Have you been hearing something scuttling around in the ceiling? Heard scratching sounds coming from your walls? Seen piles of dirt or rodent droppings just outside your home? No, it’s not a horror film. It sounds like you might have rodents living in your crawl space.

Left to live in your crawl space, rodents will gladly take the opportunity to nest in your home where they will likely cause a lot of damage. As if rodents weren’t bad enough, wood-eaters and insects such as termites, cockroaches, and spiders also love the moist environment of an unmaintained crawl space. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your crawl space from rodents and other pests.

What is a crawl space?

A crawl space is an area of the home with limited height (where an individual would have to crawl) between the ground and underside of your house which gives access to plumbing and electrical wiring. A crawl space is like an open door for rodents and other pests to gain access to the interior of your home. Once inside, pests can follow air ducts, electrical wiring, or water pipes into the rest of the home.

You probably don’t visit your home’s crawl space often, which makes it more vulnerable to mold or pest infestations than other areas. If you don’t properly care for it, you may be harming your home without even knowing it!

How can I keep pests out of my home’s crawl space?

Step One: Seal all openings.

Even the smallest hole is enough of an invitation for rodents such as mice or moles. Check both the interior and exterior of the crawl space for holes, cracks, or other openings. Seal everything with caulk, foam insulation, or wood.

Step Two: Spread a vapor barrier.

One reason crawl spaces are so appealing to rodents and pests is because they are often damp. Protect your crawl space from moisture by spreading a vapor barrier such as a thick rubber membrane or strong plastic.

Step Three: Set traps.

Lay traps around the area where you suspect rodent activity. Continually inspect your traps and remove any that have been tripped. When you find that there has been rodent activity, identify the point of entry and seal it.

Step Four: Call a professional for help.

If you believe you already have a pest infestation, it is especially important to call a professional first. Many rodents and pests are known to carry diseases. Whether you’ve tried all or none of these steps, calling a professional can only help. They have experience, knowledge, and tools that you don’t have access to.