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Top Ten Reasons Termites Invade Your Home

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

We have compiled the top ten reasons why termites may invade a home.

  1. MIND THE FRONT STEPS : Over the years your front stoop may sag or crack. Precipitation pools against the home and along the foundation. In some instances builders used scrap wood as fill for a void under the step. This practice, synergized by moisture pooling against the foundation, will encourage foraging activity.
  2. PRUNE TREE LIMBS : Trimming back tree limbs that block sunlight from expeditiously evaporating precipitation will attract worker termites towards your living area. Ensure your home dries out quickly to suppress foraging activity.
  3. MULCH :Piling mulch around your foundation is a dangerous practice. Some folks let it accumulate to the point where the foundation is no longer exposed and mulch reaches the siding. This provides a direct avenue of entry for termites. Mulch holds moisture and facilitates the breeding of fungus. Termites love this and will gravitate to an area that harbors such an environment. I suggest decorative stone be employed. It drains expeditiously and that reduces fungal buildup.
  4. GRIND THE STUMPS : People spend thousands of dollars to have dead, fallen and infested trees removed. Tree companies charge extra to “grind the stump”. Stumps collect precipitation, promote fungal growth and often have roots extending towards your foundation. This is the “perfect storm” for termite activity. Grinding the stump will allow the root system to die quickly, expose any termites to predatory birds and enable easier drying after precipitation.
  5. CLEAN THE GUTTERS : Backed up gutters will cause water to pool in your wall voids. Wet insulation and wood is a common cause for “satellite colony” termite issues. Termite control products base their strategy on the fact foraging termites return to the soil every twenty-four hours. If you have above ground moisture in the home any sort of mitigation will be compromised.
  6. DIVERT THE DRAINS : Precipitation pooling along the foundation will attract foraging termites. Ensure all gutter drains divert water away from the building .
  7. ELIMINATE WOOD TO EARTH CONTACT : Wood to earth contact will provide a direct conduit to termite nesting sites. Forms or garage door frames that extend into the soil will eventually be attacked by foraging termites. That is their job and they do it very well. Be sure that your contractor removes all wooden concrete forms in a new build or addition. Use pressure treated wood for garage door frames or any wood that requires soil contact.
  8. STORE FIREWOOD OFF THE GROUND: Never pile fire wood directly on the soil against your home’s foundation. Most home and garden centers offer some sort of rack to provide a gap between the soil and wood. Cover the wood to prevent other pest related activity from taking up harborage.
  9. CLEAN OUT THE CRAWL SPACE AREA : Many crawl areas are on dirt floors covered in wood debris and are ventilated, allowing warm air in the summer to enter the cool environment, where condensation will occur. Besides being a health hazard, these conditions are ideal for termite activity. A moisture barrier should be installed, sealing off the outside unconditioned air and the moisture should be removed with dehumidification. Eliminating any wood to earth contact in the crawl space will reduce your exposure. A sump pump should be installed in any basement area where water enters. Insulation should be neat and dry at all times.
  10. ANNUAL INSPECTION : Having a trained professional examine your home on an annual basis will reveal any conditions that leave your home open to invasion. Most companies will perform this free of charge and many will assist you in identifying potential avenues of entry. If your home is on the market there are conditions and factors that could require you to mitigate termites even though it is unclear there is an active problem. Contact a pest control professional to learn the details of what pre-purchase protocols apply and your potential exposure.

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