Termite pest control is one-way homeowners can protect their property. Otherwise, termites can result in serious problems as they destroy the foundation, furnishings and wood-based structures of the home. But how can you protect your home from a termite infestation?
What are Termites?
Termites are some of the most destructive pests imaginable. They often show little signs of infestation until they have advanced colonies that can easily chew their way through your home. These pests feed on dead plant life including the wood used in the construction as well as cardboard and other cellulose-based material.
The subterranean termite is the most common kind in the States though two others are present: the dry wood and damp wood termites. Subterranean termite control is possible as homeowners employ strategic measures to prevent termites from entering their home.
How to Prevent Subterranean Termite Infestation
Firstly, note that these termites build their colonies underground, often beneath your home. They usually build mud columns along walls to enter your home where they will feed on wood and even books. Understanding this behavior is crucial since it will help you look for signs of termite presence as well as employ measures to inhibit entry.
Disrupt Access Points
To prevent termites from entering your home and wreaking havoc on your wood, block or remove all possible entryways or access points.
- Seal gaps where necessary including cracks in cement and gaps between utility pathways in your home’s walls. Use cement, caulk or grout to seal gaps.
Also, remove wood-to-ground contact as this is one of the key ways in which subterranean termites enter homes. If your home already features wood structures that are in direct contact with soil, there are several options available to help you protect your home from termites:
- If you are constructing a new home, build a concrete foundation and use a sealant or metal barrier to protect your home from termite invasion where wood is exposed.
- Remodel home by using a concrete base to support wooden frames, posts or steps.
- Remove the bottoms from wood latticework
- Ensure wooden sidings, as well as other forms of woodwork, are several inches above ground.
Moisture control is another crucial aspect of termite infestation prevention. Start by addressing moisture near soil since termites find moisture very attractive.
- Keep soil dry, especially soil around the foundation, by reducing irrigation and practicing proper drainage maintenance.
- When leaks occur within your home, fix them immediately. Also, check basement and crawlspaces to ensure leaks or excessive moisture levels are prevented. Check your air conditioner’s condensation lines as well for signs of dripping and fix any issues you detect that would add unnecessary moisture.
Remove the Termites’ Food
Where little or no food source is present, termites are less likely to launch an invasion. With that being said, don’t start removing every sign of lumber. Instead, be strategic in your approach to termite pest control.
- Begin with proper storage of your firewood. Never store firewood or other forms of wood/ cellulose-based material near your home’s foundation. This includes newspapers, cardboard boxes and of course lumber.
- Reduce the mulch in your yard. Where possible, replace landscaping mulch with alternatives that do not contain cellulose.
- Throw out excess wood and clean out wood debris that may be in your crawlspaces.
Monitor Your Home Regularly
With termite infestation costing an estimated $1 billion a year in property damage, it makes sense for homeowners to monitor their homes regularly as they adopt preventative measures. How regularly you do this depends on you. However, be sure to monitor your home based on the following guidelines:
- Check foundation walls, sills and joists for signs of termites. You can detect the presence of termites by looking for this tell-tale sign: narrow pencil-wide tunnels or mud foraging tubes.
- Always check lumber for signs of termites before use. This is especially important in the case of used lumber. If subterranean termites are the cause of wood damage, you will likely notice hollows in the wood. These hollows will be packed with bits of soil and wood particles.
- Look for evidence of swarmers. These reproductive members of the subterranean termite colony can be as numerous as thousands and often shed their wings after they find a mate. You’ll notice the shed wings they leave behind on floors or window sills.
For further information you may be interested in these articles:
Coneheads: A Ravenous and Rapidly Growing Species of Termite