Termites and How to Prevent Them

Termites cause well over a billion dollars worth of damage to homes in the United States each year. Understanding what attracts them will help you know how to avoid them.
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Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

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Keep Your Home Beautiful And Safe: Avoid Termite Infestation

Termites are always around, but they need not be attracted to your home. Keep them away by eliminating the conditions that would invite them.

Standing Water Attracts Termites

Termites thrive in damp soil. Address any poorly drained areas to help keep bugs at bay.

Water Must Drain Away From the House

If the land does not slope away from the house, it must be regraded. Runoff should never run against the house.

Keep Faucets In Good Condition

Faucets, indoors and out, should be repaired whenever leaks are detected. 

Gutter Maintenance

Gutters, downspouts and yard drains should always flow freely. Both moisture and the debris that collects in these areas are major attractions for termites.

Water Features and Termites

Fountains, decorative ponds and waterfalls are beautiful, but if the soil around them stays damp, they too may invite termites. Splashy features should be built to either reclaim or drain away the overspray. Regularly check all water features for leaks.

Old Stumps Are an Obvious Attraction

Stumps that are near the house should be removed to reduce the threat of swarming termites entering the building.

Store Building Materials Away From the House

Lumber should always be stored inside or away from the home and off the ground. These steps will protect both the home and the unused supplies.

Firewood Offers a Unique Challenge

To minimize the attraction to termites, firewood should be stored primarily away from the home. Smaller amounts that will be used up quickly can be stored temporarily on a heavy-duty metal rack, with the wood elevated from the ground.

Wood Structures

Decks and other structures made of wood should be built on concrete piers, not in direct wood-to-soil contact, for the least chance of termite infestation.

Foundation Cracks

Cracks in the home's masonry should be repaired whenever they are detected. Even the smallest gap may become an entry point for termites.

Well-Drained Foundation Plantings

Hedges and other foundation plantings must allow plenty of clearance between them and the house, and the soil should drain freely. Keep these plants trimmed so that they do not come into direct contact with the building.

Mulch And Termites

Certain mulches made of cypress, cedar and melaleuca have naturally occuring resins that repel termites. Once the resins fade, however, they become like other mulches that can attract termites. For termite repelling qualities, remove and replace these mulches every two years. All mulches should be kept away from direct contact with the foundation, and should be only two to three inches deep.

Inspect for Termites

Regularly inspect your home for signs of termite infestation such as mud tubes leading from the soil up the foundation, small piles of discarded wings on windowsills or caught up in spider webs, or collections of wood-colored frass below entry points into wood. Good precautionary practices combined with regular inspections will give you the best chance of keeping termites away.

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