Termites wreak serious havoc on homes built primarily from wood products. If you're like most homeowners, you already know to keep firewood stored off-the-ground and away from the side of your home. You probably also know that you should only bring enough firewood indoors for a couple of days at a time. However, you may not be aware that other strategies exist for minimizing termite activity in and around your home. The following are three of those strategies.
Minimize Use of Landscaping Mulch Near the Home's Exterior
Landscaping mulch provides benefits for plant health and also helps homeowners keep summer water bills at reasonable rates. However, mulching materials used too close to the home's exterior provide an inviting environment for termite activity. Some homeowners try to circumvent this issue by using non-plant based mulches, but that doesn't stop the problem. Whether a mulch is made from wood chips or pebbles doesn't matter to the termites -- it's the warm, moist environment underneath the mulch that termite colonies find so appealing. No matter what kind of mulch you're using, leave a strip of bare dirt about a foot wide between the mulch and the foundation of your home. Avoid getting this area wet when watering your lawn and garden, and rake your mulch periodically to give it a chance to aerate and dry out.
Don't Stack Paper Products Next to Your Walls or on Wood Floors
Homeowners often don't realize that termites feed on materials other than wood. Termites feed on cellulose, which is also found in products such as cardboard and paper. For this reason, it's wise not to keep a stack of books, newspapers, magazines, or cardboard against interior or exterior walls of your home. You should be particularly careful of second-hand reading material that you bring home from used bookstores. Store the material in plastic bins when not in use to prevent possible termite damage.
Keep Your Crawl Space Well-Ventilated
Termites thrive in moist, warm environments, so discourage them from forming colonies by keeping your crawl space well-ventilated. Building codes generally require a certain amount of ventilation in crawl spaces anyway, but humidity levels can rise due to other factors. Be sure to keep vegetation around the vents clipped back, and keep the area free of debris such as fallen leaves and grass cuttings. For an extra layer of protection, consider having your local pest control company install 4–6 ml polyethylene sheets under the surface of the soil in the crawl space.