When dealing with a termite infestation, taking protective steps can eliminate the need to have your house fumigated. Photo: Van Hooser Enterprises, Inc. (2011)

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 crawlspaces 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 wooden fences for damage.

To find a Diamond Certified termite/pest control company in your area, click on one of the links below.

Alameda County: www.diamondcertified.org/alameda-pest-control, www.diamondcertified.org/alameda-termite-control

Contra Costa County: www.diamondcertified.org/contra-costa-pest-control

Marin County: www.diamondcertified.org/marin-pest-control, www.diamondcertified.org/marin-termite-control

San Francisco: www.diamondcertified.org/san-francisco-pest-control

San Mateo County: www.diamondcertified.org/san-mateo-pest-control, www.diamondcertified.org/san-mateo-termite-control

Santa Clara County: www.diamondcertified.org/santa-clara-pest-control, www.diamondcertified.org/santa-clara-termite-control

Santa Cruz County: www.diamondcertified.org/santa-cruz-pest-control

Solano County: www.diamondcertified.org/solano-termite-control

Sonoma County: www.diamondcertified.org/sonoma-pest-control, www.diamondcertified.org/sonoma-termite-control


8 Responses

  1. Drew says:

    Getting rid of debris from around your house is great advice. You don’t want to risk termites moving from limbs to your foundation. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Eliza Cranston says:

    Thank you for the information on termites! I just moved into an older home that’s kind of a fixer-upper, and I’m worried that we have some termite damage. I’ve noticed those little earth tubes on the outside of the house so it sounds like I probably do. I’ll try to eliminate moisture and food sources and look into some pest control!

  3. Vicky Durrant says:

    My husband and I just moved into an area that is infamous for its termite problems. We want to do everything that we can to avoid having issues with the pest, so I’m happy that I found your post! I really liked your tips, especially what you mentioned about eliminating food sources for the termites. I noticed that we have a few old tree stumps in our yard, so I’ll be sure to have those removed as soon as possible. Thank you for the advice!

  4. Judy Wilson says:

    After reading this post, I can see that there’s more that I need to learn about preventing termites from infesting my home. I haven’t been keeping my gutters clear, so there are some wet spots in my home that would be a food source for termites, according to this post. This is probably one reason why I have an infestation in my home now, so I should keep this in mind to prevent this from happening again once I can get rid of the termites.

  5. Kenneth Gladman says:

    Thanks for the signs to watch out for, I will look for those earthen tubes next time. We have a shed out back that was infested on the backside. I didn’t realize until it was too late. Be sure to check your structures away from your home as well.

  6. Jeff Curtis says:

    Thanks for this helpful post on termite control. I am worried that I might be getting termite damage in my house. I didn’t know that taking care of moisture problems could help eliminate termites. I will be sure to take care of any moisture issues I have. Thanks for the help!

  7. Kate Hansen says:

    My husband found some minor termite damage that we are getting taken care of next week. However, we want to take some further steps to that we can prevent damage in the future. I like how you suggest to keep gutters and downspouts as clean as possible so that you aren’t providing any wet leaves for termite food. Thanks for sharing these awesome tips!

  8. Elsa Anderson says:

    It’s interesting how you mention that one of the most obvious signs of a termite infestation is the presence of earthen tubes outside your house. I’m not sure I’d be able to recognize one if I saw one, so calling a professional to take a look is what I would do. I would imagine that they know how to spot these migratory tubes and other signs you have termites and get it in control as soon as possible.

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