How To Prevent Termites
Termites are a homeowner's worst nightmare. These hungry pests will happily chew through thousands of dollars worth of wood in a very short time. They often leave their unfortunate victims with a very large bill or an unsafe property. Thankfully, there are some proven ways of preventing termites from choosing your home as their next meal.
Prevention is a much-preferred method to deal with termites. Once they are in your home, you may not notice until the damage is well and truly done. In this article, we examine which termites pose the greatest risk to your property, and some of the best methods to stop them in their tracks.
What Are Termites?
Termites are colonizing insects usually found in large groups. They feed on cellulose from dead trees, wood, paper, and other similar materials. They do not differentiate between wood which is outside and inside the home.
The most common species of termites which causes problems in the US are:
- Subterranean termites - these are creamy-white to dark brown in color. They create mud mounds for dwellings and mud tunnels and tubes for traveling around.
- Conehead termites - Conehead termites build mud tubes and independent nests on the ground. They forage across the ground rather than underground. They are known to be very aggressive and feed through wood quickly.
- Drywood termites - These do not need moisture to survive and dwell directly inside the wood. They can be transported easily between places in furniture removal vans and cardboard boxes.
- Dampwood termites - As the name suggests, dampwood termites depend on moisture in the wood to survive. They are known to eat across the grain in wood which usually identifies them.
- Formosan termites - They have oblong heads and have soldiers which release a noxious liquid when defending the colony from attack.
Termites usually swarm in spring when the young and reproductive termites leave the primary colony. They fly away in swarms to find mates and make new homes. When they find a suitable location, they shed their wings.
Preventive action against termites is much simpler and cheaper than treatment. Therefore, if you find a pile of discarded wings, this is a sign that a new colony is being formed. You should take defensive action to eradicate them as soon as possible.
In the next section, we look at some termite prevention methods. These measures should help ensure that the troublesome pests do not find their way into your home.
Termite Prevention Methods
There are several methods you can take to prevent termites from establishing themselves in your home. These will differ depending on which type of termite is most common in your state or vicinity.
Home Environment Measures
Creating an environment hostile to termites is a simple and effective method of reducing the chances of termites being attracted to your house. Doing so involves measures such as the following:
Termites, like many insects, dislike sunlight. Ensuring your house is flooded with the sun’s rays during the day can help keep termites at bay.
Other than the drywood species, termites usually need moisture to thrive and survive. They are attracted to wet and damp wood. Due to this, keeping a dehumidifier and dealing with any pipe leaks promptly can also help.
Remove cellulose-based waste from around the home. Any unused wood and cardboard can be very attractive to termites.
Keep on top of general home maintenance. Fill any cracks or holes regularly to prevent insects, including termites, from getting in.
Use proven natural pesticides, like orange oil and cedar spray, as part of your regular home cleaning routine. This can help keep termites away.
Measures Around Your Property
There are also several measures you can take outside the home to help prevent termites from entering.
Firstly, prevent any wood in your home from touching the earth or soil. Termites can easily enter the home via wood that makes direct contact with the ground.
This is especially true for subterranean termites who create mud mounds and mud tubes to get around. Any wooden frames or lattices should be approximately 6 inches above the ground. If this is not possible, then you may need to cover wooden bases with concrete.
Maintaining your garden is also very important. This is because termites dwell in and feed on dead tree stumps and abandoned timber. They could also be attracted to wet and soggy leaves. Investing in a regular gardener or taking up gardening as a hobby will help to keep termites away.
Preventing water accumulation at the foundation of your home is key. Subterranean termites are one of the most bothersome species of termite. Protecting the foundations of your property is considered the most effective method of keeping away these pests.
Furthermore, you could use chemical liquid barriers to protect your property. The most common way to do this is to treat the area around your home with termiticides. These chemicals act as a barrier and prevent termites from getting in or out. There are particularly effective on subterranean termites who travel through the soil.
However, as this involves the use of chemicals, it is worth calling in your local pest control services for advice about the appropriate products to use.
Lastly, you can place bait stakes around your home. These stakes are laced with a pesticide which attracts and kills any termites it comes into contact with. It can also alert you to any termite activity in the area.
Measures for New Homes
If you’re building a new home, it’s worth taking some measures to ensure termites are kept at bay right from the beginning. Most new homes use waterproof sheeting at the foundations to minimize water damage to the property. This is also an effective way to prevent termites.
In addition to this, you can use coarse sand, which acts like cement to create an effective barrier against termites. It is also possible to use termiticide as a pre-emptive measure at the foundations of the new property.
Annual Home Inspections
This is one to consider if you have had experience with termite infestations in the past or you live in an area where termites are common. Residences near woodlands may be prone to termites.
Annual inspections by experts can help detect termite presence early on and prevent extensive damage. It is important that your service provider offers a guarantee, so you’re anle to get the most for your money.
As we have seen, termites are capable of devastating homes and property. Luckily, in most cases, the damage can be treated. However, this usually comes at a large cost and much stress.
By far the best way to deal with termites is to stop them from accessing your home in the first place. The above measures are great ways of preventing termites from establishing a base in your home, or returning once they have been eradicated.
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