Preventing Subterranean Termites Naturally
Termites cause billions of dollars of damage to homes and buildings every year. By many estimates, Subterranean Termites account for 95% of termite caused destruction. This type of termite includes the Formosan which is the most voracious. As the name “subterranean” implies, they nest in colonies underground.
Termites forage on wood. Their purpose in nature is degradation of wood to recycle it back into the soil. That could be dead trees, stumps, construction debris and even your home. They don’t discriminate. It is likely there are colonies of termites lurking somewhere nearby. At some point they will invade and destroy your home unless you take protective measures to prevent them from getting in.
They invade structures and homes by transporting moist soil above ground to build mud tubes that protect them from “drying-out” and from predators which include some types of ants. Termites forage on wood, particularly moist wood. You can bet they are already located in your yard searching for a safe route into your home or building.
Astronomical Reproduction Numbers
A colony of subterranean termites can consist of tens of thousands and even a million. There could be multiple colonies connected by tunnels. A single queen termite can lay thousands of eggs in one day. With a lifespan of 30 to 50 years, you can only imagine the horrific numbers of termites she can produce. It would take very little time destroy your home.
These tiny terrorists can wreak enormous havoc 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, non-stop consuming pounds upon pounds of wood. Beyond wood, subterranean termites will destroy plastic pipes and insulation. It is particularly devastating when they consume beams that support structure.
How To Naturally Prevent Termites
If you are already infested with termites, call a professional. It is very difficult to eradicate established colonies and you will need professional expertise to apply professional grade treatment. That being said, the best way to naturally prevent potential termite destruction is stopping them from getting into your home. The key is eliminating conditions that give them easy access.
Subterranean termites need three things to survive. WATER, MOIST SOIL and WOOD. Remove water and moist soil in the immediate area around structures, and you will be diminishing potential access to its food source.
1. Keep water saturation completely away from the foundation.
2. Do not let soil around the home’s perimeter to stay moist
3. Keep piles of wood at the farthest point from the foundation.
How To Prevent Moist Soil Around or Near Foundations
Obviously it is impossible to keep soil away from a foundation. But you can keep it from being constantly moist. Perpetually moist soil presents the biggest danger to homes and building
Slope exterior grades away from foundations. Insure good drainage so that water does not saturate the ground. Soil immediately next to exterior walls must remain dry.
Extend condensation lines and gutter downspouts. Extend them a minimum of 2 feet beyond exterior walls. It is particularly important for air conditioning condensation lines that constantly drip water.
Avoid planting shrubs or grass near or against foundations. Trees, shrubs and grass require frequent watering which keeps the soil moist. Keep bushes at least 6 feet away from exterior walls. Keep grass several feet from the foundation. Sprinkler heads installed against exterior walls not only keeps soil moist, but over-spray onto exterior walls will moisten exterior wood. Moist wood is a special target of subterranean termites.
Bark mulch retains moisture. If you use decorative bark mulch, keep it well-away from foundations. Mulch is also a harboring place for other insect pests including cockroaches.
Keep ground under decks and porches well-ventilated and dry. These areas typically go unnoticed so it is particularly crucial to grade them away from the foundation and crawl spaces as well as basements. Rain water must not collect under porches and decks.
Install gutters and keep them free of debris. Make sure rain collects and flows to the downspouts. Seamless gutters are of additional protection since leakage would be minimized.
Don’t Entice Termites With Wood
The food source of termites is any material which contains cellulose, the major component of wood. Regardless of where it is located, wood is the targeted food source for termites.
Never let wood from a home make ground contact. Keep all wooden parts of the house at least 6 inches above the soil. If wood is moist, it becomes a prime target of subterranean termites.
Never bury construction debris or waste wood underground. Pieces of wood or any item containing cellulose is an enticement to termites.
Store firewood at the farthest point from foundations. Store the wood on concrete slabs so the logs do not touch the ground.
Remove dead trees, shrubs and tree stumps. Nature’s intended purpose of termites is return dead trees to soil, so removing them will help keep subterranean termites from nesting in your yard.
This article discusses natural control of subterranean termites including natural remedies and preventative treatments. The best way to avoid termite damage is stopping them from entering your home or building. There is no guarantee these natural methods work, but if applied the chances of termite infestation should be diminished significantly.