Termites need three things to thrive: food, moisture and shelter.
Don't give them what they need!
Don't feed them.
Keep your gutters clean. Wet leaves provide moisture and
food for the pests, and since the gutters are attached to your home,
an easy point of entry. Clogged gutters can also contribute to moisture
problems by soaking wood off the roof and fascia boards. Wood piles
and construction debris, boards left touching the ground or fences
without proper ground clearance can all be food sources. Cardboard
is also a favorite food of termites and damp cardboard around or
under a house could provide an ideal opportunity for termites.
Building a deck? Make concrete barriers part of your plan
and be sure to use borate- treated, pressurized wood. The USDA's
Service has a bulletin on subterranean termites with helpful hints
on construction practices. Your contractor may also have suggestions
for preventing termite infestations. Stucco facades extending near
or into the soil surface provide a haven for termites, allowing them
to move into a home undetected.
Don't give them moisture.
Make sure the air conditioner tank is at least four inches from
your house. Don't let it leak near your house.
Dryers should vent away from the house--the warm air is
moisture-saturated from dried clothes. Washers should drain away
from the house, too.
Check for leaky faucets. Make fixing them a priority.
Flat roofs are a bad idea; they harbor moisture and invite
Summer sprinkler play is fun for kids, but make sure the
faucet is turned off--tightly--after the water games are finished.
around pipes should not extend all the way from the house to the
soil. After cold spells are over, the insulation should be removed
or at least have a gap large enough to allow homeowners to detect
Don't give them easy access to shelter.
Keep vines, flower gardens and storage containers away from
your house. Make a garden path if you must have them close by. Their
feed the termites, and the leaves give the termites the moisture
and shade they crave. Also, you won't be able to see the clay tubes
the termites make to sneak into your home.
Check your house for stains, holes and other infestation
signs. Wings on your window sill, particularly inside the
house, are a sign that you need to have your home checked; don't
just hope the problem will go away.
When it's time for treatment
It's best to call a professional pest control company when
you have an infestation. They have the equipment and expertise necessary
to do the job thoroughly. They can also check your home for potential
access points. The same is true for treating infested trees in your
yard. Although new chemical treatments will be available soon for
trees, a professional can provide more intensive treatments.
After treatment, check your home for termites regularly. There's
even discussion about making five-year treatments a standard part