A termite colony consists of anywhere from 350,000 to well over a million workers, soldiers, and swarmers (termites with wings). A single termite queen can lay thousands of eggs per day and live between 30 and 50 years. That means a queen can recoup her losses and repopulate her colony even after tremendous devastation. The best way to fight this foe is to prevent them from ever touching your home.
There are a few things that homeowners can do to prevent termites from invading their homes. The first thing to do is make sure that your rain gutters are clear of any debris. The downspouts should carry water away from the house. The downspouts should be three or more feet out. All outside wood needs to be away from the home. If you use mulch in planters around the home, you will attract termites. Use alternatives such as rocks or any material that does not contain any wood compose. These two things are the most important things to remember for preventing termites. If you have damp areas around the foundation of the home and wood is present, you need to check these areas often. It may be wise to find a solution to the dampness problem to keep termites away from this area. Pretreated woods may repel termites, but this is only good as long as the wood stays treated and in good condition. Pest control prevention is better than trying to get rid of the pest once it has invaded your home. Look around the exterior of your home for potential areas that a termite might breed and enter the home.
How to prevent Termites from infesting your home:
1. Identify and fix all water leaks in your home, both internal and external. As mentioned above, termites need water, and it does not matter where they get it. If the water source comes from your home it means they do not have to work as hard. Eliminating their water source removes one of the three requirements for survival.
2. Remove any brush or heavy growth from around your home. 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.
3. Eliminate any standing or pooling water from around your home.
4. Store all excess building materials and firewood away from the house. Remember that wood is their primary food source. Scrap wood touching the ground is an open invitation to hungry termites. If your property is not large enough for wood storage away from the house, create barriers 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.
5. Use treated lumber for any wooden structures that will have direct contact with the ground. The chemicals in treated lumber do not guarantee that termites will not invade the wood, but they can act as a deterrent for decks and patios made out of treated lumber. Home improvement centers now offer concrete supports that raise the wooden support beams for decks and patios off of the ground. This would be a great way to avoid wood to ground contact.
6. Avoid using mulch near your home. Mulch provides two things to hungry termites: a food source and a water source. The qualities of mulch that make it attractive for use in the garden are the very qualities that attract termites. If mulch is placed near the exterior of your home, it is only a small step for a colony to move into your walls. As an alternative to wood mulch, try using one of the newer rubber mulches now available at your local home improvement center. They have the look of mulch and the benefits of mulch without providing the risks.
7. Never bury waste lumber or wood scraps in your yard. It acts as a magnet to termites and directs them to your property.
8. 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. When the food is gone, the termite colony will look for new sources of food. This includes your house.
9. Seal any cracks or holes within the foundation of your home. This will help prevent easy access for wandering termites.
10. Keep all gutters and waterlines clean of debris. Clogged gutters and waterlines leak, creating pools of water close to the house.
11. Make sure your home is properly ventilated, including your attic and internal crawl space areas. Adequate airflow prevents the buildup of moisture needed by termite colonies.
12. 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 pest control specialists can at least offer recommendations to help you prevent an invasion. They may catch something you missed.