The term “termite sand barrier” typically refers to the installation of sand around a home’s foundation, concrete slabs, piers and utility entry points to help block termite foragers from entering the home.
Termite sand barriers are not common in the U.S., due to cost factors and limited availability. As sand barriers typically are installed as one part of a termite prevention and control program, your termite professional can recommend other prevention options that may be more appropriate.
Can Termites Tunnel Through Sand?
Research has shown termites are unable to build tunnels through sand when the particles are between 2.0 and 2.8 millimeters. The larger particles are too big for a termite to move, and the smaller particles fill in the spaces so that termites cannot burrow between the larger pieces of sand.
Is Sand an Effective Barrier?
As a non-toxic termite barrier, sand can serve as one component of an integrated pest management approach to termite prevention. Since sand barriers are designed to help keep termites out – not control termites once they get there – they should be used in conjunction with other methods of termite control to protect your home effectively.
Sand barriers are not recommended for all climates or types of construction. Sand barriers have been used primarily in Hawaii during pre-construction to help protect homes from Formosan termites. A few post-construction barriers have been installed in crawlspaces in California, although post-construction application is not as effective as pre-construction application. The sand should be installed as a uniform 4-inch thick, 20-inch wide layer to be effective.
Combining Sand Barriers and Termiticides for Protection
Sand particles come in different sizes, and not all sizes of sand block a termite’s path. There are a few species of termites that function well in naturally-occurring loose sand. In areas where these species are active, pest control experts may recommend combining a sand barrier with termiticide application to the soil.