How do you prevent termites from entering your home?
It is essential to keep termites away from your home. Once they enter, they can be unstoppable. Seeing as queen termites are able to lay up to 30,000 eggs a day, this allows the colony to recuperate from even the most serious losses. Termites cause up to $1 billion worth of damage in the United States alone every year - reinforcing the point that it is essential to prevent termites from entering your home in the first place, causing damage.
We must first understand the conditions necessary for termites to thrive, in order to understand why the steps taken to prevent termites from entering will work.
Soil: The most common termite you can find in the United States are Eastern Subterranean Termites. Because these termites are subterranean, literally meaning "under earth", these termites build their nests underground. These termites thrive in soil. They will then use this versatile building material to dig tunnels and gain entry into your home.
Diet: Termites consume anything that has cellulose in it, including wood. See the diet page for more information. Termites will obviously thrive in conditions that allow them to have a constant source of cellulose. If your home has a lot of wood, termites are likely to be attracted to it.
Moisture: Like all other living things, termites require water to thrive. Whether its a leaky faucet or stagnant water, or even natural rain, termites will always look for water, and most species will thrive in moist conditions.
Now that the main conditions required for termites to thrive in have been identified, we can now move on to how to prevent termites from entering your home. Can you think of ways to do this?
Step 1: Water sources
As mentioned above, termites thrive in conditions where there is water for them to drink. Of course it would be impractical to cut off water supply to your home for the sake of preventing termites from entering - but that's not our suggestion. We suggest that you eliminate sources of water which termites could use, such as leaky faucets, inside and outside of your house. It would also be wise to throw away any stagnant water that could be found in pots, pans or pails. Not only does this prevent termites, it also prevents mosquitoes from breeding.
Step 2: Your backyard
As discussed above, termites thrive in moist conditions. So what can you do in your backyard to stop termites? Trim any excess vegetation that you may find in your backyard. This is a good step because excess vegetation can cause intense moisture, and seeing as termites thrive in moist conditions, removing that excess moisture will go a long way in preventing termite infestation. Also, remove any firewood and excess building materials. The reason for this is so that the termites will not be able to access their primary food source so easily - wood. The further away from your home the better, the termites won't be coming back if its too far. Lastly, remove any dead trees, plants or roots. These act as a magnet for termites.
Step 3: Choosing building materials
Be wise when choosing building materials. Avoid wood when possible (although in some situations, it is not feasible to use materials other than wood). Make sure the materials you choose have little to no cellulose content. However, if it is not feasible to use materials other than wood, there are still ways to prevent termites from attacking your home. Treated lumber can be considered. The chemicals in lumber do not guarantee that termites won't attack, but instead they deter termites. Its better to have some deterrent than none at all.
Step 4: Fixing cracks
Termites commonly gain access into homes by simply crawling into them. Thus, it is important that any cracks be sealed in order to prevent easy access to wandering termites. That said, it is essential to keep attics and other areas of your home ventilated, to prevent moisture which termites thrive in.
Step 5: Get inspected
Termite inspections are invaluable in preventing homes from being invaded by colonies. Inspections do not need to be very often - they can be once every six months or once yearly. Even if no signs of an invasion are found, exterminators can be consulted for tips on preventing termites from invading. TermiteNYC is able to provide you with inspection services at low costs.