Did you know that termites belong in the same order as cockroaches? These pests have three things in common – they’re good at crawling in hidden spaces of the house, they stay out of sight and they multiply. However, unlike cockroaches which are mostly an annoyance, termites are extremely dangerous and can ruin your house.
According to the US National Pest Management Association, these voracious insects cause around $5 billion in property damage per year. And it’s you who pays for that, since, if you look at your insurance plan, you’ll see that you’re not covered for termites!
Here’s what you need to do to keep termites at bay, out of your house that is, as once they’re inside they’ll gnaw at the wood structure 24/7.
Don’t have any sort of wood in contact with the ground
There are two ways termites can get into your house. They either fly or crawl inside. If your house has any kind of wooden structure (poles, stairs, doors, etc) in direct contact with the soil that’s like inviting termites into your home. They’ll dig their way through the softer parts of the wood and next thing you know they’re in and ready to establish a new colony.
According to experts, any door frame or really any wooden part should be at least six inches above the ground. Cut the lower parts of these structures and lay a concrete barrier to prevent termite access. Pay special attention to any supporting poles that go through a concrete foundation. In most cases, the lower part of the pole reaches the soil so termites have direct access to your house.
Pay attention to mulch
If you’re a dedicated gardener, you probably use plenty of mulch. That’s good for your plants, but also for termites who simply love mulch, as it’s damp and full of yummy cellulose. Keep mulch away from the walls of your house!
Beware of moisture
Go around your house walls and examine the moisture situation. Any leaking faucet or air conditioning unit will create the ideal ground for termites. Have a look at your drain pipes, gutters, and downspouts, and make sure they function properly. Keep the soil around the house as dry as possible so termites won’t be tempted to come near your home.
Keep your crawl spaces dry and ventilated
Dirty and humid crawl spaces are a paradise for termites. Don’t ever deposit lumber in the crawl spaces and make sure to clear out dead leaves and accumulated debris. Also, clean the vents so the crawl space is properly ventilated, to reduce moisture.
Have your house treated against termites by a professional
Even if you’ve taken all the precautions mentioned above, keep in mind that termites can also fly into your house and once they’re in you’ll have a terrible time trying to get rid of them. Not to mention that, in most cases, homeowners realize their house is infested only when there’s already severe damage.
A pest control company can make sure the exterior structures of the house are mostly dry and well ventilated, but that’s not all. Your house should be regularly treated against termites with special substances called termiticides.
Once a termite munches on a bit of wood doused with a liquid termiticide it will die, not before poisoning others in the colony as they’re in the habit of sharing partly digested food. This the only way to make sure your house is safe from termites.