Today’s post is about how to prevent termites. How can a Southern California homeowner prevent termite infestations in their home in the first place? Well, dear readers, it turns out there is quite a lot one can do to make one’s structure and property less attractive to termites.
The fist thing to do is to think like a termite and consider the conditions and environment that your typical termite loves.
Termites love wood: Although termites will consume other foods, cellulose is going to be their #1 choice. And that means wood. It’s that desire that conflicts with our 1st choice of building materials which is also wood. Does nature have a sense of humor or what?
Termites love water: Nothing survives without water, and termites are no exception. It could be something as simple as rain or as unnoticeable as a leaky faucet, but termites will be attracted to a source of moisture when home shopping.
Termites love dirt: Southern California is home to subterranean termite species that build their colonies in the ground. They love dirt and build tunnel systems extending down to three feet below the surface. Subterranean termites create mud tubes leading from these underground colonies to above ground food sources, like your house.
So with these “termite must-haves” in mind, let’s ask some tough termite prevention questions about your property:
– Are there water leaks in your home or water sources on your property? As we talked about, termites love water, and they are small so they don’t need a whole lot of it. If the water source comes from your home, they don’t have to work as hard. More time for eating and making more termites! However, if there is no water source, this can be very discouraging to your termite home shopper . And it’s not just in the house. Eliminate any standing or pooling water from around your home as well.
-Is there brush and heavy growth around your structures? In So Cal this is not just a question for termites but for fire danger as well. Vegetation can create areas of intense moisture, which is necessary for colony survival. Termites like it wet, so try and disappoint them as much as possible.
– Any excess building materials or firewood around the house? Remember that wood is their first love. Scrap wood touching the ground is a Valentines Day card to hungry termites. If your property is not large enough for wood storage away from the house, put something beneath the wood to prevent direct access to the termites. Thick concrete slabs or heavy duty metal stands can be used to raise the wood off of the ground.
– Are you using mulch near your home? Mulch is the, “Are you kidding me?” food to a termite. It’s the hat trick of termite love: wood and water on dirt. For a termite, it just doesn’t get any better. The qualities of mulch that make it attractive for use in the garden are the very qualities that attract termites.
But really, if mulch is placed near the exterior of your home, just like our scrap wood example, as the colony grows it is only a small step for a colony to move into your walls. Instead of wood mulch, use a newer rubber mulch. They have the look of mulch and the benefits of mulch without shouting, “Eat me!” in termite speak.
Other common do’s and don’t’s
Do – As we talked about, remove any dead trees, old stumps, or roots in your yard. As these items decay, they attract termites to the area by providing a food source. As the colony grows, the next stop will be your house.
Don’t – Bury waste lumber or wood scraps in your yard unless you want to send an invitation to love-sick termites.
Do – Seal any cracks or holes within the foundation of your home. This will help prevent easy access for termites and other unwelcome visitors.
Do – Keep all gutters and waterlines clean of debris. Clogged gutters and waterlines leak, creating pools of water close to the house.
Do – Make sure your home is properly ventilated, including your attic and internal crawl space areas. Adequate airflow prevents the buildup of moisture. It’s these little things that are big to a termite.
And here’s the biggest do – Periodically, get your home inspected for termite damage. A once-a-year inspection can save your home with early detection. If termites are not found in the home, the trained Hi-Tech termite control specialists can offer recommendations to help you prevent an invasion. They may catch something that you missed.