Termites are among the most destructive pests to residential property. They cause billions of dollars of structural damage each year to buildings. Successfully managing the insects requires help from licensed pest management experts. However, even after you invest in professional termite treatment, you must be vigilant about preventing future infestations. The following tips can help you keep your property free of the voracious, wood-eating pests.
Do Not Disrupt Soil Treatments
Termites build subterranean colonies in your yard with hundreds of thousands of insects in one nest area. They can travel as far as 200 feet from the nest.
Pest control specialists treat the soil with liquid pesticides to keep termites from moving from the yard to the inside of your home. The liquid pesticides kill the termites at the source preventing them from traveling.
However, if you schedule utility work in your yard to fix sewer pipes or gas lines after a pesticide application, you risk compromising the work of the exterminator and lessening the effectiveness of the soil treatment.
If you know you need work done in your yard, complete it before the soil treatment. Otherwise, you need to consult with the pest control specialist to find out how much time needs to pass before contractors begin digging up your yard to repair pipes.
Do Not Use Wood Mulch
While mulch can be beneficial to your garden, preventing weeds from growing and keeping moisture in the soil, it can also be a termite food source. The pests will feed on the cellulose in the wood.
In addition, mulch placed in garden beds right next to your home provides termites with an easy path to tiny foundation cracks that lead to your inner walls. A termite can infiltrate cracks as small as 1/64 inch wide.
The pests also like the moisture in soil covered by mulch. Instead of using mulch made of wood chips, opt for other types of mulch or materials that serve the same purpose. Alternatives to traditional mulch include:
- Rubber mulch
- Peat moss
- Gravel or pebbles
- Landscape fabric
Although it comes from wood, pine straw has low amounts of cellulose and is also a good alternative to traditional mulch.
Eliminate Standing Water
Termites thrive in moist environments. They need water in order to survive. Moist soil makes it easy for the pests to build underground passageways. The moisture also protects termites from desiccation.
- If you have water leaks in your home, fix them right away.
- Always make sure to turn outdoor faucets off all the way after watering your lawn.
- Do not grow lush, woody plants like shrubs next to your home's foundation.
- Get rid of standing water by filling low areas with dirt or other landscaping material.
Get Rid of Yard Debris and Tree Stumps
Since wood is a termite's favorite treat, fallen branches, wood scraps, untreated lumber and firewood are magnets for colonies of the insects. Old tree stumps are also vulnerable to termites.
Consequently, it is imperative to keep your yard clean, picking up and discarding debris as soon as possible.
- Do not stack fire kindling next to your house.
- Use materials such as treated wood, metal or vinyl for building fences.
- Use treated wood for building patios and decks.
Termites are also attracted to the decaying wood in tree stumps and dead trees. Call a tree removal service to get rid of these decayed structures.
Protect New Additions to Your Home
If you want to expand your home with an additional bedroom or expanded kitchen area, make sure to have a pest control specialist treat the wood in the new space. If you have a history of termite infestations, but do not protect the new structure, you are simply serving up a new food source to termites.
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