Termites pose an enormous threat to housing structures. Termite damage in the United States amounts to an estimated $5 billion every year. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover termite damage. And these pests can thrive in all states, except Alaska. They can live under the ground, in dry wood, or in nests above the ground.
The termite problem is compounded by the fact that the damage is usually in the concealed areas of the home, making early detection a challenging task. Aside from being diligent in spotting signs of termite activity, including mud or dirt patches, insect wings, and hollowed wood, you must also make an effort to make your home a hostile territory for termites.
Here are the things you can do to keep your home termite free.
Eliminate or Minimize Sources of Moisture
Moisture can draw termites to your home. The more water-filled areas you have around and inside the house, the more you make your home a magnet for termite infestation.
Moisture normally collects around the air conditioner, a leaky faucet or sink, and gutters. Start your termite-free campaign by fixing plumbing and roof leaks. Reduce or eliminate anything that allows water to create puddles near the home’s foundation
Get Rid of Anything that Promotes Contact between Soil and Wood
An example of this is storing firewood by forming stacks against the side of your home. This is a bad idea, most especially if you maintain it as your long-term storage assembly. To prevent stacks of firewood from serving as bridges for termites to infest your home, make sure that the bottom part of the stack is elevated and does not touch the ground. Also, cover the firewood stacks with tarpaulin and inspect them regularly for signs signaling the presence of termites.
Crawl spaces, like the ones under house decks, can lure termites if you stash woodpile and excess lumber there.
Moisture-rich mulch beds placed in contact with the foundation are ripe starting points for termite activity. Termites eat certain types of organic mulch. If you use organic mulch, then you are turning the area around your home into a viable place for termites to live. If you need to use mulch, then it’s best to incorporate several inches of sterile barrier between your home and the edge of the mulch bed.
Use Termite-Proof Construction Materials
A study from the University of California shows that, to prevent termite infestation, sand particles between 10 and 16 in mesh size can be used to replace the soil around the home’s foundation. Termites cannot make their tunnels in sand and reach the wood they intended to eat.
Another option for warding off termites is to put diatomaceous earth around the home’s foundations and crawl spaces. Diatomaceous earth, which is made up of crushed bits of fossilized hard-shelled algae, dehydrates termites.
Treat wooden boards with sodium borate coat. This wood coating kills termites when they attempt to eat the wood.
You can also have Termimesh slipped around the home’s foundation and other possible entry sites for termites. Termimesh is a mesh made of stainless-steel wire.
Finally, to termite-proof your home, use wood types that repel termites. Douglas fir is classified by the Integrated Pest Management Program of the University of California as moderately resistant to termites. Termites also do not like structural lumber from hemlock and spruce.
Armed with these termite-proofing tips, you can avoid the high cost of repairing termite damage.
Larry Bryant know pest control after having grown up in a family pest control business. His articles mainly appear on homeowner websites where he enjoys sharing his insights. Check out the TermiteTreatment.com locations page for more information.