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Rats, skunks, opossums, and even snakes can enter your home’s crawl space. If left unchecked, these pesky critters can become an infestation. Now you’re wondering about the best way to keep these pests away from your crawl space? We researched for you and reached out to experts to give you this answer.
The first step to removing and preventing pests' access to crawl spaces is to know which animals can enter these areas. For instance, rodent removal often demands different procedures when compared to deterring raccoons. Still, homeowners can reduce the risks of pest infestations by following these steps:
- Close and seal possible entryways.
- Place traps around the crawl space’s perimeter.
- Remove thick vegetation outside the crawl space.
- Fix cracks and holes in crawl space floors and walls.
If you find it tougher than expected to remove and deter specific pests out of your home’s crawl space, you may need the help of exterminators. Keep reading to know more about the possible creatures that may enter your property. We’ll also talk about the different ways to keep away specific pests from your crawl space.
What Pests Could Be In My Crawl Space?
Many animals will exploit different openings to enter your home’s crawl space. Some of the pests you should expect and prepare for are:
Unmaintained crawl spaces can become damp and warm, making them the ideal living conditions for rodents like mice and rats. If these animals take a liking to the subterranean space, they’ll start breeding and turn the area into their feeding spot.
Take note that mice can give birth after 19 to 21 days of pregnancy. Interestingly, one mouse can give birth to 3 to 14 pups and may gestate about 5 to 10 times per year. So, crawl spaces with unhindered access to these rodents can become a plague in about a year.
Dark, warm, and seemingly comfortable crawl spaces can become the perfect living areas for skunks. These creatures often like to forage food from lawns and garbage bins, then bring their edibles into crawl spaces. The result is a crawl space filled with trash, which can leave a foul stench to enter your home.
Raccoons are typically exploration-loving animals, many of which wouldn't mind entering crawl spaces. These animals may then make these dens nesting areas to bear and raise their litter. It also means that crawl spaces can become a raccoon's bathroom, increasing the risks of structural damage, particularly for insulation.
If you live in an area where snakes are fairly active, expect to have these reptiles attempt entering your crawl spaces. Many snakes see these locations as places of rest. Others see crawl spaces as hunting grounds to feast on unsuspecting rodents.
How Do I Keep Critters Out Of My Crawl Space?
Solutions for removing and preventing pests out of your crawl space depend on the critters under your abode. In this section, you’ll learn how to deal with specific crawl space critters and reduce the risks of these animals entering your home.
If your crawl space has rats or mice infestation, you may want to call a certified exterminator immediately. Many rodents are fairly smart and can remember faces. These pests may exact revenge on the people that harmed them or their kin.
You can protect your household from a rodent infestation by following these steps:
- Seal entryways. Rodents can typically squeeze into tight openings as narrow as ½-inch.
- Place mouse traps near exterior walls. Entice rodents with food like cheese or peanut butter to lure them out of hiding.
- Remove plants near the crawl space. Rats and mice generally prefer traveling under the cover of thick foliage.
- Repair cracks and holes. Use appropriate sealing solutions to crawl space floors and walls to prevent rodent entry.
Additionally, remove garbage left behind by rodents and other pests in your crawl space. Leftover trash may emanate a pleasing smell that may attract rats, mice, and other critters into your property.
You can also run a dehumidifier in your crawl space to help eliminate excess moisture. The extra dampness may lure rodents to enter your home. Read our post on this matter for more information.
Furthermore, watch the video below to help you identify the signs of a crawl space rodent infestation:
Take note that skunks can become aggressive. Therefore, if you see signs of skunks taking refuge in your crawl space, don't engage with it and seek help from professional exterminators. Otherwise, these critters can bite, scratch, or spray their putrid body-liquids on you.
Still, you can remove skunks from your property with minimal risk of alarming them. The instructions for this operation are:
What You’ll Need
- Spray-proof skunk trap
- Bait food (e.g., sardines)
- Plastic tarpaulin
- Search for the skunk's entry point that the animal used to enter the crawl space and seal it.
- Make noise as you enter the crawl space to let the animal know of your presence. Despite the critter’s aggressiveness, a skunk may prioritize hiding over fighting.
- Place the spray-proof trap about 3 feet from the crawl space door.
- Place the bait food in the trap. Cover the trap’s opening with leaves and twigs to make it as inconspicuous as possible.
- Check the trap at least once a day to see if the skunk is now in the container.
Once the skunk is in the trap, ensure that the animal is calm before transporting it. At this point, you can give the critter to exterminators for them to deal with the animal safely and appropriately. Otherwise, drive at least 10 miles away from your home and release the skunk into the wild.
Watch the video below to gain more information about the steps for a crawl space skunk removal:
Raccoons are usually intelligent, nocturnal animals with the tendency to cause destruction and mess in properties, especially in crawl spaces. However, these creatures generally dislike strong smells, which you can use to your advantage to keep them away from your property.
Some of the scents that raccoons hate are:
- Hot pepper
- Epsom salt
- Garlic juice
If you’re going to use peppermint to deter raccoons, you can dip cotton balls into a bottle of peppermint essential oil. Then, place the balls in strategic locations across your crawl space. Otherwise, dispersing the scent with an essential oil diffuser should also help keep these creatures away.
The strong smell coming from chemical pesticides may also help remove raccoons and insects from crawl spaces. Read our post on using a bug bomb in a basement to learn more about this product’s usage.
How Much Will It Cost To Get Rid Of Rats?
Homeowners should expect to pay about $200 to $800 to remove rats from their abodes. However, overhead for expert exterminators may go as high as $1,200 for severe rodent infestations.
Some pest-exterminating companies may offer monthly or quarterly options for interested customers following strict budgets.
Identifying the type of pests that can nest in crawl spaces is the first step to removing them and preventing their access. If animals like rats, raccoons, and skunks invade these areas, homeowners should follow proper and safe removal operations.
Consulting professional assistance can also be an ideal solution if these tasks seem to be more challenging than expected.