How to Keep Bugs Away From Your Boat: 3 Tips & Tricks

December 2, 2021
boats that have had pest control done, to keep bugs off boat
Keep bugs away from your boat with Nozzle Nolen marine pest control.

While bugs may not seem like a major concern for most boaters, the simple fact is that South Florida’s weather enables insects to look for a variety of places to make colonies and nests. If you want to protect your investment, you will want to make sure that you know how to keep bugs away from your boat to prevent damage and potential infestations.

How to Keep Bugs Away From Your Boat: Drywood Termites

Whether you have a vintage boat made of gorgeous teak and mahogany or a modern fiberglass boat with a Plywood or Balsa core, Drywood termites don’t discriminate when they have found a food source. In fact, these damaging pests can be bad news for any exposed wood on your vessel. To prevent them, you will want to make sure that: 

  1. All exposed wood is stained or painted.
  2. You make repairs to cracked or splintered wood.
  3. You keep an eye out for termite swarmers.

There are four ranks of termites, including the king and queen, soldiers, workers, and swarmers. Swarmers are the only type that can fly and will do so in search of a new place to start a colony. Once they have found a place, which hopefully is not your boat, their wings will drop, and you may find them near the new colony. Another sign you may have termites aboard is kick-out holes where they will eject frass or waste that looks like sawdust or pellets, which can come in any color depending on the color of the wood. The holes will be the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, so it can take careful inspection to spot them.

Cockroaches and Ants

Cockroaches and ants are both opportunistic creatures, so the best way to keep them away from your boat is to eliminate any reason for them to come aboard. You can make sure they have little to find on your boat with the following tips.

  1. Eliminate food sources – Whether you run charters or just have snacks on board for guests, there are a variety of things that can appeal to these insects. So, make sure to hose down decks for any remnants from fishing, and be sure to collect food scraps and crumbs that may have dropped on seats or the floor.
  2. Reduce standing water where possible – Sunlight will do a lot to take care of this issue, but if you have a cabin or wells, then you need to keep an eye out for standing water that can attract these pests.
  3. Consider the old sailor’s tricks – Whether they work or not, you may want to give some natural remedies a try. Crushed bay leaves and cloves have been known to repel these pests because they cannot stand the smell of the essential oils. Given that most sprays are also toxic to aquatic life, this could be a better option. It certainly cannot hurt and is good for, if nothing else, establishing a routine of checking lockers and areas of your boat that can appeal to these insects.

Treatment Options When Keeping Insects off Boats Fails

No matter how hard you try, it’s still possible for insects to get on board and cause you problems. There are three general kinds of treatments available, depending on how extensive the problem is and what type of bug is behind your boat’s issue. Generally speaking, a pest control expert trying to help you keep insects off your boat may try:

  1. Spot treatments – If there isn’t a major issue or infestation to deal with onboard, spot treatments will work.
  2. Heat treatment – Heat treatments are effective by raising the temperature to a level that bugs cannot survive. However, high heat can put the electronics on board at risk.
  3. Fumigation treatment – This is another great option, but can leave traces of pest control solutions on your boat.
Nozzle Nolen has tented the boat to keep bugs away from the boat
Tenting on the water is a convenient and effective way to keep bugs away from your boat.

An experienced pest control technician may decide that whole-boat fumigation is the best course of action. This may be either tape-and-seal treatments or tenting, which can be done on or off the water in most circumstances. 

Get Help With Infestations From the Experts

Nozzle Nolen has served South Florida for 70 years, and we understand how important being able to take to the water is. Our marine pest control expert team has decades of experience providing full-spectrum treatments. Whether you have termites, roaches, ants, or something else, we can offer spot treatments and tent treatments for effective pest elimination no matter where your boat is located.

The Nozzle Nolen team loves educating as much as we love ensuring you have a pest-free vessel. If you have an active infestation and need treatment, or would just like more information on how to keep bugs away from your boat, call us at 800.226.6536 or Contact Us. We look forward to serving you.

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