Just the thought of thousands of termites and carpenter ants invading the house, silently chewing away at everything from structural wood to drywall, destroying structural integrity and causing thousands of dollars in repairs is enough to intimidate even the most stolid of homeowners. But in truth, an over-fused electrical circuit is a much greater threat to the house than insect incursions. Here are a few thoughts about termites and preventing carpenter ant damage:
- The battle against termites and carpenter ants is best done by pest control professionals. There is a wide range of chemicals and equally diverse strategies to combat these pests. Chemical over-treatment is a valid concern for homeowners because these hazardous chemicals make their way into the soil and surrounding areas of the house, constituting a threat to pets, children and others. Chemical treatments in the past have used far more hazardous mixtures than the present. It’s a good idea to contact the nearest office of the state health department for more information or consult with a pest control professional. Newer termite treatment includes baiting stations placed in the ground around the home that will require monthly monitoring by the pest control company. Different from the termite barrier system, it relies on poisoning the colony rather than stopping entry to the home.
- Termites and carpenter ants can be actively invading a house without any physical signs of their presence. Wet wood attracts wood-destroying insects, and it is the wood within six inches of the ground that is most susceptible to invasion. Termites often build tubes which can extend several feet to gain access to exposed wood. Call a pest control company, or have your home inspector include an examination for these pests.
- Construction methods have been found in many areas to accelerate the likelihood of termite activity. For example, improper stucco or siding application too close to or below ground level and roof leakage due to improper flashing, etc.
- An annual inspection is essential in addition to obtaining an actual “Termite Bond”. In areas that are prone to high termite activity a termite bond with unexpected repair coverage is essential. This type of bond is more expensive, but with the high probability of termite activity, it is well worth the investment. Peace of mind is priceless.
- All vegetation should be kept away from the home by at least 18 inches. Control of rain water is essential in addition to other sources of moisture, such as that draining from your HVAC system. Add rain gutters if not already installed. Keep mulch below the finished floor level and do not allow it to touch any exterior finishes such as siding or stucco.
- Don’t be confused about brick or block homes. Some people believe that termite activity is far less likely with these types of structure. Almost every home is susceptible to infestation. New construction normally relies on a wood frame to support the main structure or roof structure even though it has a brick or stucco finish outside. Brick veneer homes are especially susceptible to termite intrusion.