Are Pests Getting in Through Your Home's Foundation?

by Kaia Koglin
Crack in the foundation of the house.

Pests, including bugs and rodents, aren't just annoying. They can also bring disease into your home or damage your furnishings, appliances or even the structure of your house. Unfortunately, it's highly likely that pests are getting in through your home's foundation. Animals of all sorts find ways to enter buildings looking for food, water or shelter. Figuring out how they get in and cutting off that entrance can help you protect your home and family.

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How Can Pests Get in Through Your Home’s Foundation?

Your foundation isn't airtight. It has to have access points for cables, plumbing and vents at ground level. All these gaps are an invitation for pests to get in and make themselves at home. Additionally, age and weather can cause damage and wear to buildings. This often leads to gaps forming where the foundation meets walls, which are large enough for mice, rats and even small raccoons to find their way inside. Age can also cause cracks in the foundation. Even the smallest gap can be an opening that's large enough for small bugs, such as ants and earwigs.

What Types of Pests Are Most Likely to Take This Route?

Nearly any type of pest can get in through the foundation in your basement. Insects are the most common, as cracks and spaces in the bottom of your home are generally quite small. These pests can include:

  • Millipedes
  • Cockroaches
  • Earwigs
  • Ants
  • Termites
  • Spiders
  • Bees

If the gaps are big enough, larger animals, such as rats and mice, can enter your house. If you're in an area with snakes, they can also enter through relatively small cracks. They're more likely to seek shelter in a home if they need food or are ready to lay eggs.

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Where Do They Go From There?

Where the pests go after entering your house depends on what they're looking for. Termites, along with carpenter ants and carpenter bees, are seeking wood and can do serious damage to your home's structure where walls meet the foundation. Termites eat the wood, while carpenter ants and carpenter bees burrow into dead wood to build their homes. 

Ants, cockroaches and rodents are likely to go looking for food. This means they end up in your kitchen or anywhere food scraps can be found. Cockroaches and ants can set up homes in dark spaces, such as behind the refrigerator or in cupboards, leaving their waste behind. Ants, on the other hand, leave chemical trails for the rest of their colony to follow to find food. This means you're sure to have more of them soon. Spiders are also looking for food. However, they feed on other bugs, so they set up their homes in dark places where they can catch prey. This is often behind larger pieces of furniture, such as a sofa or washing machine.

All pests need moisture to survive, so they look for water. All types of pests can congregate in damp areas, including your bathroom, kitchen, laundry and basement.

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How Do You Keep Pests From Getting in Through the Foundation?

First, you should inspect your foundation for any gaps or cracks. Take time to seal these up. Smaller cracks can be patched with caulk or expanding foam. Larger gaps may need a concrete patching compound. Pay particular attention to where your side wall meets the foundation, as this is a popular entry point for slightly larger pests.

Bugs often need a bridge to be able to enter your home, so keep the area around your foundations clear. Remove debris, such as rubbish and leaves, that bugs can climb on to get to cracks. If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, make sure your wood pile isn't next to the house. This is a popular habitat for rodents and snakes, and they can hide there as they work their way into your home.

You should also eliminate dampness as much as possible. Keep your foundation and basement dry. Water in your foundation also expands when it freezes, giving you more cracks. So, getting rid of moisture can save you from future problems.

Finally, look at a professional prevention service. It's much cheaper and easier to stop the problem from occurring instead of trying to fix problems caused by pests. This is especially true when it comes to termites and other bugs that can damage your home. A professional has sprays that get rid of current pests and protect your home in the future. 

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