Guest Post: Top Ways to Strengthen Your Basement From Outside Forces by Kyle O’Brien

Many basements, especially finished ones, can sometimes be open to insect invasions of the cricket, spider and rodent kind should they be hamstrung in a few vital points of the home.  Home improvement can sometimes be a matter of having the right defenses against pesky insects and/or sealants around the exterior of your home.

Rather than trying to have your exterminator on speed dial, there are many ways to ready your basement, both simple and a bit more stretched out.  Below are four great methods to gain the upper hand:

1.  Traps of the Inventive Nature

If your home hasn’t had the luxury of being greeted by al lovely bunch of crickets known as the Camel Cricket (or Cave Cricket),  then consider yourself lucky.  These wonderfully annoying creatures love to nest in damp, dark and cool basements, breed rather too quickly, are blind and can jump extremely quickly (usually towards approaching homeowners), and love to eat wool or cotton.  They usually will make their home underneath bushels of leaves pressed up against the house, and will try and retreat inside homes as the weather dips.  Once they get inside around the basement, it’s best to get at them quickly before they spawn ridiculous numbers of babies.

You can contain them in a number of ways, but the best one is by setting glue traps along the edges of your basement wall.  These crickets love to eat glue-based products and will naturally scurry along the floor near your basement wall.  And if you can’t purchase a bundle of them from a hardware store, you can always get creative with medium-sized wood slabs and a roll of duct tape.  Just wrap the wood with duct tape facing outward, place them around the edges and watch the crickets jump on board in a matter of days.  Tear off the duct tape strips, apply fresh ones and get ready for round two.

2.  Inspect the Outside of Your Home

Giving the exterior of your home a once-over can help in locating possible cracks and entry points for water and critters.  Make sure the siding is up to par around window sills and doorways and if need be, caulk and plug up any holes.  Invest in weather strips for the air drafts under your basement doorway, a trick that helps block out rodents and insects while helping to insulate your home even more.  And if your basement leads up to your garage, inspect any possible openings that may lead down.  This one’s especially true for cables and other wires that flow towards any electronics in your basement.  If you can’t completely seal the holes, just do your best to make it as tiny as possible via old rags stuffed inside.

3.  Invest in a Dehumidifier

Water leaks are one of the many common snags for basements.  And water is a great attractor for insects such as the aforementioned camel crickets.  Remedy that problem with a dehumidifier to collect the moisture and hopefully repel insects elsewhere.  Dehumidifiers also work to rid the basement of mildew and bacteria growth, giving your basement some added freshness for you and your family to enjoy.

4.  Cleaning Up Around The House

One of the easiest ways to repel insects from your home is simple:  staying on top of house cleaning.  This means vacuuming up loose dirt, food crumbs, syrup-based spills and so on.  I sometimes forget to check back to the basement, because hey, not everyone spends most of their time there.  But when food piles up, the scent trail lingers for insects and rodents to pick up.  Since cleaning up around the house is considered a constant home improvement, it would be wise to follow up and make every area of your home, including your basement, shiny from beginning to end.

Outside of incidents such as hidden foundation smudges and general human error (i.e., leaving the basement door open), there are a variety of ways to make sure your basement is up to par and ready to keep insects out for the foreseeable future.  In the end, patching up your basement and keeping out Cave crickets can be a match made in home renovation heaven. 

Written by Kyle O’Brien


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