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In order for insect pests to establish a lasting infestation within a home, the home must provide the environmental conditions that the insects require to survive. For example, since subterranean termites require moisture in order to survive, they can only establish infestations within moist structural wood. This is why moisture problems often exist within homes that become infested with subterranean termites. In many cases, subterranean termites are found infesting structural wood that has become damp due to plumbing or rainwater leaks, or insufficient crawl space ventilation. Insect pests require at least one of three conditions in order to survive and reproduce indoors. These conditions include: favorable temperatures, abundant food and water, and/or available shelter, nesting or harborage sites.

Most insect pests that can live out their entire life cycle and reproduce within homes require excessive moisture in order to maintain an indoor presence. Insect pests that are known to establish harborages within moist indoor areas include cockroaches, subterranean termites, most ant species, silverfish, and crickets. Excessive moisture also leads to the growth of fungus and mold, which many insect pests rely on as a primary food source. Indoor areas where high moisture conditions are common and provide ideal harborage sites include attics where water leaks from damaged roofs, wall voids and floor voids that contain leaky pipes or water from showers or dishwashers, and basements and crawl spaces where moisture easily becomes trapped due to poor ventilation and abundant vegetation around foundations. Water can also pool behind improperly installed siding, and clogged gutters, heavy irrigation, and inadequate downspouts can lead to indoor moisture problems.

Insect pests like cockroaches and several fly species frequently locate food within garbage disposals, garbage bins, and food scraps beneath appliances. Drain flies and fruit flies feed on decaying organic matter that accumulates in showers and sink drains. Spiders often congregate in wall voids to feed on dead insects, and blow flies feed on rotting rodent carcasses that tend to collect within wall voids and crawl spaces. Spilled beverages and unrinsed cans and bottles in recycle bins provide sustenance for a variety of fly species, especially fruit flies and many insect pests readily feed on pet food. Making sure that food and pet food is well sealed within containers, keeping lids tightly sealed on garbage bins, rinsing recyclable containers and regular sanitation will go a long way to prevent insect pests from invading homes.

Have you ever found roaches on dirty dishes in your sink?