Termites can do serious damage to a home very quickly. You may not even know they are there until it’s too late. Termites cause billions of dollars in damage to homes each year. These destructive insects need moisture and wood to live, so eliminating their access to either of these in and around your home will help prevent an infestation.
Check for leaks, cracked pipes, air conditioning drips and any other areas of moisture in your house. Check on a regular basis: underneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks, the basement and other likely places. Fix any leaks in your home as soon as they are discovered. Without the draw of water, your home is less likely to attract termites.
Plug, patch or seal any holes you find in your house, especially in the foundation. Termites walk into the tiniest breaches in your wall, floor or window casings.
Use treated wood for all your home building and repair projects. Treat the wood you already have with a spray-on product. Re-spray every two years, or whenever you see termites or new damage. Move extra wood building materials, firewood or cardboard away from the house. Storing such things in a woodshed will save your home from being a target. Alternatively, put a plastic tarp between the wood and the ground, or elevate the wood off the ground with metal shelving.
Store mulch away from the house, since its high moisture content makes it a haven for termites. Try rubber-based mulch that can be found at hardware stores and home centers. Keep wood structures out of direct contact with the ground. Termites live in the soil and invite themselves in if given the chance. When you build a new wood structure, such as a shed or deck, give it a concrete foundation to keep any wood off the ground.
Clear brush from around your home to keep moisture at bay. Take extra care if you live in a wet or humid climate. If you live a region that gets a lot of rain, you must be extra vigilant. Remove stumps, roots or dead trees from your yard. These temptations lure termites, and when they're finished eating the dead wood, they will notice your home nearby.
Eliminate any standing water in or around your home. Remove any pooled water in rain gutters, and drain them into rain barrels to keep the soil around the home as dry as possible. Level the ground, or install a drainage system for your yard, if puddles are a problem.
Bring in an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractor to assess any ventilation or in-home humidity problems. Follow his recommendations to improve your vent systems and keep the air flowing through your home. Proper ventilation keeps rooms drier, making them less attractive to termites.
Use wooden bait stakes to attract the bugs away from your house and poison them as they munch at the wood. Place them 2 or 3 feet from the house, spaced about 10 feet apart, and encircle your home. If you find termites when you check them, add the poison.
Hire professional inspectors to check for termite infestation in your home on a regular basis. Signs include mud-like tunnels, often vertical, along the walls of the foundation, inside or out.
Hire pest control experts to exterminate termites and prevent new infestations.