Garage doors seem to be residential spaces that naturally attract pests. They are often dark and windowless, and their more-stable temperatures can often prove enticing for pests. Garages also frequently feature enclosed attic storage spaces, wafting food odors from inside the home, clutter, and entry lights that attract bugs and insects. And, of course, there is the large open space left by open garage doors, which easily allows insects, bats, rodents, and more to find their way into your garage. Garages seem to be built for harboring pests, but that doesn’t mean that pests have to be a nuisance for you. Here is a look at common garage pests and what you can do about them.
Common garage pests
Ants can cause damage to wooden structures due to the nests that they build and their tendency to burrow in wood. They congregate in colonies, making their potential to cause damage that much stronger. You can usually identify ants by seeing them congregate around stray food scraps, or by checking crevices, which usually serve as their paths of travel.
Mice and rats are the most common rodents to take shelter in garages, and their tendency to gnaw on materials like wood, plastic, and aluminum makes them highly destructive. They can also carry dangerous diseases. Signs of a mice or rat infestation include pellet-like droppings and gnawed wood and wiring. Rodents can even nest themselves in engine bays if you don’t use your car very often, so be sure to check under the hood regularly.
Spiders will enter just about any part of the home, and the garage is no exception. The clutter that garages so often see makes the garage an especially enticing place for spiders, and it is in these cluttered spaces that spiders can proliferate very quickly. While spiders don’t necessarily damage your home, that can be a major nuisance, and many have dangerous—even fatal—bites. Spiders are often visible, but you can also identify them by their webs.
Termites live in colonies and chew on wood and other cellulose based materials, so they can be very destructive in the garage. They can be difficult to distinguish from ants since they look very similar; look for straight antennae rather than bent ones to identify termites. Other signs of termites include mud tubes or tunnels on exterior walls, visible wood damage, and hollowed out wood.
Tips for eliminating pests
The good news is that there is a lot you can do to prevent pests from invading your garage. Here are a few good tips to follow:
Maintain your garage door
Most importantly, you’ll want to maintain your garage door regularly from the time it is installed. Many homeowners leave garage door maintenance on the back burner, and this can compromise the tight seal that your garage door creates at the time of installation. Garage doors need to be maintained to ensure that weatherproofing stays intact, parts remains level, and that there remains a strong seal throughout. Be sure to call a garage door specialist if you think your garage door needs a tune-up.
Keep lights off
It’s best to keep garage lights off when not in use, as these lights can attract bugs and insects—plus the pests that prey on these bugs and insects.
Clutter is attractive to many pests because of the the hiding places it can offer, so do your best to keep clutter in your garage to a minimum.
When a pest problem does get out of hand, you’ll definitely want to call a pest control specialist. Keep in mind that some pests, such as birds and bats, are often protected under law and thus can only be removed by trained specialists under certain conditions.