Your home is a significant investment of both time and money. It takes a lot of diligent work to keep it in tip-top shape. From weather events to normal wear and tear, homeowners must protect their properties from potential damage. One of the most catastrophic of these events is a severe insect infestation.
Termites are one of these harmful pests that can strike fear in the heart of even the most seasoned homeowners. Not only do they have the potential to cause significant damage to the structure of a property, they often fly discreetly under the radar. They have the potential to create significant damage before anyone is even aware of their problematic presence.
In this case, your best defense is a strong and well-rounded offense. There are some steps you can take to make your home unwelcome to termites. Check out these tips to safeguard your property against an infestation.
Know Your Enemy
The best way to defeat termites is to know what makes them thrive. Creating conditions that prevent their livelihood is the best way to deter their presence. Guarding your property and home against their destruction can eliminate a costly infestation.
Termites feed off rotting plant materials like wood and dead vegetation. Their colonies grow rapidly and can quickly reach populations into the millions. They live underground or in wood and can quickly make their way into structures to devour a wide range of materials. These pests prefer dark and balmy environments and will take residence in the wood they feed on or travel back on forth between their home and food source via a tunnel system.
Termites thrive in the warm, moist conditions that mulch creates. Consider alternatives to mulch, especially in areas close to your home. There are other attractive options to cover your landscaping beds. Pine needles are a suitable alternative that doesn’t retain as much moisture. Pea gravel and lava stone are unique, budget-friendly options that drain better and don’t need to replenished as frequently as mulch.
If you have your heart set on mulch beds, make an effort to keep it away from any exterior wood areas of your house. It’s also a good idea to apply the same strategy for soil. Leaving an 18-inch gap between these materials and your home forms a barrier that the termites are less likely to cross.
In addition, make sure the vegetation around your home is cut back from the structure of the home and maintained consistently over time. This will make your yard more attractive and help the ground stay dryer. Remember that decaying vegetation, like dying trees, are a magnet for termites. If you have stumps or other shrubberies that are in need of removal, make sure to take care of that as promptly as possible.
Water is a termite’s best friend. If you have standing water on your property, you could be inadvertently drawing these pests toward your home. Making sure your drainage is working properly can do a lot to deter these insects. Not only will you help discourage the presence of termites, but you may keep other bugs away from your home as well.
Walk around the perimeter of your property and ensure that your downspouts are unobstructed and working properly. If they are draining close to your home, consider adding a downspout extender to reroute water further out into the yard. Thoroughly clean out your gutters and get rid of anything in your yard that has the potential to collect moisture.
Does your yard have a significant slope creating a low spot near your house? Creating an attractive creek bed can strategically direct water elsewhere. Consider adding French drains in areas that are prone to flooding. A rain garden a fair distance from your house filled with water-loving plants is a beautiful way to absorb excess moisture.
A termites favorite meal is softened wood. A leak in your home provides the moisture to create prime conditions for termite infestation. It’s vital to inspect and maintain your plumbing systems.
If you stop a leak in its tracks, without allowing damage to take place, you reduce the chances that you will have an infestation in the future.
Develop a routine to monitor the inside and outside of your home for potential leaks. Your water meter may have a leak indicator that is extremely helpful. You can also do this manually by checking the reading on the meter, waiting a few hours, and checking it again. Making sure no water is utilized during the testing period, you will know that if the number increases, you have a leak somewhere.
Visually inspect your ceilings and under sinks. Leaks in upstairs floors can leave yellowish stains on white ceilings. Look under sink cabinets for warping or staining that can be caused by leaky faucets or drainage pipes. A simple leak at the joints can easily be repaired with epoxy or tape.
Make sure all exterior hoses are connected well and turned off completely after use. A dripping spigot can result in standing water that can seep into the foundation and surrounding areas. Carefully inspect exterior faucets after winter months to make sure they are working properly.
It’s never a bad idea to have someone come out once a year and look for leaks or other problems at your property. A skilled plumber can quickly and efficiently find any gaps in your system. They can also repair them or replace any aging components that are likely to cause you issues in the future.
Pest-Proof Your Exterior
The maintenance you perform on the exterior of your home can go a long way in preventing termites. Decaying materials are a welcoming home for the pests. Increasing the distance these insects have to travel for a meal can be helpful.
Inspect your roof and replace any rotting shingles. Check the facia and soffits around your roof and replace them if they show signs of decay. Any wood trim and framing should be inspected carefully and sealed to prevent moisture damage.
Keeping wooden parts of your house away from ground level is an effective deterrent. Try to keep any wood siding or trim at least six inches from the ground. You can replace lower pieces with composite if you want to keep the same wood look.
Close Off Entrances
Sealing your house off from these pests is a great strategy to keep them at bay. Termites are able to locate even the smallest crevices to gain entry. Being diligent about creating a solid barrier can be very effective.
Walk around the exterior of your home and look for any potential gaps. Gas lines and water lines are often a means of entry. Also, look around the framing of your windows and doors for any damage or cracks. Thoroughly seal off these areas to eliminate any crevices. Adding bug screens over any exterior vents can also block pests from gaining access.
A fresh coat on painted areas can refresh the exterior of your house and fill in any cracks that may not be visible. You can also seal and waterproof your foundation to prevent erosion and moisture and insects from getting in. Check for and fill any gaps in the mortar between bricks or worn-out weather stripping around windows.
An Unwelcoming Basement
The basement is one of the most common places a termite infestation kicks off. Make sure the conditions of your basement aren’t a breeding ground for these pests. Creating an ideal climate and reducing the materials that termites favor can help prevent them from sticking around.
Again, termites love moisture and thrive in humid environments. Basements are commonly the dampest area of the house, especially if they are unfinished. Consider using a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in your basement. A whole-house unit might be a wise investment, especially if you live in a humid climate.
Cellulose is a crowd favorite of termite colonies. Eliminate or replace any unnecessary cellulose-based materials. This includes extra insulation and any leftover building materials that might be lying around in crawlspaces.
Be Smart About Wood
It’s important to be mindful of the wood you bring to your property. You might be inadvertently creating an infestation. You can prevent causing these issues with thorough inspections and smart storage.
Repurposing wood is great for the environment and can create unique projects, but it’s essential to be careful. Railroad ties and barn wood are awesome reusable materials for landscaping projects. They can also harbor termites that can take over your property. Inspect any used wood or lumber extremely well for evidence of termite damage before putting it on your property.
Firewood can also create a breeding ground for termites. It can hold moisture and hide the evidence of their presence. Make sure to stack firewood as far as possible from your house. It’s also helpful to cover it, especially in rainy weather, to keep it as dry as possible.
Professional Pest Control
The best way to keep termites from infesting your home is to have the property monitored by a professional pest control company. Bug Guys Pest Control is happy to provide you with a free termite inspection and let you know how we can help you going forward. There is nothing like having the peace of mind that comes with a termite monitoring service.
Termites have the potential to cause an extensive amount of damage leading to a significant amount of costly repairs. Do yourself a favor and take these steps to defend your property against a pest invasion. These small, preventative actions can greatly reduce your risk of a disastrous infestation.
Even the most diligent of homeowners can be vulnerable to these determined insects. Continuously monitor your property for any presence of termites. Keep in mind, however, that termites are very difficult to spot. It is always a good idea to have a professional routinely monitor the property as well. These combined efforts will give you the best chance of keeping your home safe from these pesky invaders.