Regardless of where you live in the US, there is a constant threat of termites or wood-boring beetles infiltrating your home.
Termites account for about $1 billion a year in damage to American homes and now that an invasive species from Asia has made it to North American shores, the threat is larger than ever.
A typical termite colony can eat through 2.3 linear feet of 2×4 pine in a single year. It may not seem like much, but they will often spread to more woodwork and if they start munching on a supporting beam, the entire house structure is at risk.
To make sure that your home keeps these hungry critters at bay, you need to protect it from making it a tempting smorgasbord for termites. You would be well advised to heed the following tips:
Keep your yard clear of scrap lumber – Never bury scrap wood or waste lumber in your yard, and avoid keeping piles of wood in your yard as it will attract termites. Store this wood and any firewood away from the house and make sure that there is a barrier between the wood and the ground.
Get rid of decaying vegetation – On a regular basis, clear fallen branches or decaying plants near the side of your house.
Keep mulch piles far from the home – If you do have a pile of mulch for your gardening, make sure that you place it in a corner of your yard far away from your home. And when you do use mulch, don’t spread it alongside your house if you have vegetation that abuts against the home’s exterior.
Use treated lumber – Use treated lumber for any wooden structures that will have direct contact with the ground. The chemicals used to treat this wood are not 100% foolproof, but they can deter termites nonetheless. They can act as a deterrent when used in wooden decks and patios.
Avoid wood contact with ground – It’s best if you make sure that no wooden structures actually touch soil, especially if you have a deck attached to your home. Use concrete supports that raise the wooden support beams for decks and patios off the ground.
Fix water leaks – Termites need water too, so fix any water leaks in and around your home.
Hire a pest control operator – Contract with a pest control service that will come to your house four times a year to spray for insects.
Maintain your home – Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), uneven or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Fix leaky gutters, ensure that your attic is well ventilated, and seal cracks or holes in your foundation and walls.