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How to Construct a House to Keep Out Ants and Bugs in Costa Rica

When building a house in Costa Rica, it is important to take into account the fact that ants and other bugs are prevalent here. There are a few things you can do to construct your house in such a way that these pests are kept out.

In this article, i want to talk about the 5 concepts you need to include in your design if you want to keep ants and other bugs out of your house.

  1. Basic Principles
  2. Building Materials
  3. Windows & Screens
  4. Seals on Openings
  5. Keep Foundations Clear
  6. Waterbodies

Basic Principles: Keep Your House Clean

The first and most important principle to follow is to keep your house clean. If you do not provide ants with any food sources, they will not have any reason to come into your home in the first place. This means that you should sweep and mop regularly, and vacuum any carpets in your home. You should also take out the trash on a regular basis and make sure that food is properly stored in sealed containers.

If you wont manage to follow these basics, probably none of the following will save you.

Building Materials

There are certain building materials that are more likely to attract ants and other pests. For example, wood is often treated with chemicals that can be harmful to humans. If you are using wood in your construction, make sure it is properly sealed.

You should also avoid using any materials that are porous or allow for hollow spaces as these can provide hiding places for ants and other pests. This includes materials like gypsum and concrete wall board.

If you are planning to build in a lightweight method in the jungle, it will most likely turn out to become a termite buffet.

Window & Screens

Another way to keep ants and other pests out of your home is to install screens on all of your windows and doors. This will prevent them from being able to enter your home in the first place. Make sure that the screens are made of a material that is fine enough to prevent even the smallest bugs from getting in.

Windows are not of the best quality in Costa Rica and this will not be your best defense against ants but every little bit helps and it definitely keeps out the larger crawlers that might also not be welcome.

Seals on Openings

In addition to screens, you should also make sure that all of the openings in your home are properly sealed. This includes cracks in the walls and gaps around doors and windows. You can use caulking or expandable foam to seal these openings.

Don’t purchase the cheapest windows nor the cheapest doors. There is a widely used door brand called EcoPuertas which will leave you with gaps in the door ways big enough to fit your hand through, no exaggeration. Avoid those.

Keep Foundations Clear

One of the most common places for ants to enter a home is through the foundation. To prevent this, you should make sure that the area around your foundation is clear of any vegetation. You should also keep an eye out for cracks or holes in the foundation and repair them as soon as possible.

Waterbodies

And finally something that probably really only works in Costa Rica but is probably one of the most interesting and most natural methods to keep ants out of your house is to integrate a surrounding water body around your buildings.

This does really only have to be a about 20cm deep pond or moving river that on one hand will cool your building through evaporation, will create extremely nice reflections on your building and inside your spaces, looks super interesting and elegant AAAAND finally will also will act as a mini castle moat to keep any ants away from your building.

Comes with a price and you will need a pump that pumps the water around but if you are OBSESSIVELY DEDICATED to keep ants out, this is your best bet.

I hope you find this article useful and if you have any more questions, just drop us a message here: project@studiooctava.com.

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We are Matt & Rhina, the founders of Studio Octava. Studio Octava Is building residential and hospitality projects all over Costa Rica, This blog is about what we’re are working on, what tools we use as well as about our experiences as architects & developers.

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