If you suspect signs of termites in your home, call your pest control expert to schedule an inspection. If your termite specialist confirms your home has an active termite infestation, he or she will make recommendations for controlling the current problem and preventing future infestations.
The recommended termite extermination method or combination of methods will depend on whether you have an infestation of subterranean or drywood termites, the size and location of their nest(s), and your home’s construction type. (Dampwood termites rarely infest and damage homes, so this species is not referenced below.)
How to Treat Termites
Pest control experts treat subterranean and drywood termites differently to target their unique behavior and nest locations. Subterranean termites nest in the soil, so soil application is the most common treatment approach. Drywood termites typically nest in wood in and around homes, so direct wood application or fumigation is used to treat drywood termites.
In addition to controlling existing termite colonies, you will need to partner with your termite specialist to address any issues that make your home susceptible to future infestations.
A few recommendations to reduce excess moisture and wood-to-ground contact, two key conditions that can be conducive to termite activity, include:
- Adjust the grading of the dirt around your house so that it slopes away from the home. If water pools anywhere around your home, it can attract termites.
- Reduce direct wood-to-ground contact by using concrete supports for deck posts. Other common problem areas for wood-to-ground contact include doorframes, crawlspaces and porches.
- Use a sheet of polyethylene plastic to help prevent water vapor in often damp crawlspace areas.
- Remove any cellulose-containing materials from crawlspaces. Any cellulose left behind from new home construction or remodeling can serve as a food source for termites.
- Consider replacing mulch with materials that do not hold moisture for termites, or keeping mulch at least 12 inches away from the house.
- Fix leaky plumbing, air conditioner condensation lines and faulty gutters that can create moist spots in the soil near your home.
- Keep wooden siding at least six inches above the ground. Any lower and it will become easy for termites to create a hidden entrance into your house behind the siding.
- Seal other potential entry points, including gaps where water and gas lines enter the home and cracks in the foundation. Even chips in old paint can make it easier for termites to enter your home.