Termite Detection and Prevention Tips

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,356
    Greg Baumann, Senior Scientist for the National Pest Management Association, discusses termite detection and prevention tips.

    Greg Baumann: Hi! I am Greg Baumann, Senior Scientist for the National Pest Management Association. Today, I am discussing termite prevention and now I'll discuss, key tips for identifying and avoiding a termite infestation in your home.

    Although termites are often hidden, these pests can and do leave clues regarding their presence. With a bit of vigilance, and in knowing exactly what to look for, homeowners can help to identify potential termite problems before a major infestation develops. There are four clear signs of potential termite infestation that you should always be on guard for.

    First, look for mud tubes which are above ground, which would be formed at the foundation of your home. These mud tubes can often lead directly to a termite colony. Second, if you see small piles of material that might resemble sawdust, termite activity maybe present.

    Third, monitor all exterior areas of wood including windows, door frames, skirting boards for any noticeable changes. If you see an ongoing change in appearance, or if these seem to be deteriorating, it may reflect termite infestation.

    Finally and perhaps most importantly, be on guard for termite swarms, especially in the spring months as temperatures begin to rise. While termites are typically hidden, swarms are one exception, as this is when termites seek out new homes to infest and build a colony. Termite swarms can be identified as small dark insects with four identically sized wings. Get a pest professional to help you identify it.

    Beyond simple vigilance and knowing what to look for in identifying a termite problem, you can be proactive in preventing damaging termite infestations from taking shape in your home by employing the following termite proofing tips.

    It's important to keep in mind, that most common types of termites love any type of moisture. If you have any moisture in or around the foundation of your home, take immediate steps to remove that moisture and eliminate the source.

    Divert water away from your foundation with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity as best as possible in crawl spaces with proper ventilation or dehumidification.

    Beyond the issue of moisture, there are a variety of other pest proofing tips that you can take to prevent termites. Be sure to prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from becoming overgrown and covering foundation vents. Remove old foam boards, grade sticks and any other cellulose items or wood item that might have been left in place after home construction or renovations. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath your home, as these are quite inviting for termites, especially if in close proximity to your foundation.

    Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil closest to your home. Maintaining an 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of your home is ideal. Be sure to keep firewood away from the exterior of the home, as this can provide easy access for termites to your home and never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in your yard.

    Finally, vigilance is most important. Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for any signs of termite damage. Even with the best prevention methods, you may still find that you face a potential termite infestation. And while prevention measures are certainly something that you can undertake as a homeowner, treatment, especially for termites is not. The hidden nature of these pests and the fact that some colonies can contain more than two million members makes termites an illusive and overwhelming pest to address on your own. With termites, there is a good rule of thumb. Consider the treatment of termites in terms of medicine. Just as you wouldn't prescribe medicine for yourself when you're sick or attempt to drill out your own cavity, you shouldn't attempt to control termites, if you believe that your home is at risk. You need an expert to discuss and implement the treatment options for termites. Next, I will provide you just a few tips on how to select a pest professional, especially should you need these services immediately.

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