You can rent a storage unit at the cleanest, most advanced storage facility in your area, and still, bugs can find their way in. These little critters can be incredibly annoying, and they can be worse than that. If left untreated, bugs in a storage unit can cause significant damage to your property.
Depending on what you’ve got in your storage unit, bugs can pose a real danger. Insects can burrow into soft furniture, lay eggs, and chew up wood. Some bugs will find their way into sealed food and contaminate emergency supplies. They can tear through t-shirts or damage products you store for your business.
No one wants to walk into a storage unit and see roaches, spiders, flies, termites, or any other type of bug. The good news is that small steps you take on a regular basis can keep bugs out and stop them from hurting any of your property.
Here are some things you can do to keep bugs out of your storage unit and your stuff safe.
Take a Look at the Overall Condition of the Storage Facility
People love deals. We all want good value for the money we spend. However, don’t get too caught up in finding the cheapest possible storage solution. That money you’re saving could mean the management or storage facility owner isn’t doing what they should be when it comes to pest control.
As you tour the facility looking for a potential unit, look around and see if you spot any bugs or signs of insects. Red flags include things like overflowing or poorly-kept trash containers, bug droppings, or dead bugs lying around.
While no place is ever 100% bug-proof, how clean the place is will be a good indication that they’re making efforts to prevent infestations.
Ask Management About Pest Control
It’s your money and your property, so don’t ever be shy about asking the management team what they’re doing in terms of pest control. They should have a good, transparent answer for you that includes what they are doing and how often pest control happens.
Visit Your Unit Often
Bugs want to be left alone. They thrive in environments with low foot traffic because they aren’t cowering in a corner somewhere. One of the best things you can do to keep bugs out of a storage unit is to go there regularly to check on things.
The opening and closing of the door, the lights, and the sounds you make will let bugs know that it’s not a safe place to nest. They’ll be less likely to hole up in your unit.
Watch What You Store Inside Your Storage Unit
In addition to the overall condition of the facility, what you keep inside your storage unit will have the biggest impact on keeping bugs out.
Don’t keep anything that will attract bugs. Stay away from any food outside of sealed cans.
Even things you think are air-tight will draw in insects. They can smell things from a mile away. Not only could you find that you’re dealing with insects, but rodents could also become a problem if you store food in your storage unit.
Use Airtight Containers Whenever Possible
Even if you’re not using the storage unit for food, bugs could still find their way in looking for something to eat.
Termites are a great example. They’re not after graham crackers – they want the wood frame inside of your couch.
Whenever possible, keep your items, especially precious items like photo albums, inside of airtight containers.
If you’re storing larger items, think about putting shrink wrap around them to discourage insects from getting inside.
Elevate What’s Inside of Your Storage Unit
Keeping things higher up in your unit will also help discourage bugs from getting in. A great way to do this is to get some pallets to put your boxes, furniture, or business inventory on. It makes it that much harder for bugs to get to and will give them fewer places to hide.
Elevating your storage also helps cut down on moisture inside the unit. Moisture can help insects thrive, so keeping things dry should be a priority.
Tell Facility Management
Your storage unit company, if they are worth their salt, will handle pest control for the overall facility. Additionally, they should respond quickly.
Let the manager know as soon as you see or even just suspect that bugs are in or around your storage unit. They will likely have in-house procedures that they can perform immediately and, if necessary, can contract out to a pest control service to handle things professionally.
Implement Your Own Pest Control Measures
You don’t have to wait until there are bugs in your storage unit (or threatening to get inside). For relatively little cost, you can buy sprays, traps, and other tools to help keep insects out.
Set them at the corners and near things where you feel like they may be attracted to go. Check on them every so often to see whether any bugs are inside your traps. If they are, then you should alert management early on to stop them from becoming a more serious problem.
Check on Your Insurance Policy
If you’ve got anything of value in your storage unit, which is the case for most tenants, then you should have an insurance policy in place to cover anything that may happen to your things.
Most insurance policies cover things like fire damage, water damage, etc., but they should also cover pests and insect infestations.
Anytime you sign for a new insurance policy, you should know what you are signing. Check the box and just make sure that your policy will help if insects become a problem.
Explore Natural Deterrents
Some people don’t want toxins in their storage units. Either they don’t believe in them or they have sensitive items inside the unit that could be damaged if exposed to toxins.
And in many cases, facilities do not allow tenants to store chemicals in their storage units.
Thankfully, there are some natural pest deterrents that you can use that will do the trick. Cedar blocks placed strategically around a storage unit will go a long way in keeping insects out. Likewise peppermint or lavender can help repel most insects.
Sweep Your Storage Unit Regularly
Sweeping the floor and keeping your storage unit clean is one of the best things that you can do to prevent insects from holding up inside. Sweeping will make sure that any crumbs from that sandwich you were eating when you last visited disappear and won’t be a tempting treat for roaches and other insects.
You don’t have to be obsessive about storage unit cleanliness, but a regular cleaning a few times a year, especially if you have business inventory or family heirlooms inside, is always recommended.
These are some of the steps you can use to deter and eradicate any insect infestation in your storage unit. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. The things that you do before insects become a problem will save you a lot of heartache down the road.
Many storage unit owners have to deal with insects and other issues at some point during their contract. Handled well, these tiny pests can be kept to the level of a minor nuisance rather than a full-blown catastrophe. Work with your facility management team and act quickly for the best possible results.