Springtime is right around the corner. The onset of sunshine and blooming flowers also heralds those unwanted spring pests – termites. Spring is the time of year when termites emerge from hibernation to mate and create their colonies. Termites can be devastating to a home. They have the ability to chew through wood, flooring, and even wallpaper, most often undetected. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that termites do an estimated $5 billion of property damage each year.
Once termites have invaded your home, you will need the assistance of a professional pest control expert to conduct a thorough inspection and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan. However, there are steps you can take to prevent these pests from invading in the first place. Here are 5 tips to prevent termites from damaging your home.
1. REDUCE MOISTURE
Termites need moisture to thrive. Eliminate moisture from in and around your home to help keep termites in check. Make sure water does not pool around the foundation of your home or on your roof. Address moisture problems in your basement and crawlspaces. Repair leaky plumbing, damaged or faulty gutters, and dripping air conditioning lines.
2. HOME REPAIR
Termites can use areas of disrepair to access your home. Make sure to repair damaged or rotted roof shingles, fascia and soffits. Replace weather stripping and loose mortar around your foundation and windows. Seal gaps around water and gas lines where they enter your home to prevent access through these entry points. Seal all cracks, crevices, and joints in your exterior wood to prevent entry. Apply a fresh coat of paint which can seal even the smallest crevices in your wood. Install bug screens over attic and foundation vents. Maintain at least an 18 inch gap between the soil and any wood portions of your home.
3. ELIMINATE FOOD SOURCES
Cellulose is the major constituent of paper, paperboard and cardstock and is also a major food source for termites. Get rid of any extra cellulose containing materials you have stored in your home. Make sure wooden siding is at least 6 inches above the ground. Remove dead trees, firewood, and any other deadwood that can house termites. Store firewood at least 20 feet from your home.
4. PREVENTION AND INSPECTION
Keeping a close eye on your home is a key way to catch damage early before it has a chance to spread throughout your entire home. Routinely inspect the foundation of a home for signs of mud tubes, which are used by termites to reach a food source. Check for signs of cracked or bubbling paint. Tap on wood and listen for a hollow sound. Inspect all exterior wood including windows, door frames, and skirting for any noticeable changes or damage. Also make sure to inspect any new wood you are bringing into your home for projects, especially used lumber and railroad ties.
5. CALL THE PROFESSIONALS
Most insect damage from termites is not covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. Consider scheduling an annual inspection with a certified pest control professional. The pest control professionals can address areas of concern around your home, such as those mentioned earlier to include areas of excess moisture, cracks and crevices, damaged wood, etc. Your pest control professional can also determine what types of preventative measures will be most effective, such as direct wood treatment, bait and monitoring, etc. They will also be able to treat your home should they find evidence of an existing termite infestation.