If you are getting ready to build a new home, you will want to do everything in your power to ensure that your home stands for years to come. Unfortunately, this may not be the case if you have to deal with termites a few years after you complete your construction. The good news is, you do not have to wait until you have termites to treat them. The best time to treat your home is before and during construction. Understanding more about termite behaviors may help you choose the best treatment option to use.
Why Should You Worry About Termites?
It is estimated that termites cause approximately $5 billion dollars of property damage each and every year. They do this by eating away at the materials that your home is constructed from, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Because they live in colonies that can range in size from a few hundred termites to several million individual termites, they can do a lot of damage in a very short period of time. Many times by the time you realize that you have termites, this damage has already been done. Common signs of damage around the house include:
- Crumbling wood
- Sagging or buckling floors
- Loose tiles or floor slats
- Peeling or bubbling paint
- Sagging sheetrock
- Sawdust or wood shavings at the base of your walls and more
Although there are approximately 3,000 species of termites currently classified, there are only approximately 50 found in North America. These 50 can be broken down into three ecological groups. They are:
Although all three eat wood, dampwood termites are normally found in damp wooded outdoor areas. The other two are those most commonly found in and around your home, but they get there in very different ways.
Subterranean termites are very sensitive to any type of light. They are often found deep in the dirt surrounding or under the foundation of your home. Due to their light sensitivity, they move from one location to another through mud tubes they build. If you have an infestation, these tubes can often be seen going up any type of wood post or beams that come in contact with the ground.
Drywood termites are those you may see swarming towards your home. They often do this when they leave one colony and are in search of a new home elsewhere. Because both of these types of termites are a risk to your home's building materials, when you choose to pretreat your home you must treat for both of them.
What Are Your Pretreatment Options?
Many states where there are active termite infestations have building codes that require some type of termite treatment to be done during the construction of a new residential building. The treatments must be done from a list of currently approved termiticides and must be one of the approved methods. For example, in North Carolina, there are four different methods. These include:
Perimeter Soil Treatment - Under this option, your pest professional will treat the area of soil that will be immediately under your building site, as well as around the perimeter of your building slab or crawl space with an approved termiticide.
If done properly, this is not a one time application and must be performed several times during the building process in order to be the most effective. The chemicals used will help to deter termites from infiltrating the soil around your home.
Bait Stations - In addition to, or in lieu of, a liquid chemical treatment, your pest professional may choose to use termite bait stations. These stations are installed as a method to control the subterranean termites who may attempt to make a home in the ground under and around your home. Once installed, the system releases slow acting baits for the forging termites to find and carry back to the colony.
Direct Wood Treatments - Another option you may want to use that can even be used in conjunction with your soil treatment is the treatment of your structural wood. This chemical treatment is applied to your wood prior to any siding or sheet rock being installed. When the wood is properly treated, it will repel or even become poisonous to any termites who attempt to eat it.
Stainless Steel Mesh - In addition to treating your wood, you may want to use one of the stainless steel meshes that are available to wrap your foundation, pipes, and any post that will have contact with your foundation or the ground below. This mesh will serve as a barrier from the termites since they will not be able to eat through it.
Various methods work better depending on where you live, as well as the types of termites that are the most active in your area. Your pest professional will be able to help you to decide which method would be best to use around your new home. So for more information, talk with local pest control companies or go to websites that offer more in-depth tips.