According to a survey conducted by Craftsman, American garages store more clutter than cars, with 62% of U.S. adults citing their garages as the most cluttered space in their homes. In this same survey, 36% said their garage is so unorganized they cannot even park their car inside.
When a garage becomes the storage place for tools, bikes, trash cans, and a dumping ground for things no longer wanted, it’s no wonder it becomes an attractive part of the home for pests to set up residence.
Why Pests Love Your Garage
Your garage is the perfect shelter for bugs and rodents. Mice, rats, spiders, cockroaches, flies, silverfish, and more gravitate to garages for several reasons:
- Garage doors are sometimes left open for long periods, so it’s easy for them to get in.
- Some garage doors don’t close tightly, and it takes only a sliver of space for insects and rodents to squeeze in.
- Garages provide shelter from the elements.
- Clutter provides lots of dark corners for pests to hide and build nests.
- Garages are often dark for long periods.
- If you keep trash cans in the garage or an extra fridge, pests can smell their next meal.
- Garages remain uncleaned for long periods.
One thing you can count on is that once these pests are inside the garage, they will choose to live in places that are difficult to access and rarely disturbed. These pests may be living in cracks in your foundation, behind baseboards, under piles of objects, in cardboard boxes, and even in the engine of your warm car — an especially favorite spot of mice. Mice are notorious for making their way into cars and chewing on critical wiring.
The main concern of having pests in your garage is that most of them reproduce profusely, and they have easy access to your main living area. In addition, many of these pests create costly damage and are vectors for disease. Flies alone can harbor more than 65 different kinds of disease-causing pathogens. A garage full of pests is one you are even less likely to want to clean and organize.
How To Get Rid of Pests in Your Garage
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to keep pests from getting into and living in your garage.
- Inspect your garage door. Does it close firmly? Is the weather stripping in good condition, or does it need replacing? Sealing holes and gaps that can serve as a point of entry for insects and rodents is key. If your garage has windows, check their seals as well.
- Keep your trash tightly sealed. Pests are always attracted to places where there is a consistent place to find food. Keeping the trash cans clean will help contain the smell pests are attracted to.
- Clear the clutter. Go through all the belongings you store in the garage and donate, sell, or throw away the things you no longer need or use.
- Make better use of the space. There are so many organizing tools and gadgets to help. Think off the floor. Install shelves and places to hang tools on the walls. Get a ceiling storage system.
- Use plastic bins that seal tight for the things you do want to keep. Not only will plastic bins make it impossible for pests to ruin the things you want, but any pests, such as termites and cockroaches, love to eat cardboard.
- Dust, sweep, and get rid of cobwebs. In the process, you’ll be getting rid of lots of tiny bugs that the bigger bugs feed on.
- Seal the door to your living area. It’s nearly impossible to keep a garage totally bug-free, so it’s important to make sure they can’t move from the garage into your home.
- Add a dehumidifier to your garage. Most insects thrive in moisture and dampness. A dehumidifier will make your garage less hospitable to them.
- Use peppermint oil as a deterrent. Rodents and many insects do not like the smell of peppermint. Keep a bottle of peppermint oil in the garage and spread a few drops around as a natural pest control.
So, if your garage has become a catch-all for a random assortment of unwanted things, set aside some time to clean and organize it. You’ll be surprised at how much space you reclaim.