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Ways to Protect Your House Against Termites

By , June 26th, 2014 | One Comment

ways to avoid termite infestation

One of the biggest concerns that homeowners have is protecting their house against termites. Termite damage can be extensive and expensive to repair, and it’s a struggle and aggravation no one wants to deal with. As with many things, an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure. Taking steps to prevent the infestation before it happens can save quite a bit of money. Below are several ways to protect your house against termite damage.

Build Six Feet Off the Ground

When you’re building a house, one of the first things you should do is make sure that the structural wood isn’t in direct contact with the soil. Wood to soil contact means easy access for all the things termites require: food, shelter, moisture, and entry into your house. Putting in a concrete foundation is a smart way to protect against a termite infestation.

Use Boric Acid

Boric acid is one of the most effective and common ways to kill termites. Boric acid dehydrates the termite and shuts down its nervous system, effectively killing it. You can use boric acid in a couple of different ways, such as setting up bait stations, coating or spraying wood with it, or planting boric acid bait near your house or in an infested area.

Seal Cracks in Your Home

Do you have a draft running through your house due to a cracked window? Or maybe you’ve been meaning to seal some cracks around the doorways of your home for awhile now. Well, you better get on that since cracks near the windows and doors of your home are an open invitation to termites. Even openings around electrical outlets, wiring, and pipes can be a way for termites to enter and begin an infestation. So make sure that you seal and caulk any gaps around your home.

Keep Firewood Away From Your House

The main source of food for termites is wood, so keeping large piles of wood near your house is a bad idea. This goes for large tree branches or tree trunks as well. If you do intend to keep firewood near your house, you can cover it in order to keep it dry which minimizes the potential for termite infestation.

Reduce Humidity

Most humans may not like humidity, but termites love it. Termites are drawn to moist or damp environments because they need water to survive, and what better attraction for them than damp wood? In order to prevent a termite infestation, it’s important to make sure your house is as dry as possible. This means ensuring there are no leaks inside or outside of your house, and keeping your gutters free of debris.

Expose Wood to Sunlight

Sometimes you’ll find termites may not infest the foundation of your house, but rather certain pieces of furniture. If this happens, one of the best ways to get rid of termites is to put that piece of furniture out in the sunlight. Termites live in the darkness and the light and heat from the sun will kill them within two to three days.

No Plants Touching the House

Many people have ivy, vines, or plants touching the sides or base of their houses. While ivy wrapped around the side of a house or plants dotted around the contour of your home may look idyllic, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Termites will head for these areas as a way to gain entry into your home. If you’re worried about termites or have had trouble with infestations in the past, it’s best to remove any ivy or plants that are lining the outside of your home.

Use Mulch Sparingly

A lot of people use mulch for both aesthetic landscaping purposes as well as health benefits for their plants and gardens. While mulch isn’t necessarily harmful, excessive usage can contribute to termite infestations. Mulch has moisture retaining properties which attracts termites to the area. If you’ve had termite problems in the past or are worried about them happening, use only two to three inches of mulch and ensure that it doesn’t come into contact with wood siding, doors, or windows.

Use Beneficial Nematodes

Beneficial nematodes are a natural parasite for insects, including termites. They’re an unsegmentated worm species that burrows into termite larvae and kill them within 48 hours. They can be bought at most garden supply stores. If you’re living in an area with soil temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the nematodes should be used immediately after purchase. They can also be stored in the refrigerator for later use. Since UV light is harmful to them, they should be planted in the early morning or after sunset.

Call a Professional

If you’re severely worried about termite infestation on your property, you should call a professional and have them not only look for termite damage, but show you how best to protect your home. Professionals can also get rid of termite infestations if you’re unable to remove termites using any of the above methods. While there is a cost involved, it will be much less than letting an infestation grow, and continue to do structural damage to the house. For those who are adverse to chemicals, there are a number of companies whihc use natural methods of getting rid of termites these days as well.

(Photo courtesy of Filipe Fortes)

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  • tara says:

    I want to make sure my new house doesn’t get termites. I had them in my last house and it was a lot of work. Thanks for all the great information! I’ll have to keep this all in mind when I move in.


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