Guidelines To Prevent Termite
Wood piles and construction debris, boards left touching the ground or fences without proper ground clearance can all be food sources. Cardboard is also a favorite food of termites and damp cardboard around or under a house could provide an ideal opportunity for termites.
Building a deck? Make concrete barriers part of your plan and be sure to use borate-treated, pressurized wood. The USDAs Forest Service has a bulletin on subterranean termites with helpful hints on construction practices.
Your contractor may also have suggestions for preventing termite infestations. Stucco facades extending near or into the soil surface provide a haven for termites, allowing them to move into a home undetected.
Termites love moisture which is why they feed on damp wood. Make sure the air conditioner tank is at least four inches from your house. Dont let it leak near your house. Dryers should vent away from the house -- the warm air is moisture-saturated from dried clothes. Washers should drain away from the house, too.
Check for leaky faucets and make fixing them a priority. Flat roofs are a bad idea; they harbor moisture and invite infestation.
Summer sprinkler play is fun for kids, but make sure the faucet is turned off --tightly -- after the water games are finished. Insulation around pipes should not extend all the way from the house to the soil. After cold spells are over, the insulation should be removed or at least have a gap large enough to allow homeowners to detect termites.
Check around the pipes in your home to make sure that there is no water leaking underneath the house. Pools of water can accumulate in the crawl space which is a breeding ground for termites - especially subterranean termites that live in the soil.
Make sure their access to the home is limited. Keep vines, flower gardens and storage containers away from your house. Make a garden path if you must have them close by. Their roots feed the termites, and the leaves give the termites the moisture and shade they crave. Also, you wont be able to see the clay tubes the termites make to sneak into your home.
Check your house for stains, holes and other infestation signs. Wings on your window sill, particularly inside the house, are a sign that you need to have your home checked; dont just hope the problem will go away.
Look closely at the foundation of your home and check for any cracks in the concrete. These are great places for termites to enter your home since they are so small. Any cracks should be sealed with a waterproof sealant that will make entry through these cracks impossible.
Keep all scrap wood away from your house. A wood pile for a fireplace is a haven for termites and they love to live in and around any scrap wood that is strewn about.
When it rains, they do little termite dances as it makes the wood much easier to eat. If the wood is close to your house, they may be tempted to take a vacation from the woodpile and move onto your home for a change of pace.
Make sure that all guttering downspouts point rainwater to drain away from your house. You dont want the water to butt up against your home and make the wood wet.
Any wood that is touching both the ground and your house is a threat. Eliminate all earth-to-wood contact in the structure, including scrap wood, fence posts, trellises, shrubbery or tree branches that come in contact with the house.
Keep the area around the foundation or piers of your house clear of wood debris; a piece of wood or a ladder leaning against the house can provide a termite entrance.
Dont build bridges for termites. Make sure that gardens dont mound new dirt over treated soil next to the foundation or piers. Avoid using mulch in gardens next to the house. Mulch is just wood chips and when it gets wet, its a buffet for your local termites.
And, believe it or not, outdoor lights with white bulbs may attract night swarming termites, especially in the spring. Try replacing white bulbs with yellow or pale amber.
Learn about termite extermination and termite prevention at the About Animals site.