Termites. They’re hungry. And to them, your house is food. Is there anything you can do to stop them? Can you make your home less appetizing? We asked more than 100 termite experts with a combined 2,000 years of experience what they see as the most common mistakes homeowners can make when it comes to termites.
So, drumroll, please. Below are the top 10 mistakes homeowners make when it comes to termites:
10. Utility Work That Disrupts Termite Treatments.
Repairing utilities on the property; disrupting the termite soil treatment. If your lawn gets dug up for plumbing, gas or electrical work, chances are good you’ve compromised your termite treatment if your home has been treated with a liquid termiticide.
9. Piling Excess Mulch around the Home.
Oh, boy, termites love mulch. Too much up against your home holds soil moisture and can be an easy food source for hungry termites. “The mulch typically used around homes is often a soft wood like pine, which is a great food source for termites,” says Jonathan Schoppe of Dial Pest Control in Roseland, N.J. “I’ve personally seen termites foraging in and around the mulch just 1 inch deep. If the mulch is piled very high up on the foundation of a structure, it makes a natural bridge the termites can use to enter the structure.”
8. Digging around the Foundation to Disrupt a Termite Barrier.
Liquid termite treatments around your foundation are effective only if left undisturbed. So if you dig around your house to plant a new rosebush, you might have opened a hole for termites to crawl through. If your home is protected by a baiting product such as the Sentricon® System, digging around your foundation isn’t a concern as long as the stations stay in place.
7. Leaving Old Tree Stumps in the Yard.
Dead trees are desirable to termites ─ almost as desirable as your house. Stumps in your yard can serve as a launch pad for an attack on your home.
6. Stacking Firewood near the Home.
If you put firewood up against your house, you might as well also leave out a welcome mat for the termites. They can burrow into the woodpile and then right into your house.
5. Using DIY Products to Try and Control Termites.
Termite control is not like fixing a leaky faucet. Fail to do it right and you and your home will most likely pay the price. This is one time you should leave it to the professionals.
4. Having Untreated Wooden Materials Next to the Home.
Yes, that beautiful new fence will keep Fido in your yard, but that untreated wood up against your house also may let termites in. It is best to use treated wood or vinyl fencing, or at least leave a gap between the fence and your home.
3. Constructing Additions to the Home without Expanding Termite Protection.
If you’ve added a sunroom, expanded your kitchen or poured a new patio, that addition needs to be protected from termites, too. Don’t offer up that beautiful new addition as a termite’s next meal.
2. Not Fixing Earth-to-Ground Structural Contact.
If a portion of your porch is touching soil, you’re asking for termites. Soil + wood contact = termites. It’s straightforward math.
And the No. 1 mistake homeowners make when it comes to termites is: Not Getting a Professional Termite Inspection.
Termites are not easy to detect, and failing to do so can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Trained professional termite inspectors know termite behavior ─ where they like to hide, what their damage looks like, what they leave behind as evidence. You don’t. Leave this one up to the professionals. “Homeowners don’t have the experience to know what to look for,” says Richard Buettel, president of Bug Master Pest Exterminators in Vero Beach, Fla. “When we do an inspection, we can point out to the customer what we think are liabilities that would increase the incidence of termites in their home.”
This survey was conducted in 2012 with Certified Sentricon Specialists from across the country. To find a termite professional or to learn more about Sentricon, visit Sentricon.com.