Bug-Proofing Your Shed
Everyone wants to lend a helping hand to wildlife but it takes a strong character to put up with scurrying mice, spider infestations and rats gnawing at your favourite cushions in the shed. Keep wildlife alive and kicking in the garden, but always make your shed a bastion of cleanliness.
The first thing you need to do when making your shed bug-proof is to clear the shed of its entire contents and stand back. What do you see?
Be honest, many sheds that are already patched up may be beyond further repair. Every garden structure has a life-span. If that is the case there are plenty of options for replacement. You can go from simple such as this 5x3 Forest Garden Overlap Shed ...
...to a more heavy duty shed or workshop such as the 16x18 Champion Heavy Duty Reverse Apex Workshop.
And it is a well-worn line, but there is a shed for everyone and every budget.
After clearing all the debris and detritus from your shed, you reckon the structure is sound enough to repair, then here’s a few pointers to making it bug-proof:
Empty Your Shed
Thoroughly clean everything you want to put back into the shed. It’s wasted effort plugging gaps and then simply reintroducing a nest of spiderlings or a dormant mouse back into a comfy environment. Obviously it’s essential to do all this essential cleaning on a sunny day when rain isn’t going to thwart your efforts.
Once cleaned and dried they are ready to be stored again, but only if your shed is ready. This is also a great chance to throw away opened paint cans and anything.
Check your empty shed for holes. Look for holes in the floor and ceiling. Sheds get a lot of hard knocks and over time - with lawnmowers being slammed down and garden furniture hurled in during heavy summer storms- and it is understandable that wooden flooring is damaged. Smaller holes can be patched. Cut away sections to sound wood and replace with new timber. Same goes for ceilings.
Roofs are often covered with felt and this will degrade over years of service. Cut away pieces of mineral felt that have become brittle or torn and replace. Better still, remove the whole lot, because let's face it, if a section of felt is degraded the rest isn't far behind, and replace to ensure a snug roof to your shed. It’s easy to do - just a day when the latest storm isn’t passing through through. Get yoursef more felt here.
Alternatively, take the mineral felt off (small pieces placed on the soil around your veg plants can dissuade slugs and snails) and replace with this: Skyguard EPDM Garden Building Replacement Covering. It has a whopping 50 years guarantee against ripping, becoming brittle and everything else mineral felt does. It’s a few quid but if the rest of your shed or workshop is in good nick then it is a great way to revamp and protect the building.
Gaps can appear around shed windows. Invest in some draught proofing or strips of wood to block gaps. The same can be done around ‘leaky’ doors.
Individual lengths of rotten tongue and groove walling can be replaced with new wood easily enough. Chances are the rotten panels will be at floor level - no doubt the scene of frequent spillages from mowers.
Small gaps where the side and end panels join the floor can quickly be filled using a flexible sealant or caulk (decorators use it to seal around worktops and walls) It will help keep woodlice and spiders out of your shed.
A Tidy, Bug-Free Shed
Once the structure is cleaned and any rotten bits and pieces have been repaired or replaced, all the contents can be put back in. Cleaned and dusted down of course. Think about how they fit into our shed - shelving is a must and will obviously keep items of floors and any potential damp.
Anything that will ‘go off’ or be too tempting to mice, eg seeds, is best in a metal container - which will also blunt the teeth of rodents!
The shed surroundings are important to keeping bugs and bigger nasties away from your precious gardening items. Ensure that the area beneath your shed is clear of rubbish. Be warned - mice can run out at you when you clear this area.
Clear weed growth around your shed to reduce nesting sites for unwanted visitors (but do keep some wild areas in the garden - away from the shed - to ensure your beetle and butterfly populations are high).
Never stack wood or pots directly against the sides of your shed as this will encourage rotting. Leave a small breathing gap for good air circulation.
FInally there are the legends and mystery of using certain products to deter bugs.
Conkers - are spiders really scared of them?
Peppermint oil - diluted and sprayed around your shed could discourage creepy crawlies (and before you comment I know that many people like spiders and such, and that they, the spiders, have an important place in the ecosystem).
The smell of chilli oil is said to deter mice. The list goes on….but do any of them actually work?
Surely it’s better to stop the critters getting into your shed in the first place?