Imagine heading to your storage unit and sliding the door up to discover your boxes and belongings are crawling with bugs.  You could face days of spraying, scrubbing, and tossing items into the trash. After all that effort, you still might bring a few eggs or insects home with you. Don’t let this be you! Take preventative steps when packing your belongings to thwart off hitch-hiking bugs.

Know Your Enemy

Be familiar with the most common insects that invade coastal region storage units.  Knowing this can help you take steps to prevent these critters from taking up residency among your belongings. 

Common pests are:






Use Airtight Containers

Plastic containers with a well-fitting lid are the best anti-pest storage option.  Bugs can’t chew through them and they can’t crawl through gaps, either.  Plastic also doesn’t contain the paper and glue famous for attracting and feeding cockroaches.  This container is best for keeping cockroaches, ants, and spiders out of your stored possessions.

Never Pack Food

Packing food in your storage unit is an engraved invitation for bugs.  Remember, insects are seeking shelter, food and water.  Your unit provides shelter; packing food items sets out a buffet for unwanted guests.  Ants will seek out the food, cockroaches will smell the sugar, and your new guests will be there to stay. 

Elevate to Eliminate

If you must use regular cardboard boxes, it’s a good idea to elevate them off the ground using pallets, crates or shelves.  Cockroaches, silverfish, and spiders seek refuge under boxes and paper, so raising them off the ground will reduce the safety they seek. 

Remove All Standing Water/ Fix Leaks

Silverfish thrive in moist environments, and Coastal Carolina has plenty of moisture.  Elevating your items can protect them from water damage.  Removing standing water cuts off a basic need of insects.  If you visit your storage unit and discover new standing water, contact the administrator and request a repair or a new unit right away.

Clean Before Storing

This is especially true for clothing, mattresses or fabric-covered furniture.  It may seem odd to clean fabric items before storing, but this step can help reduce the attraction of insects.  Removing dirt, oil, grime and old skin cells from your fabric items reduces the particles that bugs can eat.  Wrapping your mattress and clothes in air-tight plastic can prevent bedbugs and other insects from getting into them as well.

Considering climate-controlled storage vs. non-controlled regarding insects can be a close call.  Climate-controlled units are typically housed inside a larger building, which can reduce exposure to outside elements.  However, indoor climate-controlled units also provide more comfortable shelter for insects.  Ask the mini-storage company about their pest control efforts and schedule, but you’re most likely going to make this decision based on what you store – not resistance to insects.  Wood, fabric and art will be safer in a climate-controlled unit where they are protected from Eastern North Carolina’s moisture and summer heat.  A comprehensive list of items that need to be stored in a climate controlled environment can be found at StorageTalk.com.

Eastern North Carolina sees many families moving in and out of the area each year.  A self-storage unit can be a great help in a time of transition or need.  If you pack well, you can bring your belongings home later with less dust, fewer insects and fewer headaches.