Homes across the western United States are at risk of termite infestations. Controlling termites is a two-part process starting with termite prevention, and then implementing the appropriate treatment methods for any known termite colonies.
As a homeowner, there are a few steps you can take to prevent termites from inhabiting your home. Keep in mind, you will want to do these even if you don’t suspect termites in your area as termite damage is usually not covered by homeowners insurance. Follow the tips below to prevent termites and keep your home safe from these silent destroyers.
How to prevent termites
If you believe you’ve seen the signs of termites in your home, it’s necessary to get treatment from a professional pest control company as soon as possible before the infestation becomes worse. Termite treatment is also important for preventative measures even if you’ve never had a termite issue before. After an infestation in your home has been controlled, it’s equally as essential to receive regular or annual visits by a professional who can continue to help keep termites away for good.
By regularly treating your home and lawn for termites, typically annually, you can lessen the risk of being hit with an infestation down the road. Preventative termite plans typically include:
Treatment applied along the perimeter of your property to deter any termites
DIY prevention tips for you to implement into your home maintenance routine
The best way to never deal with termites again is by continuing to treat your home even after the termites are gone. To prevent termites from returning, there are several ways to prevent termites naturally by doing easy maintenance work around your home.
Preventing termites: Top indoor tips
The best way to prevent termites is to make your property as inhospitable to them as possible. Here are some simple termite prevention measures to consider:
Seal the property, particularly doors and windows - Ensure that termites cannot gain access to the wood skeleton of your property. Seal up cracks in siding and rooftops. Look for access points in the foundation too, and ensure all potential entry points are sealed shut.
Repair leaking taps and pipes - Doing so will reduce moisture levels, which attract subterranean termites to your property.
Mop up moisture - Moisture is essential for most termite colonies to thrive. Make sure the property is well-aired and kept dry.
Regularly inspect wood furniture and floors - In addition to the joists, wooden beams, and other wooden structures, termites will gladly feast on wooden deck furniture or hardwood floors around your property.
Tidy up clothing piles - You may not think of termites eating clothing, but the cellulose they feed on can be found in fabrics, too.
Ensure that vents to subfloor areas are never blocked - Substandard ventilation in the sub-floor areas of your property will result in high humidity and high moisture levels. Good ventilation and extraction fans where necessary are essential to reduce the risk from subterranean termites.
Divert all hot water services & air conditioning overflows away from the side of the house - Ensure all downspouts are properly connected.
Regularly check that termite shielding is not damaged or breached in any way - While metal strips or ant caps around the foundation of your home do not prevent termite entry, they force termites out into the open where they can be detected with regular termite inspections.
Preventing termites: Top tips for outside your home
Take steps to protect the entire exterior of your home against termites to ensure no points of entry along the perimeter of the property. Here are some simple termite prevention measures to consider:
Remove woodpiles - Do not store stacks of wood against your building and remove old, rotted, damp logs and tree trunks to prevent termites from building nests there.
Fix broken roof tiles - Termites don't require much space to reach the soft, chewy wood skeleton of your property. Broken roof tiles offer the perfect access.
Use only termite treated timber in garden beds, retaining walls or fence posts - Do not use untreated timbers to form garden beds or retaining walls, as these will attract termites to your property.
Construct timber fences and support posts with a two-inch clearance between the timber and soil - Without the clearance, termites gain easy access without detection. Galvanized post shoes that elevate the timber off the ground are available from most hardware stores.
Keep your garden neat - Termites will use overgrowth from gardens or the lawn to gain access to your home. Keep the garden tended, grass trimmed and overgrowth away from the house.
Don’t allow climbing plants or bushy gardens to grow against the structure - Climbing plants growing against the side of the structure of your property provide termites undetected entry points.
Do not plant trees known to send roots under slabs close to the property - The roots of some plants can penetrate the foundations of your property, allowing termites access that is very difficult to locate.
Be aware - Building alterations or additions may change previous termite protection, sometimes rendering them ineffective. Adding a gazebo, new awnings, concrete slab extensions, or even plumbing can provide a route of entry for termites into the property across termite protection previously applied.
How to prevent termites naturally
Even though there’s no guarantee on their effectiveness, there are several all-natural DIY methods that may help to protect your home and yard from termites.
It’s understandable why some people are wary of using chemicals in pest control. Thankfully, there are a number of all-natural methods to help keep termites away from your property. It’s important to note that termites are notoriously difficult to get rid of and almost always require professional treatment. That said, there are a number of natural methods that may help prevent termites from infesting your home:
Orange oil - This can be sprayed into high-risk areas for termites, including crawl spaces and attics.
Cardboard traps - These are often effective because they contain the cellulose that attracts termites. The hope is that any nearby termites will gather near the trap, which can then be disposed of by burning.
Exposure to sunlight - Termites are very sensitive to sunlight; exposing infested furniture to daylight can kill off any hiding termites.
Diatomaceous earth - Used to control many types of garden pests, this can be mixed with soil, water, or paint to help keep termites away.
Nematodes - Certain groups of parasitic nematodes are known to feed on termites, making them a natural form of biological control.
Boric acid - Available in liquid or dust form, boric acid works to kill termites and other pests in or near the home.
DIY vs. professional termite prevention
Preventing termites naturally has been known to work if you are dedicated to staying on top of administering treatment. As with all pests, prevention is the best form of control. In addition to these natural methods, it’s still very important to get regular inspections by an expert who can seek out early signs of termites in your home.
If you can stop the problem before it starts, there’s no need to worry about using chemical treatments. However, if you have an active termite infestation, treatment needs to be handled by a professional who can use the most effective products available, including baiting systems and termiticides. Orange oil, sunlight, nematodes, and other natural prevention methods simply won’t hold up when you are taking on a full-blown infestation.