The first step in prevention is to be on the alert for termites. Termites rarely emerge from soil, mud tubes, or food sources through which they are tunneling. Most people are not aware they have termites until they see a swarm or come across damage during construction. Some of the ways to discover if you have termites are listed below:
- Examine, by probing, exposed wood for hollow spots (using a flathead screwdriver or similar tool).
- Identify termite swarms (sometimes ant swarms are mistaken as termites).
How Can I Prevent Termite Infestation?
Make the Structure Less Attractive to Termites
During construction, use a concrete foundation and leave a ventilation space between the soil and wood. Cover exposed wood surfaces with a sealant or metal barrier.
Maintain the Termite Prevention Features
- After construction, keep the soil around the foundation dry through proper grading and drainage (including maintenance of gutters and downspouts).
- Reduce openings that offer termites access to the structure (filling cracks in cement foundations as well as around where utilities pass through the wall with cement, grout, or caulk).
- Fix leaks immediately.
- Keep vents free from blockage, including plants.
- Ensure that trees and shrubs are not planted too close to the structure and do not allow them to grow against exposed wood surfaces.
- Do not pile or store firewood or wood debris next to the house.
- Inspect periodically to help ensure that termite colonies do not become established.
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Termites: How to Identify and Control Them | United States Environmental Protection Agency