Preventive Termite Treatment

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    Home Construction

    • The most common way for termites to enter a building is from underground. Building a home or structure on a concrete slab will prevent subterranean entry, but only if the slab has no cracks or holes. If the home has a crawl space, it should be properly vented. An unvented crawl space becomes warm and humid and provides a home for termites. Also leave a gap of at least 18 inches between the soil and the lowest timbers.

      Using treated woods during construction can help ward off termites. Pressure-treated lumber should be used for any part of the structure within 12 inches of the ground. Creosote-treated wood is used in telephone poles and railroad ties to prevent termite infestations. Used railroad ties can be helpful in constructing outbuildings but sometimes can contain carpenter ants. Wood treated with chemicals such as chromated copper arsenate, alkaline copper quaternary or copper boron azole will also resist termites.

      Some natural woods, such as redwood, juniper, cypress or cedar, are somewhat resistant to termites, but not as much as treated wood.

    Termite-Proofing Maintenance

    • Termites like moisture, so remove any sources near the home. Prune back plants near the house, make certain gutters are clear and do not pool water, and direct rainwater from spouts away from the home's foundation. Make certain sprinklers do not reach the home and that the water flows away from the structure. Keep mulch, which holds moisture in a garden or plant border, at least 6 inches away from the sidings.

      Remove all potential sources of outdoor infestation, such as stored lumber, firewood, and dead trees or shrubbery. Put screens on attic or foundation vents, where flying termites can enter and establish a colony.

      A good coat of paint will help stop termites, as will sealing cracks and seams. Treating exposed wood with borax preservatives also aids in keeping termites at bay.

    Inspection

    • Inspect the home regularly for signs of infestation. The first sign many people see of termites is swarming winged insects in the home or garden. The homeowner may find a pile of wings scattered around a new nest site in the spring or fall.

      Look for signs of darkening or blistering wood in the home or in structures such as telephone poles and fences. The wood becomes thin and is easily punctured with a screwdriver.

      Wood damaged by termites always has remains of mud tubes inside the wood. In the case of an active colony, white termites may be found in infested wood.

      Hire a professional inspector to check the structure at least once a year for signs of termite infestation.

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