How to Identify and Stop Termite Damage

by Matt Solis

When it comes to dealing with termite infestations, prevention is always the best policy. Regular monitoring can prevent up to 90 percent of termite damage, so watch for telltale signs of termites and have them exterminated before they get too out of control.

One of the most obvious signs of a termite infestation is the presence of earthen tubes (also called migratory tubes) outside your house. These tubes are the result of termite swarms during the spring and fall, when it first starts to rain. Another thing to watch for is irregularly shaped piles of a powdery, brown substance protruding from your structure’s framing—usually in attics and crawl spaces or on windowsills.

There are several steps you can take to prevent termite damage and sustain an effective termite treatment plan throughout the year. Consider the following tips for making your home a less attractive target for wood-boring insects:

Take care of moisture problems

  • Keep gutters and downspouts as clean as possible. Wet leaves provide moisture and food for termites, and since the gutters are attached to your home, they’re easy points of entry. Clogged gutters can also contribute to moisture problems by soaking wood off the roof and fascia boards.
  • Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and air conditioning units
  • Divert water away from the foundation.
  • Remove excessive plant cover.
  • Get rid of standing water on your roof.
  • Keep vents open and clear.
  • Seal entry points around water pipes and utility lines.

Eliminate food sources

  • Use treated lumber for any wooden structures that come into direct contact with the ground. The chemicals in treated lumber don’t guarantee that termites won’t invade the wood, but they can act as an important deterrent. Consider installing concrete supports that raise wooden support beams off the ground.
  • Get rid of any tree stumps and debris near your house.
  • Add screens to all outdoor vents.
  • Periodically check decks and wood fences for damage.

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