Animal and insect pests enter homes when access to favorable environmental conditions, shelter or food exist. Eliminating these attractions and blocking entrances can be done at low or no cost and can reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides or traps, depending on your particular situation.
- Remove all items from the garage, sweep the floors and use a portable fan to dry any areas with obvious moisture, if necessary. Moisture can attract certain insect species, and wood, pipes, furniture, clothing, boxes and other objects can offer shelter for small animals and insects.
- Inspect walls, windows, storage eaves and the roof interior with a flashlight to find cracks, holes and other openings and to identify existing insect or animal pests. Animals may not be apparent, but the presence of deceased pests, sawdust, droppings, spiderwebs, wasp nests, chew marks on weather insulation, plastic bags, wood, cloth or wires are telltale signs of animal visitations or current residents. Make note of areas requiring attention in a notebook for reference and planning.
- Remove existing insect pests by applying pesticides or catching and releasing pests with a broom and dust pan or sturdy bag or box. For large insect infestations or nests, pesticide application or consulting a pest control company are recommended.
- Call a pest control company if larger animal pests are present or suspected, as some animals carry diseases and all can bite or scratch if not handled properly. If small rodents are the problem, set baited mechanical traps, adhesive traps or poison bait stations in garage corners or near suspected entrances.
- Block entrances in walls, foundations, roofs and around windows and doors with silicone caulk. Use masonry sealer for larger openings in concrete, stone or brick areas. Block holes in window screens with a screen repair kit available at home supply stores.
- Remove food attractions by cleaning cooking grills regularly and using covered trash containers. If possible, keep food waste out of the garage until trash pickup day.
- Apply insect or animal pesticide powder, spray or traps (optional) around interior and exterior walls, windows, doors and roof eaves. Use pesticides and traps intended for pests you have identified or are most likely to enter your garage. Apply pesticide spray or powder across the garage entrance to form an insect pest barrier.
- Replace items in the garage you have removed and discard those that are unnecessary, to keep clutter to a minimum. Avoid blocking access to traps for periodic inspection and replacement.
- Inspect weather stripping on the top, bottom and sides of the garage door, windows and entrance doors. If any door or window appears damaged or you can see daylight when closed, replace the weather stripping.
- Reapply pesticides and replace used or unused traps as often as recommended by the manufacturer. Instructions and recommendations will be printed on the package.
Things You Will Need
- Silicone caulk
- Masonry sealer
- Indoor/outdoor insect repellent spray, powder or traps (optional)
- Rodent poison or traps (optional)
Consider installing shelves or cabinets to keep your garage neat and organized. This will reduce nesting areas and promote air-flow for moisture control.
If moisture is a persistent problem due to roof, wall or foundation leaks, consult a contractor to fix the problem.
Pesticide use in many areas is heavily regulated. Use only commercially available pesticides approved for your location or consider natural or safe alternatives.
Keep pet food and birdseed in sealed containers rather than bags that can be chewed through by unwanted visitors.
Keep children and pets away from traps, bait stations and areas treated with pesticides.
Do not attempt to trap or remove larger or potentially dangerous animals (for example, rats, snakes, opossums, raccoons, squirrels) or insect nests (for example, wasps, bees, biting spiders). Call a pest professional for evaluation and treatment.
Follow local ordinances before setting animal traps or catching and releasing animals. Some municipalities have strict guidelines on dealing with some animal species, so call your town hall for specific information in your neighborhood.
Follow all pesticide application instructions, warnings and health advisories printed on the package.