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Basement Floors and Sow Bugs

Posted: 7 Jul 2011 10:15 AM By: marjjella Replies: 5

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  • Basement Floors and Sow Bugs

    My laundry room floor is concrete ( 11 x 15 ) with a drain and has giprock on the walls. Half of it is below ground and half is above ground. On the other side of the basement is a finished recreation room with carpet, dry wallwall and finished ceiling. and a finished space under the stairs. The problem I have is there are sow bugs in this basement. I spray and they die and then come back again. Sow bugs are a sluggish grey fat bug that you find in damp. My basement isn't damp. The carpet is dry, the walls are dry and I've checked the laundry room for leaks around the perimeter and they still keep coming. Would like to resolve this problem once and for all. Anyone with any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Re: Basement Floors and Sow Bugs

    I found this article to be interesting.....



  • Re: Basement Floors and Sow Bugs

    Sow bugs live in the layer between the ground and the grass blades called the "thatch".  Thatch consists of dead grass, leaves and whatnot that's in the process of rotting and becoming "soil".  The sow bugs in your basement are really just bugs that have gotten lost searching for food.

    Two ideas:

    You say you have a laundry room with a floor drain.  Unless you have a sump pit located somewhere else in your basement, that laundry room floor drain is also a "CATCH BASIN".

    A catch basin is similar to a sump pit in that water that accumulates in the weeping tiles around the perimeter of your house's basement wall footing flows into the catch basin instead of a sump pit.  Where I live, the plumbing code requires there to be a p-trap at the bottom of the catch basin, and that p-trap then connects to the main drain line (carrying sewage and other waste water) from the house to the city sewer buried 10 to 16 feet under the middle of the street you live on.

    My guess would be that the sow bugs you're seeing in your basement are crawling down the outside of your houses basement walls, getting into the weeping tiles (cuz the weeping tiles are buried in stones so that water can flow into the weeping tiles easily, and then from your weeping tiles to your laundry room's catch basin.  If you have a steel cover for that catch basin (floor drain), then I'd put a piece of window screen under it, and then stomp down on that cover to hold the screen tightly in place, and see if the problem stops.

    PS:  You don't need to know this, but the reason why they typically located the catch basin in the laundry room is so that the stand pipe the washing machine pumps water into can be connected directly to the side of the catch basin just like the weeping tiles.  That way, during a drought, you refill the p-trap at the bottom of the catch basin every time you do your laundry.  That prevents the p-trap from drying out and awful smelling air  from the city sewer system wafting into your house from the catch basin.

    Now, I own a small apartment block, and I had no end of problems with sow bugs crawling into my basement level apartments on the north west side of the building, where it's always in the shade, and the ground is always damp or moist.  What I noticed was that the ONLY thing that will grow under a coniferous tree (Pine, Spruce, Fir) will be weeds that will grow under the harshest conditions.  What happens is that trees with needles instead of leaves have developed a defence mechanism against faster growing plants that would shade them from the Sun.  Coniferous trees will drop needles as they grow, and as those needles rot in the ground around the tree, they change the ground so that other plants don't do well in that ground.  That ensures that the pine, fir or spruce tree gets an area to grow in that isn't shaded by a faster growing tree.

    And, I realized that if plants don't want to live in the ground under a pine tree, bugs prolly wouldn't want to either.  So, after Christmas one year, I liberated a fair number of discarded Christmas trees, cut their branches off and laid a bed of pine tree branches all along the north west side of my building.  In the spring, the branches were so dry that even walking over them caused all of the remaining needles to fall off, and I collected what was left of the branches and filed them in my dumpster.  Since then, I've not had any more problems with sow bugs.  The rotting pine needles changed the nature of the ground so that neither weeds nor bugs want to live in that ground.  I have landscaping bark along that side of my building now.

  • Re: Basement Floors and Sow Bugs

    It is quite amazing information. Thanks for sharing this excellent post. I would like to visit again. Thanks for the compliment.

  • Re: Basement Floors and Sow Bugs

    I'm very impressed there Nestor- you know when your a landlord, you have

    to be "creative", otherwise you'll go broke hiring so called experts, and

    usually still have to solve these problems yourself. I have sowbugs in a

    property I have and will do this. I was smiling as I was reading your post

    as I "know" it will work. I just have to walk outside and look how barren

    the ground is under the Spruce tree. You know nature is a powerful thing

    and also has posions like cyanide, and arsenic, in some nuts etc, that trees

    bear to discourage rodents from eating them. ( arsenic can be found in apple

    seeds) and cyanide in ( bitter almonds, and apricot pits). I hope your solution

    will work for me. I have a building that's gorgeous, and have built the floors

    up downstairs to prevent water leaking in thru old cracked walls.( like about

    100 yrs old)  The building is fine and I want to keep it, it's just when I build up

    the floors, it traps water down underneath there. You have to concentrate on

    " not allowing the sowbugs in" in the first place, and then it won't matter if

    your basement is damp, as their means of access is thru the ground and then

    thru a crack or whatever, to get in the house-- "great great post Nestor"

                ( a lot of people don't realize the real power of nature)

                                                                                     Bob- in Winnipeg,Canada

  • Re: Basement Floors and Sow Bugs

    Just a note I thought readers would be interested in. I noticed a lot

    of articles that "bedbugs" are making an active comeback in North

    America-- and their not a fun problem. The reason is that they banned

    the use of DDT, which was primarily used to wipe them out. My friend

    has them in his apartment, and they get on his pillow, and everywhere.

    They can bite and leave welts, as I've done my research. They are almost

    invisible, and are very small, so you can hardly see them. They live on

    blood, just like moquitoes. They try to get rid of them by spraying etc, and

    really to no avail. They hide in bedboards, picture frames,seams etc.

       A very interesting guy, here in my city-- in Winnipeg, Manitoba ( Canada)

    has the "right idea"  He basically "roasts them to death"-- he calls it

    baking the suite. He has a big truck and giants fans and heaters set up

    in it, and blows hot air into the suite til it reaches 135- 150 degrees

    Farenheit, as that's the temperature at which they die, and apparently

    it works great-- does a "total kill". If anyone wants me to post more info

    on this subject, just reply to my post, and I'll do just that. ( sleep well)

                                                                                           Bob- Winnipeg- Canada

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