16 Termite Prevention Tips

Termites cost homeowners in the U.S. over 5 billion dollars each year.

They are sneaky and hide deep inside walls and soil.

Oftentimes, homeowners are unaware of termite infestations until significant damage has already been done.

So, when it comes to termites, prevention is undoubtedly better than cure.

In this article, we’ll go over 16 tips on how to prevent termites in your home.

1. Pre-Construction Treatment

The best termite prevention starts during pre-construction.

To prevent termites from entering your home, make sure to:

  • Treat the soil with insecticide before any slab placement. The insecticide will act as a barrier and prevent any subterranean termite from entering your home.
  • Apply a physical termite barrier to piping penetrations prior to pouring the concrete slab. You can also integrate stainless steel mesh barriers around your foundation to block entry points for termites.
  • Make sure your yard is graded to let the water flow away from your home when it rains.
  • Minimize wood-to-soil contact by supporting wood with a concrete base. For all wood that has direct contact with soil, use pressure-treated or termite-resistant wood.
  • Make sure you have proper ventilation in crawl spaces to help reduce moisture. Keep wood in crawl spaces above ground.
  • Make sure your siding is at least six inches above the soil.

2. Chemical Soil Treatment

Chemical soil treatments are one of the most effective ways to prevent Subterranean termites from entering your home.

This treatment involves digging a trench around the foundation and applying termiticide on the soil.

You can also apply the treatment under your foundation.

To do this, you’ll need to drill through your home foundation and inject the termiticide into the soil underneath.

Chemical soil treatments are only valid on subterranean termites.

It is not valid at preventing Drywood and Dampwood termites because these termites don’t live inside the soil.

One of the best products for chemical soil treatment is Termidor.

Liquid insecticides will typically stay active for at least five to ten years.

3. Baiting Stations

Termite traps, a.k.a Termite Stations, is another way you can monitor and prevent termites.

These stations do not trap termites but entice them to ingest deadly chemicals using bait.

The bait can be anything with cellulose, such as wood and paper.

Termite traps are effective because they are slow-acting.

When worker termites eat them they don’t die right away.
Instead, they return the food to the nest and spread the bait to the entire colony.

Since other members rely on worker termites for food, you only need a few soldiers to feed on the bait to kill a significant amount of the population.

You can also use bait systems to detect termite in your home.

To do this, you fill the cylinder with the bait without the termiticide.

If you see termites feeding on it, you’ll know you have termites present in your home. You can then implement treatment right away.

Just like chemical soil treatments Underground Termite traps only work on subterranean termites.

That’s because for the bait to work, the termite needs to be able to access it.

Subterranean termites’ nest is located under the soil, so they’ll be able to find the bait.

Drywood termites and Dampwood termites, on the other hand, live deep inside the wood. So, they come into contact with bait stations.

Bait stations will prevent any subterranean termite infestations from growing too large around your home and will kill them if they attempt to invade your property.

Resource: What Are Termite Traps and Do They Work?

4. Store Firewood and Other Wood Properly

It’s common for homeowners to stack firewood against their homes so they can easily access them.

But doing so also gives termites easy access to your home.

While termites live within the soil, their workers will penetrate and feed into firewood.

And when you stack firewood against your house, you give termites a way to expand their feeding into your home.

To keep termites from entering through firewood, make sure to store them properly.

Store your firewood at least 20 feet away from your home and keep them off the ground.

Other than firewood, you’ll also want to keep wood piles away from your home. These include dead stumps and fallen branches.

5. Eliminate Wood to Soil Contact

wood to soil contact wood

Remove any soil-to-wood contact in your home.

Wood sidings, fences, decks, doors, and window framing should never touch the soil because termites can penetrate them and tunnel underneath them.

Keep wood siding, stucco and foam board at least six inches away from the ground.

Removing wood-to-soil contact may require removing soil back from the foundation, cutting the bottom off the wood, or applying a barrier at the base of the wood.

A simple barrier to prevent soil from coming into contact is a great way to prevent termites from coming in contact.

This barrier can include metal covers, concrete base, or gravel barrier to prevent termites from tunneling through your exposed wood.

If wood must touch the soil, use pressure-treated wood for protection.

6. Maintain the Vegetation and Landscape Around Your Home

Having overgrown tree branches touching your roof creates a perfect bridge between termites and your home.

They can use the tree limbs and leaves to transport into your home and begin feeding.

Overgrown trees can also block sunlight and prevent moisture on your roof from drying out. And we all know how much termites love moisture.

To avoid termites, make sure to trim your trees regularly so that they are not touching the home.

You’ll also want to keep your shrubs and vines well maintained.

Prevent any vines and shrubs coming in contact with your siding as they can be a bridge for termites.

A good rule of thum is to keep shrubs at least 12 inches away from your exterior wall.

This space will allow enough space for damp areas to dry out quicker.

It will also allow termite tubes and damage to be discovered earlier.

7. Eliminate Excess Moisture

Subterranean termites need moisture to survive.

To keep termites away termites, remove excess moisture away from your home with proper drainage systems.

Here’s how:

  1. Repair any leaky plumbing inside and outside your home
  2. Make sure your rain gutters, downspouts, and splash blocks are functioning properly. They should keep the water at least five feet minimum from your foundation wall.
  3. Keep all sprinkler heads pointed away from your home’s foundation
  4. Keep any dripping water from your air conditioning away from your foundation.
  5. Make sure your yard is designed to let the water flow away from your home when it rains. If that isn’t the case, contact a yard drainer professional to get your yard graded properly.
  6. Fix uneven concrete that causes water to pool in one area during rainstorms.
  7. Clean your gutters. Remove any twigs and leaves build-up to prevent your roof from getting soft.

8. Replace Rotting or Damaged Wood

Water damaged ceiling and wall

Termites love eating dead rotting wood.

If you had any water damage or excess moisture problems, check the wood around for moisture damage or rotting.

One way you can do this is by using a moisture meter.

The standard acceptable moisture levels for exterior wood in most states range from 9% to 14%.

Any moisture reading above that range is likely too much and could attract termites.

It is also important that you replace any damaged or rotting wood.

Some common places to look for damage or cracked wood around your home are

  • Window and Door Seals
  • Eaves and fascia, roof shingles.
  • Any warped or damaged side paneling
  • Inside your home: baseboards, floorboards, door, and window seals

Cracks and small damage can be repaired with caulking or wood filler and a fresh coat of paint.

Damaged or rotting wood should be replaced completely and applied a fresh coat of paint.

9. Properly Ventilate Attics and Crawlspaces

High humidity and moisture is the perfect environment for termites.

These conditions are common in crawlspaces and attics.

To reduce the humidity in your attic, use vents or dehumidifier.

To reduce the humidity in your crawlspace, ensure that you have vents installed and use a vapor cover.

A vapor cover involves applying a vinyl or foil barrier to the floor and walls of your crawlspace.

This barrier will reduce the amount of humidity that accumulates from the soil and keep your foundation as dry as possible.

It will also reduce the number of vents you need in your crawlspace, with around 1 square foot of vent for every 300 square feet of crawl space.

If you already have vents installed, it’s important to make sure there is nothing obstructing them.

Keep your vents clean, so they can properly ventilate.

The standard building coder requires 1 square foot of vent for every 150 square feet of crawl space.

Make sure your crawlspace is following this standard.

10. Seal All Entry Points

Seal up any possible termite entry points, such as cracks and holes around your home.

Cracks and entry points are common in:

  • Window and Door Seals
  • Eaves and fascia, roof shingles.
  • Any warped or damaged side paneling
  • Inside your home: baseboards, floorboards, door, and window seals
  • Side-paneling
  • Deck or patio wood structures
  • Wood near the foundation or the floor

Another key area to inspect is around the foundation of your home. If there are any visible gaps, use caulk to fill it.

Even the smallest cracks in a foundation can provide termites access to get inside your home.

Termites are tiny and can fit through crevices as thin as cardstock paper.

If they find cracks on your foundation, they will use it to build mud tubes and move indoors.

If you have a basement, check the foundation for any crack and seal them up.

Check the roof of your home as well and apply bug screes to any vents to make sure no flying termite can fly inside.

11. Avoid Using Mulch Around The Foundation of Your Home

Termites are attracted to mulch.

It traps moisture and insulates against harsh temperatures, making it the perfect shelter for termites.

To keep termites away, minimize the use of wood mulch in your home.

Also, keep mulch away from your wood siding, door, window framing, and foundation.

You can also use mulch that naturally repels termites such as redwood, melaleuca, cypress, and cedar mulch to prevent attracting termite.

Oher alternative you can use is rock, gravel, pebbles, rubber, and pine needles.

Pebbles or gravel is typically too heavy and compact for termites to tunnel through. As a result, they won’t be able to access the perimeter of your foundation.

12. Keep Your Basement and Attic Clean

Termites don’t just eat the wood they eat anything with cellulose, including paper, cardboard, fabric, and lumber. All of which are commonly found in basements and attics.

Make sure to keep your basement and attics organized and clean. Remove anything unnecessary.

The less stuff you have, the less food for termites.

13. Treat Exposed Wood

Bora-Care is a wood preservative used to prevent and control termite infestations.

It seeps deep into any wood that has no paint or sealants.

Once absorbed, Boracare will stay on the wood for its lifetime as long as it is sealed and coated.

To apply Bora-care to painted or sealed wood, you will need to drill into the wood and inject it.

For the best results, drill holes every 6 to 8 inches and inject for 2-5 seconds in each hole.

After drilling, be sure to fill and repaint these holes to remove any signs of drilling.

Resource: How to Treat Wood To Prevent Termites

14. Use Pressure Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is resistant to decay, termites and other wood-eating insects.

It’s gone through a process that uses high pressure to force preservative agents deep into the pores of the wood.

These chemical solutions slow down natural decay and protect the wood against fungus, moisture, and termites.

Termites are less likely to attack pressure-treated wood, and if they do, they will die.

Resource: How to Treat Wood To Prevent Termites

15. Use Naturally Repellent Wood

Woods that are naturally repellant to termites are:

  • Redwood
  • Cedar
  • Teak
  • Peruvian Walnut
  • Honduran mahogany
  • Alaska yellow cedar

While termites will eat the wood mentioned above, they will not be able to thrive on them.

In this study, Redwood was shown to produce a 100% mortality rate on termites after three weeks. It also showed Cedar is capable of producing a 50% mortality rate on termites.

And in this study, teak, Peruvian Walnut, Honduran, Mahogany, and Alaska Yellow Cedarwood were shown to have a 75% mortality rate on termites.

Most of these woods are also resistant to rotting and decay, making them even more ideal for termite prevention.

Resource: How to Treat Wood To Prevent Termites

16. Regularly Monitor Your Home

To keep termites away, monitor your home for infestations once or twice a year.

Monitoring is especially important if you live in a high-risk are if you’ve had termites before.

You can monitor termites yourself or a professional pest control company to inspect your home.

Unfortunately, there are no standard devices that make it easy to detect termites.

The most common way to inspect for termites is to look for visual signs.

Here are some that you should watch out for:

  1. Flying Termites Or Swarmers
  2. Discarded Wings
  3. Dead Alates
  4. Mud Tubes
  5. Pallets/ Frass
  6. Patches
  7. Hollow Wood
  8. Noises In Your Walls
  9. Bubbling Paint
  10. Damaged Wood
  11. Hard To Open Doors And Windows
  12. Termite Cement

Resource: Top 13 Signs You Have Termites

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