Once termite damage is discovered, the average homeowner can spend nearly $3,000 to repair the mess left behind. Termites are thought to be capable of consuming up to 2 to 3 percent of their body weight each day, and each mature colony can contain anywhere from 4,800 to 1 million termites depending on the variety. That's a lot of damage potential in a single colony. The single most effective way to reduce termite damage is to focus on prevention. What does that look like? Here are some tips to help you get started.
Termites sneak into your home through access points like cracks and gaps in your home's foundation, open attic vents, loose window joints and open eaves. Inspecting and sealing these potential access points can keep termites out. An annual inspection can root out potential trouble spots and offer suggestions on how to fix them. Seal with caulk and fine mesh wire.
Create a Buffer Zone
Bushes, shrubberies and other landscaping elements should be placed at a six-inch distance away from your home. These areas create a moist, protected environment for termites to thrive and give them plenty of time in relative safety to hunt down a way inside.
Clean Out Your Gutters
Make a habit of regularly clearing away leaves and debris from your gutters and downspouts. Build-up of these leaves, twigs and other debris can provide a happy home for termites by offering potential food, secure shelter, and the right moisture and temperature levels.
Keep Mulch Away
Mulch is a perfect breeding ground for termites. It offers an abundance of food, plus a perfect shelter with moisture and the temperatures termites need to thrive. Keep any mulch at least six inches away from your home's foundation and ensure that you don't layer it any deeper than 4 inches. Thicker mulch is more attractive not just to termites, but for a host of other pests, including millipedes, centipedes, ants, rodents and sowbugs.
Stack Wood at a Distance
Much like mulch, wood is a happy breeding ground for termite colonies. Keep it at least twenty feet away from your buildings and off the ground if possible.
Inspect, Inspect, Inspect
An annual inspection is the best way to ensure that termites stay away. Since termites are an ever-present threat, plan on regularly evaluating your property for potentially welcoming opportunities for termite invaders as well as a professional evaluation to look for budding colonies growing out of site.
Managing Termite Populations
Once you discover a termite colony on your property, you want to eradicate them and deter them as early as possible. Regular inspection is a key element in fixing the problem before it gets out of hand. Each situation is unique, and a termite expert can help you find the best long-term solution to eradication and prevention.