to your door’s size. Besides keeping out pests, this material can also make your home more energy-efficient.
4. Remove Food Temptations
The pests that come into your garage are probably looking for food. If they find any crumbs or smell pleasant odors, they’ll establish their home near where they can get nourishment to survive. Get rid of any tempting substances that could attract insects and rodents inside your property.
When storing food, including treats and meals for your pets, use an airtight container and keep it sealed when not in use. Clean and dry your grill before putting it in the garage so that the smells and residue don’t entice bugs or rodents. After you’ve fed your pets, clean out their food bowls and put them away for the night.
5. Check Your Garage Door
Since pests and bugs can sneak in through openings throughout the house, double-check that your garage door is in working order. You should also clean it and wipe away debris at least once a year. It should close entirely without leaving a gap from the ground, but if it doesn’t close all the way, replace the weatherstripping.
Check the entry for cracks or other signs of damage and fill them with silicone caulk. All the insulation and weatherstripping on your garage door should be tight and intact to keep out pests. If it has windows, check that each one has an adequate seal and no signs of damage. You may need to have the door repaired if it makes an unusual sound.
6. Spray Bottom Baseboards and Lay Traps
You can apply pesticide or eco-friendly powders along the perimeter of your garage to kill insects and rodents that come into contact with it. Sweep up the dead bugs after you’ve finished spraying them. If it rains, you’ll have to respray the site. Be careful using this method if you have young children or pets that could touch or play with the pesticide.
Laying down manual sticky traps is a safer DIY method if you have kids or pets. Place these devices throughout openings to the garage to catch the pests that come inside. You can also place bait traps outside, especially around anthills you may find. Check and replace them each day.
7. Get Rid of Cardboard Boxes and Other Clutter
Termites and other insects can seek shelter around and eat through cardboard boxes. If you have these items in your garage, get rid of them and check them for signs of bug activity. Use plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes so the pests won’t eat through them or try to seek shelter.
Aside from cardboard boxes, you should store your items off the floor. Protect your valuables and repel unwanted guests by reducing clutter throughout the garage. Instead of keeping your paper or clothes in piles where animals and pests can hide, put your belongings on wall shelves or store them in airtight containers.
Do Bug Foggers Work in the Garage?
Bug foggers are not as effective as other pest control methods. Foggers usually go in the center of a room and release their contents upwards. The fog doesn’t always reach into the gaps and corners where pests tend to hide, but it contaminates the air and makes your home unsafe for you and your family.
If you chose to fumigate the pests in your garage with a total release fogger, you’d need to follow these safety precautions:
- Vacate your home after you’ve initiated treatment.
- Only use the number of cans that you need according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Avoid using foggers near ignition sources.
When to Call a Professional to Keep Bugs Out of the Garage
Some bug issues are easy to handle with DIY methods, such as sealing cracks or laying down traps. However, you should consult a pest control specialist in any of the following conditions:
- You’re dealing with a dangerous pest: Bees in or around your home can sting you and leave harmful sores on your skin. Depending on the type, spiders can also be poisonous or can bite you and your loved ones. If you have pests that could put you and your family at risk, you should contact a professional pest control specialist to handle it instead of trying to take care of it yourself.
- The infestation keeps coming back: A recurring infestation of the same insect or rodent means that you probably didn’t eliminate them the first time. You should get some advice from a professional to tackle all the areas where these pests could be hiding so you know your property is clean and safe.
- The pest is large and intimidating: Rodents are large and carry disease, and they multiply quickly. You should call a professional to deal with the mice or rats in your garage as soon as possible.
- You have young children or pets at home: The chemicals and traps you use to treat the pests in your garage could also harm your pets and children if they accidentally ingest or play with them. Contact a specialist to take care of handling your property so you can keep your loved ones healthy.
At Spectrum Pest Control, Inc., we use a non-invasive residential pest control approach that allows us to spend less time on your property. We offer year-round pest control services to prevent the pests from coming back or ever infesting your home in the first place. Our treatment methods are child- and pet-friendly, so you know your family will be safe.
If you live in the Pittsburgh area and would like to take preventative measures to protect your garage from pests, contact us online or call 412-532-1380 to get a free quote for an inspection.