Like how the trite saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Knowing how to prevent termites won’t just save money you from professional extermination fees but it will also give peace of mind that your house isn’t in the hands of uninvited inhabitants. Some prevention tips are simple and already incorporated into your regular cleaning routines.
Although termite prevention could be a no-brainer for those who already dealt with the pest in the past, giving some reminders would still work its purpose on busy households. Sometimes, it requires a tap on the shoulder to start moving and removing the risk factors.
1. Check your roofing
The roof is the most overlooked part of the house in terms of termite prevention. It’s hard to imagine how termites can actually find a getaway on it, but it only takes one small hole for the pest to penetrate your house. Always repair broken tiles and patch holes on the roof because aside from being the entry point of termites, it could also be the source of moisture that will fuel the infestation inside the house.
Take time to climb on your roof and practice regular inspection. This isn’t exclusive during the snowy and rainy seasons as drywood termites can forage on wood even without the moisture.
2. Look at the wooden beams in the attic
House attics are one of the most suitable places for harborage. Most of the time, this part is secluded and undisturbed not to mention the clutter tossed into the tiny space. When the termites penetrate the house, it’s likely that they will find the attic packed with cellulose-rich items like boxes, books, newspapers, and piles of paper.
One important tip on how to prevent termites is to check the attic and its wooden beams. These are one of the largest chunks of wood in the house and it’s closest to the roof which can be the primary source of moisture. Press a finger on it and if it feels spongy, it’s high time to call a professional exterminator or use commercial pesticides.
3. Remove food sources in your garden
The garden is the paradise of one termite type, the subterranean termites. These pests build a network underground and if the infestation is too massive to keep beneath, a mound would start forming. But this is just the hiding place of the pest. Soon after they establish the colony, the workers would look for food sources like tree stumps, chopped wood, or wood materials inside your house. Mud tubes would be visible once the termites start to crawl into the open. This is so they can shield themselves from the sunlight that can dry up their exoskeleton.
4. Choose the right add-ons for your mulch
Mulches aren’t always pure evil during a possible termite infestation. The trick here is picking the right add-ons for your mulch and avoiding wood chippings. Also, reduce the tendency of dumping hefty amounts of leftover food as that can attract other insect pests as well as rodents. As much as possible, maximize materials like gravel and sand while leaving a room between the house foundation and the mulch itself.
If it’s unavoidable to use wood chippings, make sure to disturb the mulch as often as possible. This will be the way on how to prevent termites due to the threatening environment.
5. Store your wood properly
The first thing you have to do is to remove the stack of wood leaning on your house. A pile of wood that’s undisturbed and stacked near the house structure creates a secure pathway and food source for the termites. The pest has an insatiable appetite and they won’t stop searching for food even if they reached your household.
Always store wood at least 20 feet away from the house and 18 inches off the ground. This would cut the risk of acquiring termites on your property but be sure to check it once in a while for a possible termite attack.
6. Check what you store in your garage
Home garages aren’t usually prone to termite infestations unless it’s used as the extension of the storage attic. Termites don’t pose any damage to automotive and mechanical equipment but you should keep an eye on the boxes and old magazines you probably left here.
One risk factor that may expose your garage to termites are the storage units. Always opt for metal boxes instead of wood as termites don’t have mercy on cellulose-based materials. If you’re using wood, keep it away from the walls where the termites might crawl. It’s best to treat the wooden shelves and storage units with an insect repellent as a way on how to prevent termites.
7. Install a termite barrier underneath your wooden floors
If you’re just knowledgeable enough before the construction of your house, you can actually install termite barriers underneath wooden floors or around the concrete footing. This would block the termites from entering the house through the soil or by crawling on the spaces between the footing and the house wall.
This can be installed during a house renovation and there are many options that you can ask the exterminator about. Here are the common termite barriers:
–Granite chips. These are fine pieces of granite placed tightly between the soil and the wooden foundation. The chips are too heavy for the termites to carry.
–Steel mesh barriers. Since granite chips could be expensive, steel mesh barriers could also be installed around the foundation. It has very tiny holes that are impassable for termites.
–Liquid barriers. Exterminators would treat the soil where the house would be built to seal it against termites. This way on how to prevent termites is also done on foundations and soil surrounding pipes.
8. Dehumidify your home
Another factor that attracts termites in a household is its abundant supply of moisture. Formosan and subterranean need a consistent source of moisture to keep their bodies from drying up. Your house could be the perfect abode if it has high humidity levels due to different causes like overusing a humidifier, pipe leaks, or rook leaks.
To remove the excess dampness, use a dehumidifier in different parts of the house including the attic, roof, basement, and living room. Keep your use of air conditioner to a minimum as too much cold can start the buildup of moisture on the insides of the wood.
9. Inspect secondhand or hand-me-down furniture before bringing it home
Old pieces of furniture in garage sales could be the bearer of termites. Before buying any of these or accepting hand-me-downs, inspect for a possible termite presence. Treat it first with pesticides or let it sit under direct sunlight to dry up the insects harboring inside.
You can use a borax spray directly on the affected furniture while you let it dry outside the house. Don’t bring any secondhand furniture inside your home if you haven’t checked it yet. You might spread an infestation without your knowledge. Also, keep a small gap between the wall and the wooden furniture.
10. Avoid placing sprinklers or any outdoor source of water near the house
As much as you have to avoid moisture inside the house, make sure that the outside part of your house isn’t exposed to excessive water flow. Avoid placing sprinklers or faucets near the walls of the house. Faucets, even if turned off, could still drip during high water pressure and provide the soil with just enough moisture for the mites to use. It would be best if the walls of your house are exposed directly to sunlight. This is so excess moisture would dry as a way of how to prevent termites.
Remove any stagnant water on buckets placed in your garden. Although these are unlikely to be the harborage of termites, it could attract other insect pests like mosquitoes and rats.
11. Always repair pipe leaks the moment it occurs
The most common reason why termites found moisture in a household is the unseen pipe leak. Since pipes are placed within wooden walls and frames, it’s easy for the pest to find a sustainable harborage without getting exposed to the members of the household.
Always fix pipe leaks the moment it occurs to contain the damage that will take placedue to the water and the possible infestation.
12. Have a scheduled and regular termite inspection
Nothing beats the approach of professionals in preventing and detecting an infestation. Scheduling regular inspection would protect your house from the sneaky pests. During the inspection, the exterminators would check the common areas where termites are found. This includes the basement, attic, living room, and roofs.
You should be present during the inspection, and if you can, remove the clutter that may hinder the examination.
These tips on how to prevent termites are just some of the routines you can practice at home. If you want a guarantee, you can always seek the professional help of a pest control company. Practice all these tips and you can cut the risk of having an infestation in your household.