5 Strategies For Keeping Termites At Bay

Most homeowners who live in areas likely to be infested by termites already know the basics of protecting their homes against termite infestations such as not stacking their firewood next to the house or bringing it more than you can use in an average day indoors. However, there are other ways that termites can gain access to your home. For instance, your exterior landscaping can provide an environment that is highly conducive to the development of termite infestations. Here are five ways that you can minimize the chances of that happening:

Don't Use Bark Chips Next to the House

Many homeowners who would never think to stack firewood on their wooden porch think nothing of using bark chips to mulch the foundation plantings around their house, and this is often the equivalent of rolling out the red carpet for termites and inviting them indoors for a feast! Any type of plant-based mulch can easily harbor termites, so use inorganic materials for mulching such as pebbles or crushed oyster shells instead. As an added bonus, these materials also provide fire-resistant properties.

Keep Foundation Plants Well-Trimmed

Keeping the foundation plants on the outside of your home trimmed so that they are not touching the house is a great way to protect yourself from possible termite infestations. It is also important that any trellises that you choose to have not be touching your home. If you decide to install flower planters on the outside of your house, choose a material such as stone or ceramic rather than wood. Wooden window boxes should be avoided as well --fortunately, plenty of lightweight, attractive ceramic and plastics exist for those who love the look of blooming flowers spilling over exterior window boxes.

Keep Moisture in Check Around the Foundation

Because termites live in the soil and are attracted to moist environments, it is very important to keep the soil around your home as dry as possible. Effective ways to do that include:

  • Keep gutters and downspouts clear of debris.
  • Regularly inspect for leaky faucets and repair them immediately.
  • Keep foundation plants and ground covers 3 to 4 feet away from the exterior of the home.
  • Grade the soil away from the foundation to create a downward flow.
  • Divert outdoor irrigation away from your home's foundation.

Keep Basements as Dry as Possible

Damp basements are another condition that can provide an optimal environment for the development of destructive termite colonies. Keeping basements well-ventilated by using circulating fans, installing French drains, and using moisture-proof paint are all excellent ways to keep atmospheric humidity levels in check. Dehumidifiers also work wonders to keep basements dry.

Pay Attention to the Seasons

Termite swarming season is typically between March and May in most parts of the country. Swarming is the process by which termites seek out environments in which to establish new colonies. Many homeowners do not realize that swarming termites can fly and therefore fail to realize that they may have a problem. Too make matters even more complicated, swarming termites closely resemble flying ants. If you have stumps, woodpiles, or other possible sources of termites in your yard, you should be careful during the spring to keep your doors and windows closed to avoid allowing swarming termites access to your home interior.

If you see small winged insects in your home during March through April and suspect they may be swarming termites, the best thing that you can do is to contact a professional termite treatment professional. Unfortunately, termite infestations often leave little or no signs until the situation becomes quite serious, so it is best to take as many preventative measures as possible where termites are concerned.