Termites are nasty little buggers which cause billions of dollars of damage every year. One queen can lay thousands of eggs a day; considering she can live anywhere from 30 to 50 years, that is a whole lot of termites to contend with. With reproduction numbers like this, these bugs can easily destroy a home, making prevention a worthwhile effort on the part of a homeowner. Here are several strategies to keep these destructive creatures at bay.
Preventing Contact between Cellulose and Soil
Termites live off of wood, dead plants, paper and similar materials; if they are in contact with soil, you are giving the termites easy access to these primary food sources, and eventually your home. Any wooden parts of the foundation should be at least half a foot above soil. Mulch should be several inches below wooden elements of the structure and the siding. If possible, use a non-wood mulch next to the foundation, or minimize use as much as possible. Do not keep firewood, paper or lumber leaning against the foundation or in the crawl space. If you live in an area with a lot of trees and wood debris, regularly clear it from your property. If any wood part of your house is in contact with soil, you might also consider replacing it with sand—termites can’t tunnel through sand.
Check cracks or joints in concrete slabs for evidence of termites. Use metal flashing in porches and decks. Contact All Around Roofing and Exteriors to come fix any cracks or holes you might find.
Controlling Moisture Accumulation near Your Foundation
A moist environment is essential to termite survival, and if you do not take steps to prevent water accumulation near your foundation, you are sending an open invitation to enter your home. While you can’t prevent rain, or totally neglect your landscaping, there are several ways to keep the moisture at bay. Slope soil away from the foundation. Keep rainwater away by regularly cleaning the gutters and down-spouts. Put in splash blocks and down-spout extenders. If the site is flat, use drain tiles. Make sure lawn sprinklers and irrigation systems are not spouting water towards the foundation. If you spot any leaks in your A/C, faucets or pipes, get them fixed immediately. Mulch retains moisture so use it sparingly—no more than two inches.
Keeping Crawl Spaces Well-Ventilated
Poor ventilation translates to moisture accumulation, which translates to a hospitable environment for termites. Poor ventilation in crawl spaces is a major risk factor for termite infestation. There are several ways to improve ventilation and keep the space dry. At least 75 percent of the soil surface in the crawl space should be covered with a vapor barrio. For every 300 to 500 square feet of crawl space, install a 1 square foot vent opening. Promote cross ventilation. Remove any plants obstructing the vents.
Eliminating Hidden Access Points
Keeping tabs on areas where termites can access the home is another important element of preventing infestation. Don’t build flower planters against your home. Don’t let plants surrounding the home grow to a point they are touching the side of the house. Check cracks or joints in concrete slabs for evidence of termites. Use metal flashing in porches and decks.
If You Spot Termites….
No matter how many preventative steps you take, it is possible you will still fall victim to a termite infestation. If it reaches this point, contact professionals immediately. Do not put off taking care of the issue, or try to get rid of them yourself with home remedies. Get online, do some research and seek out an exceptional pest control company to nip this issue in the bud.