The building of homes eliminates the termite’s natural foods found in the woods. Unlike the wood lying on the ground in the woods, the wood in structures is usually more difficult for termites to find. Termites use cracks in foundations or concrete slabs as the opening to access construction timbers. When traveling in dry air, termites construct and travel in mud tubes and avoid desiccation by keeping the tubes moist.
Understanding the importance of food and moisture in termite survival will help you understand conditions conducive to termite infestations and take actions which may prevent infestations.
Studies have shown about 90 percent of structural termite infestations can be traced to wood that is in contact with the soil. Wood-soil contact provides termites easy access to food and water from the soil, and frequently, a hidden way into the structure. Wood siding, latticework, door and window frames and other wood should be at least six inches above the grade level. Eliminating wood-soil contact can require regrading or pulling soil or mulch away from the foundation. When inspecting your property, look for areas that wood and soil are in direct contact. Consider the following:
- Wood posts and other structural elements should never penetrate concrete floors (basements and slab construction homes, garages). Replace with metal posts but be sure to remove all wood imbedded in the concrete.
- Be sure to check basement windows and frames. They should be made of metal or pressure-treated wood.
- Outdoor wood porches and steps should be supported by a concrete base, at least six inches above grade.
- Where wood-to-soil contact cannot be eliminated, treated wood should be used.
- Stack firewood above the ground on a cement slab and store the firewood away from the house.
- Mulching with shredded wood or bark chips around bedding plants, trees and shrubs can serve as a food source for termites.
- Slope soil away from the house and use gutters and downspouts to move rainwater away from the house and keep the foundation area dry.
- Termites are more likely to infest a structure if the soil around it is constantly moist. Make sure water drains away from the building. Check to make sure gutters and down spouts are in good repair and divert water away from the building.
- Roof or plumbing leaks can enable termites to survive and colonize structures above the ground without soil contact. A termite inspector may be able to detect such moisture problems in the wall with a moisture meter.
- Humid conditions in a crawl space can promote termite problems because termites are able to construct longer mud tubes. Humidity in crawlspaces can be reduced by providing adequate ventilation and creating a vapor barrier. barriers can be created by covering the soil with 4-6 mil polyethylene sheets.
Call Value Pest at 866-366-8683 today to schedule your termite inspection.