Once termites infest your home, they quickly begin to eat away at any wood they can find, which can lead to serious structural damage that is expensive to repair. U.S. residents spend over $5 billion annually to treat and control termites, with termite damage being more serious and widespread in areas with high levels of humidity. Luckily, there are specific things homeowners can do to prevent a termite infestation. Here are six tips for termite prevention:
Fix Water Leaks Right Away
Termites need a water source in order to survive, and are often attracted to spaces like basements and the inside of walls where a water leak is present. If you notice that a pipe is leaking somewhere in your home, water is pooling on the floor or walls, or a wall feels damp to the touch, chances are there is a leaking pipe. Having a plumber come repair the water leak right away not only helps you avoid costly water damage and mold, but will also make your home less appealing to termites.
Keep Your Roof in Good Repair
A roof with missing or damaged tiles easily collects moisture, which termites love, while also allowing a potential access point for termites through your roof and into your home. It's a good idea to periodically inspect your roof and have any missing or damaged roof tiles replaced or repaired. In addition to helping to keep termites and other pests out, keeping your roof in good repair will make your home more energy-efficient, so it's really a win-win scenario.
Switch out Cardboard Boxes for Plastic
In addition to wood, termites like to eat away at cardboard. An easy way to help prevent termites is to avoid accumulating cardboard boxes. If your attic or basement or filled with items stored in cardboard boxes, it's a good idea to replace these with sturdy plastic storage tubs with tightly sealed lids. These will do a better job of protecting your belongings, while also helping to prevent a termite infestation.
Check for Signs of Termites
Knowing what to look for in terms of existing termites means you will be able to have a termite problem treated right away before the colony grows and the damage becomes more extensive. Signs of termite presence include:
Small, translucent wings left behind on floors and windowsills. Each spring termite swarmers leave their colony in pursuit of mates, shedding their wings as they go.
Piles of termite waste, which looks like sawdust.
Small scratches or holes in wood floors, walls, and bookcases that weren't there before.
Wood that feels weak or spongy when you step on it or press it with your hands.
Avoid Standing Water On Your Property
Because termites are attracted to moisture, they will sometimes be drawn to your property if you have areas of standing water. Once they take root in your yard, it may be a matter of time before they find a way inside. Standing water also attracts mosquitoes, so it's best to avoid it altogether. Clean out and put away objects in your yard that can collect water, including kiddie pools, buckets, and old tires.
Remove "Wood to Ground" Opportunities
Termite infestations often begin where the ground meets wood, for example in an unfinished basement where a dirt floor comes into contact with wood beams. Adding non-wood barriers in between the wood and ground is one option. When this isn't possible, it's a good idea to have a pest control company spray these "wood to ground areas" with a termite pesticide just in case.
By following these steps and working with an experienced pest control company, you can help protect your home and prevent an expensive termite infestation.