10 Preventative Steps to Save Your Home and Garden from Termites
According to the National Pest Management Association, termites alone cause $5 billion worth of damage to homes and offices in the United States every year.
To prevent a termite infestation, it is important to understand how termites get into your home and why. Termites breed in warm and moist wood building materials in and around your home, near the foundation, HVAC units, basement, crawl spaces, attics and other areas that offer adequate moisture for termite colonies to breed and thrive. They are sneaky creatures who can easily find their way into your homes through downpipes, porches, roof tiles, vents, ramps and utility boxes.
Scheduling a pest inspection periodically is the best way to identify the warning signs of an underlying termite infestation in time and keep termites from inviting extensive repairs and restorations.
6 Signs Your Home is Infested with Termites
Termites can be classified into two main categories – drywood and subterranean. Both the species look very similar and you will need to hire professional pest control services for accurate identification and timely action. While drywood termites are active above the ground level and breed in wooden structures, subterranean termites can be found below the ground level from where they travel to structures by building mud tubes. Both the species need moisture to survive and thrive on wood in and around your home which can eventually cause significant damage to structural integrity.
If you come across any of these 6 signs, there is a good chance that your house is infested with termites:
Severely Damaged Wood
This is the most obvious sign that a termite infestation is gradually eating away at your house. If you accidentally find a broken piece of wood that is carved out, you can bet your house is infested. Termite damaged wood will sound hollow on being tapped and if you suspect that you are dealing with termites, try prodding wood with a flathead screwdriver and check if it has turned hollow.
Coarse Grains of Sand
If you come across mysterious piles of sand, it is likely that you have found the fecal pellets of drywood termites.
Mud tubes along the walls of your house, baseboards, or in cracks and crevices indicate the presence of subterranean termites.
Any unexplained cracks whether in the interior or exterior walls, beams, columns, rafters, fence, cladding, decking or the ceiling are signs that your house is infested by subterranean termites.
A blistered, sagging or soft flooring could be a sign that a termite infestation is working on the floorboards.
Sticking Windows and Misshaped Doors
If the doors and windows of your house are deformed, it is likely that termites are tunneling their way into the frames, causing them to distort and warp.
5 Ways to Save Your Home from a Termite Infestation
Termites are highly destructive and if not controlled in time are capable of causing significant structural damage to your home. One failsafe way to keep these pesky creatures from damaging the structure of your home and destroying your garden is scheduling a pest inspection annually. A termite inspection specialist can identify the early signs of a termite infestation and implement effective control measures to help you save thousands of dollars in structural repairs.
However, below are 5 essential things you can implement in your home to protect it from termite damage:
Termite baiting is a very simple and easy-to-implement concept. All you need to do is strategically place unobtrusive bait stations in the surroundings of your home. Bait stations attract the foraging worker termites that are responsible for providing food for the entire colony of termites. When they carry poisoned food to the colonies and share it with other termites, the colonies reduce in number and size. This is to be done till the colonies no longer survive.
Using Barriers at Entry Points
Termites find their way into homes through cracks and crevices in concrete foundations, HVAC pipes and conduits. Physical barriers are designed to target these access points in and around your home and greatly reduce the risk of infestation.
Keep the Humidity Levels Low and Reduce Excess Moisture
Avoid the accumulation of moisture around the foundation, keep all downspouts, and gutters clear of dirt and debris, and keep foundation air vents exposed to keep the moisture levels in control. Fix any broken and waterlogged tiles on the roof and ensure that no wooden structure of your home comes in direct contact with the soil. You can consider working with professional pest control services to address problem areas around your home like excess humidity and wood-to-soil contact as both these factors are conducive to termite infestation.
Seal all the Gaps, Leaks, Cracks and Crevices
Fix all leaky plumbing parts, HVAC condensation lines, dripping pipes, and faulty gutters. Fill all the cracks in the foundation, masonry work, concrete, and roof.
Use Chemicals to Prevent Foundation Damage
Chemical barriers help create a soil zone that keeps the termite from passing through and prevents a termite infestation. The treatment involves the application of chemicals to the soil either around the periphery of the foundation or under the flooring. Chemicals are highly effective in getting rid of termites but you need to hire trained pest control technicians to take care of a termite infestation when chemicals are being used.
5 Tips to Prevent Termites in Your Garden
Keep Your Garden Area Tidy
The easiest and the most effective way to decrease the possibility of a termite infestation is to keep the garden area as tidy as possible. Make sure the garden does not flush against your walls and maintain a safe distance of at least 75 mm between garden beds and mulches. Keep firewood and rubbish far away from your home.
Make Use of the Right Mulch
While mulch is great for gardens, certain mulches like pine bark act like an open invitation to a termite infestation. Cypress mulch is naturally resistant to termites and this quality makes it a more sensible choice for mulching gardens and keeping weeds at bay.
Check for Dripping Taps and Dampness
Tap timers are great for today’s busy lifestyle but if they are not fitted properly, dripping taps can easily invite a termite infestation. Dampness in the garden area needs to be dealt with swiftly including a washer that needs to be changed or a chemical reticulation system that needs to be installed.
Use the Right Materials When Building Garden Structures
When renovating your garden, purchase termite treated materials only, whether it is for a gazebo space or a new garden bed. Building garden structures to code will prevent a termite infestation so make sure you are using treated pine beams or cypress timber teams. You can also consider other safe alternatives like concrete beams or galvanized raised garden solutions.
Schedule a Pest Inspection Annually
Taking precautions early on pays off in the long term by protecting your home from termites. Making regular checks to monitor any activity in and around your property will help prevent termite damage; however, the best protection against a termite infestation is hiring professional pest control services. Professional pest control services are fully-equipped with the knowledge of the best techniques, have the latest technology and employ extensively trained technicians for termite inspections. Most importantly, they have the local knowledge of termites, their risks, control measures and effective preventive tips that are specifically tailored to the unique construction of your home.