Suspect all openings as insect entry points


August 8, 2016

How small a hole is required for insects to enter a building? We frequently look to doors, vents and openings around pipes and cables, but are those the only entry points?

Many of the occasional invaders that enter buildings reside under the slab and enter through openings in the substructure. Many kitchens, food plants and other commercial facilities rely on high-tech epoxy floor coatings to seal the environment. Often, the people who apply and/or maintain them have little understanding of the size of breach necessary to let in pests.

In Fig. 1 and its inset close-up photo, Fig. 2, take note of a small chip in the epoxy. It is big enough to allow an earwig to squeeze through. There are many other small insects and arthropods that can also come through this opening. To be sure, this particular opening happens to be perfectly placed to provide entry for invading pests, but it can hardly be known by looking at it. For this reason, every opening should be suspected. Make recommendations to the customer to fill the gaps.

Contributor Mark Sheperdigian, BCE, can be reached at


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