It’s a sight many homeowners dread seeing: the long, narrow mud tubes that form when termites have decided to set up shop. This is more than just a bug problem; this is a sign of potentially expensive and extensive damage. In fact, these tiny bugs are responsible for more than $2 billion in prevention and treatment costs. Fortunately, taking the right preventative measures will keep the bugs at bay. From a termite inspection to eliminating food sources, these five steps will deter the critters from munching away.
1. Call the Professionals
One of the most important things to do before every occupying a home is to have a professional inspect it. If termites are found, a potential buyer may be able to get out of the deal or hold the seller responsible for treatment. An existing home may benefit from having a termite inspection once a year, especially if the area tends to have a lot of bug and moisture issues.
2. Protect the Home Being Built
People who are building a home have several options to deter termites:
- Have an exterminator pre-treat the wood being used to build the structure
- Ask the builder to use termite-resistant wood
- Research options for termite-resistant windows and doors
Many pest control companies offer package deals for new homeowners in terms of pre-treatments and regular inspections.
3. Eliminate Food Sources
The reason any bug ventures into a home is because it wants food. Getting rid of food sources is a great way to keep termites from inhabiting a home. These bugs are drawn to moisture-damaged wood, so a homeowner should thoroughly inspect wooden decks, playhouses and fences for signs of damage and replace any pieces necessary.
For those who keep stacks of firewood or lumber in their yard, it is important to store the piles as far from the home as possible. It is preferable to keep it inside a shed, but the back of the yard will suffice.
4. Take Care of Potential Moisture Problems
It is not always easy to see if there is damaged wood inside a house. Therefore, a homeowner should take care to resolve any moisture issues, such as a leaking faucet. A dripping air conditioner unit or pipe can also lead to wet wood, which termites love.
Clean gutters and downspouts can go a long way in preventing water from pooling at the foundation of a house. Lastly, all entry points that pipes or other water sources have into the home should be properly sealed.
5. Bait Traps
Some homeowners employ the use of bait stakes, which can be purchased at hardware stores. While these can destroy colonies or keep bugs at bay, it should be noted that these are not always completely effective.
The best way to keep termites from invading a home is to partner with a professional exterminator. He or she can do an inspection of a house to look for potential warning signs as well as make recommendations for effective prevention methods. Pre-treating homes in progress is a great way to deter termites. For existing homes, owners should repair any leaks and remove any potential food sources to avoid an issue. Through taking the right steps and enlisting the help of a pest control company, a homeowner can rest easy knowing the house is protected.