Termites feed on and live within wooden structures. Once a termite infestation takes hold within the wooden framework of a house, it can be difficult and costly to eradicate.
Fortunately, there are measures that you can take to deter termites from colonising your property. Here are some basic guidelines on what to do to protect your home from termites.
Preventing termite infestation
When you're buying a house it's very important to ask about its construction. A floating slab foundation is very susceptible to attack by termites. The insects gain access to the house where the slabs adjoin the walls, and can enter unseen through hidden expansion joints. A more termite-resistant construction uses monolithic slabs that contain no joints. However, settling will take place and cracking can occur through which termites could enter.
Most new-build homes are treated with a termiticide chemical barrier around the foundation slab which is guaranteed to keep termites out for at least five years. If you have any extensions built to your home, always make sure that a termite barrier is installed beneath the slab.
Make it part of your regular maintenance routine to regularly check for cracks in your foundation. Look for damage where wiring or pipes enter the house from outside. Always make repairs promptly.
Protect wooden structures around your property
All wood-to-soil contact should be eliminated. Keep wooden porches separate from the main building, and set wooden steps on a 6 inch thick concrete base. Subterranean termites will readily burrow through soil to get to wooden structures so if you are installing wooden partitioning or posts in your basement, do so after the concrete base has set.
Never lay wood mulch in flower beds adjacent to your house or bury rubbish containing paper or wood anywhere near the foundations. Keep trellising, raised flower beds and any planters made from wood well away from the foundations. Firewood stores should be kept well away from the house and elevated above ground level.
Termites are attracted by water. Fix leaking pipes and put right any drainage issues as soon as you find them, and remove pools of standing water. If necessary, have the ground around your property re-graded so that water does not run toward the house in the event of wet weather or localised flooding.
Avoid dense planting close to your house and ensure that irrigation devices are not causing your walls or foundation to become wet.
Be vigilant for signs of termite activity. Look out for holes in wood, mud tubes, pellets or small piles of sawdust which could indicate that termites are present. You could also spot swarming insects or their discarded wings. If you find any of these signs, call your local pest control company straight away for advice.
There are measures you can take to keep termites out of your home. If you're buying a new property, it's essential that you have a termite inspection carried out prior to purchase. Contact your local pest control contractor such as Economic Pest Control for more information and advice on how to keep your property safe from termite attack.