For such small creatures, termites can wreak havoc on your home big-time. In fact, it is estimated they do about one billion dollars of damage each and every year! If you fear termites are a problem on your property, there are steps you can take to keep them at bay. Here are just a few to get you started.
Get Regular Inspections
Regardless of what steps you take to keep termites out of the home, it is important you schedule an inspection with a termite professional on a regular basis. Typically, you should aim for once a year. An infestation is not always so obvious, and regular ‘check-ups’ will let you know if your strategies are working, and can take care of any problems sooner than later, to minimize damage.
Sealing off entry points is one of the first lines of defense. Make sure any gaps around water and gas lines are sealed off. Termites love to feed off wood, and wood-to-ground contact is a common way for them to get inside the house. Store wood in a way that it is not coming into direct contact with the ground, and keep it a good distance from your home. You can also treat wood with termiticide to reduce its appeal as a food source.
Seal cracks in wood, and all joints and crevices. A fresh coat of paint is a good strategy.
Reduce Food Sources
One of the pillars of successful pest control is reducing access to food sources, and termites are no exception. If there is extra cellulose material around the home, such as in the crawlspace, throw it out. Use cellulose-free alternatives to traditional landscaping mulch, or at the very least, move it back at least half-a-foot from the foundation. Rubber mulch is a popular alternative, and available at home improvement stores. Remove any dead wood from your yard—don’t just bury it.
If you have wooden siding, it should be at least six inches from the ground. You can also purchase concrete supports for decks and patios made of wood to avoid that wood-to-ground contact.
Minimizing food sources is ultra-important because if termites find something to feast on in your yard, once they run out, they will be looking for more close to where they already are, and this usually means your home.
Keep Moisture in Check
Termites thrive off moist environments. This is another reason you want to use alternative sources of mulch or move it farther away—it provides moisture as well as a food source. Inspect your house for water leaks, inside and out, and get them fixed immediately. Vegetation is also a source of moisture, so cut away any heavy growth from around the home. Get rid of any pooling or standing water from around the home—a common source of this is clogged gutters and waterlines. Check on them regularly to make sure they are all clear.
Don’t underestimate the problems caused by these tiny creatures. If you suspect you have an infestation, don’t sit on it. You can try treatments on your own, but it is probably best to go right to the professionals.