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Termites are one of the worst possible nightmares you can face as a homeowner. These common insects can cause major structural damage right under your nose and eventually lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. Because they live in underground nests and inside the foundation of the home, it can be difficult for homeowners to identify termites before serious damage has already been done. However, it is possible to save yourself lots of time and money by preparing your home for a termite infestation before they strike. Keep reading to check out a few of our top termite prevention tips.
Termite Prevention: What to Do Before an Infestation
Although it’s not always possible, for those who are building their new home, termite prevention works best during the planning stages. If possible, utilize a Basaltic Termite Barrier (BTB) which is made of rocks that are packed together so tightly under the home that termites are unable to penetrate the barrier. For those who aren’t able to be part of the planning stage for their new home, you can still look for builds that include BTB, termite mesh, steel frames or termite-resistant wood framing materials.
Preventing Termites in Existing Homes
There are many other steps you can take to help prevent termite infestation in homes that have already been built. A good place to begin your termite prevention is to work at reducing all possible wood-to-soil contact around the structure. Homeowners should take the time to remover any wood, lumber, plants, cardboard and paper from around the foundation. If possible, create at least a 4-inch barrier with non-wood mulch around the perimeter of the home. As a good rule of thumb, only your concrete foundation should be touching the soil, ensuring that siding begins at least 6-inches above it.
Plants and foliage should always be kept a few feet away from the home. Structuring storm drains to empty several feet from the foundation will not only help to prevent moist soil but it can keep termites at bay as well. Excess moisture is the enemy of a termite-free home, so it’s essential to do everything you can to eliminate any sources of additional moisture on the property. This can include fixing leaky faucets promptly and staying on to of HVAC maintenance year-round.
Termite Signs to Look Out For
Regular termite inspections can also help to catch an infestation before it spirals out of control. Homeowners should inspect the property regularly for signs of “frass” or “carton,” two types of termite waste left behind by drywood and subterranean termites. Additionally, patterns in the wood around the home can help to identify different types of termite infestations. Subterranean termites prefer to eat softwood between the grains. But drywood termites much prefer eating across the grains without any distinguishable patterns.
Call in the Professionals
If you’ve followed these preventative steps and still think you have a termite infestation, you need to reach out to a professional extermination team. While DIY methods can be tempting, when it comes to protecting the integrity of your home, professional advice should be considered.