Look Out Below: Controlling Basement Pests

Older basements can present diverse challenges to homeowners--mildew, flooding, and funky odors. One of the most serious problems some homeowners face is basement pest control. Not only can cellar pests weaken your home's foundation by chewing or nesting, they can also carry dangerous diseases. Before calling an exterminator to perform pest control, however, you should first know how to recognize unwanted lower-level guests. So what are the most common types of basement vermin?

Basement Insects

Basements often are home to unwanted insects:

  • Silverfish: flat, carrot-shaped, gray-colored, and quick moving, they enjoy eating glue, wallpaper, and old books.
  • Centipedes: while they're scary looking, most are harmless to humans. Centipedes have many legs, segmented bodies, and long antennae.
  • Spiders: most spiders are not dangerous--in fact, they prey on flies and other annoying household pests. However, some spiders are poisonous, including black widows and brown recluses.

To stop these basement pests from entering your home, caulk holes and cracks around your windows and doors. Also, lock your linens, books, and papers in well-sealed plastic storage containers.

Rat Control

Norway rats, or common brown rats, love cellars. They are typically large and grayish, with blunt muzzles. The University of Missouri reports that Norway rats reside in basements in forty-eight U.S. states. To practice preventative rat control, seal any gaps around the pipes and cables that enter your basement's foundational walls. Also, ensure that your basement's windows have secure screens. Finally, clean up any garbage, food, or debris in and around your basement area.

If you have an especially serious pest infestation, think about hiring a professional exterminator. In addition to quickly and safely eliminating your pest problem, exterminators can suggest strategies to keep future pests under control.


Missouri University Extension, Silverfish and Firebrats

University of California IPM, How to Manage Pests

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