The Role of Moisture Control in Attracting Pests

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October 21, 2021

Moisture control plays a huge role in the presence of pests and growth of an infestation. Pests require three things to survive — food, water and shelter. The presence of moisture gives pests one of their three requirements.

While closed crawlspaces help prevent mold by reducing the amount of moisture circulating, they also help prevent pests from gaining a stronghold in the space.

According to Chris Blake, managing partner of Long Island-based Exterminex, which serves New York, New Jersey and all of Nassau and Suffolk counties, moisture control is extremely important when it comes to pest management.

“We always emphasize the importance of keeping things dry, whether it’s commercial or residential,” Blake says. “The moisture can mimic a tropical climate and be conducive to pests, so we tell customers to keep it clean and as dry as possible.”

In Ardmore, Ala., Trent Heard, owner of United Pest & Turf Control, noticed a large portion of his customer base seeking inspections for moisture and pest problems in their crawlspaces. As those requests continued, he realized this was a new business opportunity for his company.

“We’ve been doing them for about six years now, and we’ve been doing it as a need that came up from existing customers inquiring about it,” says Heard. “See a need, fill a need.

“We started realizing we’re doing these crawlspace inspections and finding fungi. Who else is going in these crawlspaces short of a plumbing leak?” he said.

“So many customers asked (about such services), I thought we need to utilize this and help our customers. It just took off from there and the industry has since exploded, especially in the South with the HVAC in the crawlspace and the insulation in the crawlspace. We’re seeing the problems with the hot, humid air coming (into vented crawls).”

Moisture itself is such a big problem in humid areas like Alabama and Tennessee, the areas that Heard’s company serves, that it’s tremendously important to provide this service, he says.

“There’s obviously a huge correlation with pests; it creates conducive conditions if you have high moisture,” Heard says. “We have HVAC, and it creates ideal conditions for the termites. They love moisture; it’s very common we’ll see mud tubes, but not only that, we’ll see several types of ants nesting, a few kinds of roaches…the moisture just creates it.”

Closing a crawlspace eliminates that issue, Heard adds. “You substantially reduce everything if you seal it properly.”

According to Billy Tesh, president of Crawlspace Depot, moisture control is a science-based discussion that needs to be incorporated into the workflow of every service technician who performs crawlspace work.

“This is not opinion, it’s an entomological fact, that most species utilize moisture for part of their life, especially wood- destroying insects; they need it to survive, and a lot of others (too),” says Tesh. “We did a study with glueboards and the results showed that we had a 75-80 percent reduction of pests by eliminating moisture and sealing up areas where pests can enter.

“If you go into the middle of the woods, pests are everywhere and can go anywhere,” he added. “Inside your home, you have windows and doors that prevent free entry, but we are offering a dual protection by dropping the moisture and doing mechanical alterations to help reduce pests from getting into a crawlspace.”