The Cold Won't Stop Termites
Termites are cold blooded, but they don’t hibernate or die off in the winter. Even with the cold winds blowing outside, termites could be hard at work destroying the wood in your home.
Your first thought may be termites are so small (1/4 inch) how could they be such a problem? These silent destroyers of wood are estimated to cause between $1 and $2 billion dollars in repairs annually in the Unites States alone. Sadly, many of these repairs are not covered by homeowners insurance. So what should a home owner do? To help reduce the chance of termites causing you financial troubles, start off by taking these steps.
First, manage the moisture in your home. Termites need moisture to survive and moisture helps wood to be more palatable to termites. Make sure you have proper ventilation in your bathrooms, and if necessary consider a dehumidifier. On the outside of your home, make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean, and that water is diverted away from your foundation. If you have a sprinkler system, make sure the spray is not facing toward your home.
Moisture can be a significant problem in the basement or crawl space. A neglected crawl space can lead to termite problems. Many of us have a crawl space that we would prefer to forget about. It would be nice if we could overlook them, but when crawl spaces are not properly ventilated with a good vapor barrier, they could leach moisture into the floor joists and subfloor making the structure of your home more susceptible to termite damage. If you are concerned about your crawl space, there are encapsulation programs that do wonders to keep down moisture.
Next, make it more difficult for termites to enter your home by removing easy pathways. Both shrubs and trees can be used by termites as a virtual highway into your home. Keep all foliage at least a foot away from any part of the structure. Traditional wood mulch can also be a pathway for termites. You may want to consider alternative mulch near your foundation. Pine straw can be a good alternative because it is less appealing to termites and ants than traditional wood mulch. You may even want to consider an inorganic cover like pea gravel or stone.
Another important step is to remove items that encourage termites to come close to your home. A firewood pile is a staple in many homes over the winter. For convenience sake, many people have them right outside their door or even on their porch. This is a bad idea! Firewood against the house encourages termites to get closer. Keep your woodpile at least twenty feet from your home.
There is a reason termites are able to do so much damage in a year; it is because they are often not detected until there are serious problems. Having your home inspected and treated can save you a significant amount of money in the long run. Make sure to give Cowleys a call to make sure termites don’t cause you problems.