Termites and other wood destroying insects such as carpenter ants can do massive damage to a home and greatly impact its value. In humid areas where termites are a problem, it’s not unusual to find many homes that have been virtually hollowed out, their wood siding turning to dust at a touch.
How do I prevent termite infestation?
There are many steps you can take toward preventing infestation if you know what termites look for and take steps to make your home less attractive to them.
Termites are ground insects that look for habitats that provide food, moisture and shelter close to the ground. Any place where wood meets ground qualifies, especially if the soil in that area stays moist. Correcting this situation may require re-grading to separate soil from any wood around your home. Since mulch and many other landscaping materials cause the soil to remain moist, you should make sure to minimize mulching around your foundation. Some experts recommend mulching no closer than a foot from your home’s foundation. You should also stack your firewood away from your home, preferably by several feet. Make sure that gutters and downspouts are in good condition and keep moisture from accumulating. You should also make sure to eliminate any moisture problems in and around your home, especially in basements and crawlspaces.
You can also hire professional termite exterminators to apply chemical treatments that protect your home. Be sure to find out how long the treatments last. The chemicals on the market today generally protect your home for up to 5 years.
How do I know if my home has termites?
It takes an expert to detect hidden termite damage. General home inspections do not typically include a termite inspection. It is highly recommended that you get a termite inspection in addition to your general home inspection.