Termites Are Coming
South Florida is the perfect place to live, eat, and raise a family. Unfortunately, you aren’t the only ones to think so. The combination of warm tropical climate and moist ocean breezes make the Sunshine State uniquely suited to one of the most destructive pests homeowners have to face – termites.
As the cool weather starts to recede, termite colonies begin to grow and flourish. By summer, these little beasts will be dug in, causing an estimated $5 billion in damage to homes across the US. Knowing how to prevent termites from getting a foothold is the first step to protecting your household investment.
Termite treatment can quickly become costly, so controlling the situation before it gets out of hand is always going to be your best option. While termite colonies are resilient once established, they are very picky creatures – and only propagate under very specific conditions.
Control the conditions and you control the pest. Here’s how.
Moisture and Standing Water
Termites like their food warm and wet. Monitoring the moisture levels around the foundation of your house helps reduce instances of infestation considerably. Subterranean termite colonies can cause more damage in a single season than most homeowners realize. Standing water or puddles near the base of your home can indicate conditions where termite population growth may be optimal and should be avoided at all costs.
To help in this, make sure that rain gutters are well-maintained and free from any leaves or debris. Clogged gutters can be an excellent breeding ground for pests of all kinds. Also, ensure that water diverted from these gutters falls at least three feet away from the house anywhere you have a downspout. This will help reduce the likelihood of moisture penetrating your foundation and prevent termite colonies from gaining a toehold on your property.
Landscaping to Reduce Exposure
When we think of termite control, we tend to think more about the structure of the house and less about the foliage and plant material around our yard. One very common place for termites to breed is in the mulch used around the base of trees and as bedding for gardens.
Make sure that your mulch is clean and replaced before it starts to hold in moisture. Maintaining adequate drainage will help to prevent moisture buildup and restrict their available food supply near the foundation of your dwelling.
Deadwood Breeding Grounds
Termites love wood. Tree trimmings and firewood are a marvelous food source for a budding termite colony, so keep these things well away from the house. Make sure to try and keep your wood as dry as possible, and keep dead branches trimmed back as far from your walls as possible.
When Prevention Fails
In the past, when termite colonies took root in a home, the only viable option was costly and dangerous tenting services. Not only was the process toxic and lingering, but it often damaged the property. The gutters, awnings, patios and foliage surrounding the house could be damaged or even destroyed by the tents and poisons used.
Luckily, even when prevention fails, there are other options for removing termites from the wooden structures of the property. Heat fumigation and chemical spot treatments have proven incredibly effective at eradicating hard to remove species, such as termites and bedbugs.
By reducing the likelihood of infestation, you can keep your house and property safe for years – even in the warm tropical conditions of South Florida.