When you are dreaming of making your home a special place, keeping nasty bugs out may be the last thing on your mind. You’d much rather picture your fabulous kitchen, roomy bathroom, and spacious family room, right? Well, the truth is, you’ll enjoy your dream home much more if you put some time into planning the best ways to keep unwanted pests, especially termites, out of your home.
For most people, termites fall into the category of pests known as “wallet-boring insects,” or those who are capable of costing you thousands of dollars when you can least afford it. Rarely seen unless swarming, termites spend most of their time in soil or mud when they’re not methodically munching through someone’s home. With an average size of one-half inch, termites are made of equal parts creepiness and efficiency. Given their close relation to the cockroach, this comes as no surprise.
Termites eat nonstop, all day, every day, with no potty breaks or naptimes allowed. Given their appetite for cellulose, which is found in wood (such as the wood which your house is constructed of) they can do a lot of damage to your home. They prefer a damp environment, which gives a thoughtful homeowner some clues as to how to prevent the little critters from making their home in yours.
Simple Ways to Prevent Infestation
- In order to make your house unattractive to termites, you need to make sure the areas around the foundation stay dry. Concrete foundations with good ventilation are superior for keeping pests out. Here are a few simple ideas to prevent infestations. Seal exposed wood surfaced with sealant, or use a metal barrier to prevent entry of termites.
- Openings in the foundation or other parts of the house are like an open invitation to a termite. You can reduce or eliminate openings by filling in cracks with caulk, grout, or cement.
- Proper grading and drainage around the home will help maintain a dry environment that is unattractive to pests. Keeping your gutters and downspouts maintained, and ensuring that water runs away from the house, not under it, is a simple method of prevention.
- Keep an eye on your pipes under the house, and fix any leaks right away.
- Vents should be maintained, in order to assure airflow in the crawl space which can help keep it dry.
- Plants, including trees and shrubs, should be trimmed so they don’t touch the house. Wet leaves that brush on the siding can lead to moisture issues, and ultimately contribute to a pest problem.
- Firewood and debris piles should not be allowed near the home, as they can be very attractive to termites.
Professionals who offer pest and termite services can help you identify ways to prevent infestations. If you already have a pest problem, they can help you eliminate the factors that make your home attractive to pests. Qualified professionals can recommend a course of action to rid your home of pests, including using pesticides. However, if you prefer not to use chemicals, there are non-chemical methods that may be effective. Physical barriers, such as steel mesh or certain types of sand, can repel termites. In some cases, biological agents such as fungi and nematodes are effective in controlling pest populations.
Keeping pests out of your house starts with prevention. By using simple methods to create an unhospitable environment, you can enjoy a pest-free home and save money, too.