If you've recently bought a new house or you're about to build, you should safeguard your investment against termites. While it might take several years for major damage to occur, one 2x4 can succumb to complete consumption within five months. And by the time you notice, you've got costly repairs to deal with. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to stop these insects in their tracks. Here are eight tips for preventing termites in your new home.
Provide Adequate Drainage
Termites need cellulose and water in order to survive, feeding on dead or rotting wood, decaying plant debris, tree stumps, and even old clothing if they have access to it. They also need adequate shelter, so any place around your home that provides these ingredients needs to be monitored closely. Start with keeping the area around your home as dry as you can. This includes maintaining adequate rainwater runoff with clean gutters and downspouts, keeping an eye on your AC unit for leaks, and watching for clogged or leaky pipes that can cause flooding on your property.
Repair Foundation Cracks
Cracks in your foundation can allow the collection of water and moisture, resulting in a perfect place to harbor termites. If you notice any cracks, you need to repair them as quickly as possible. If you decide to do it yourself, be sure to use a product that lasts; otherwise you'll be repeating the process down the road.
Keep Your Garden Well Maintained
Because termites love decaying wood and plant material, it's vital to maintain your garden and flower beds. Be sure to dispose of dead plants, bushes, and trees by calling your local sanitation department or hunting down a composting center in your hometown.
One of the purposes of mulch is to hold moisture in the soil, but it can create a welcoming environment for all sorts of insects. And because it naturally decomposes over time, it can beckon termites like the mating call of a siren. Fortunately, you're only at risk if you use too much, so be sure to lay a bed no more than 2-3 inches deep. Anything over four inches can cause a high level of moisture retention and ultimately dead mulch—a perfect feasting bed for termites.
Remove Dead Tree Stumps and Branches
Fallen trees and branches are common, particularly following a storm. But as you know, the cellulose-loving insects will have a field day once that wood starts to rot. If you have a tree stump in your yard, it's important to have it removed as quickly as possible.
Store Firewood Away From Your House
If you store firewood, be sure to keep it at least five feet away from the foundation of your home. And since termites nest in the soil, make sure that all logs are kept off the ground and stored on racks. Lastly, in case you do have termites in your firewood, you shouldn't bring more into your home than you need for the day. Any logs that don't make it into the fire should go back outside.
Install Screens Around the Vents
Drywood termites are common in a handful of states, mainly the hot and humid ones. As their name suggests, they feast on dry wood, particularly furniture and hardwood floors. To keep them out of your home, be sure to place screens around all exterior vents, including doors and windows.
Pre-Treat the Soil
This is advice for those who are getting ready to build their home. With this method, the soil underneath the foundation is treated with a termiticide before the cement is poured in order to prevent future infestation. This method offers long-lasting protection.
Hire a Professional
A pest control professional or termite exterminator like Tri-County Termite & Pest Control can treat your home to prevent infestation, and these methods include both chemical treatments and using physical barriers. Be sure to consult with a licensed individual to decide what's best for you and your family.