Prevent Insects From Damaging Your Home

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Since recently discovering termites at my home, I thought it would be good to learn more about these pests.

Household pests want the same things you do — food, water, shelter — and will seize any opportunity to satisfy their needs.

You can’t stop every pest from ever flying, crawling, or burrowing into your home, but you can make sure the occasional intrusion doesn’t become an all-out invasion.

Start outside by making sure there is no wood to ground contact anywhere around your home, clear out any overgrowth of vegetation, and at least 2″ to 3″ of your slab shows at all times. Firewood should be at least 20 feet away and five inches off the ground.  Remove any piles of wood and other debris from around your home.

Termites, carpenter ants and powder-post beetles thrive in moist areas, so maintain a Sahara zone around your home’s perimeter.  Even an infrequent puddle close to the house can become an oasis for pests on the prowl for food, so take measures to direct water away from the house.  Drain puddles, don’t over water flower beds, point sprinklers away from the structure, and make sure the ground near the foundation slopes away from your home.  Clean gutters so they don’t overflow.

Deny access into your home by checking for any gaps or cracks that can become an entrance area for pests.  Inspect your home’s exterior and caulk or epoxy to seal any cracks in the foundation or gaps in the structure.  Should you detect any moisture damage, repair it promptly.  Also while you are at it, caulk or install weather stripping around windows and doors as well.

Most of all be inhospitable by not giving the pests anything to eat or drink.  Inspect the base of toilets, around bath tubs and shower stalls, and areas where pipes go through walls, such as under sinks.  Repair any leaks and wrap any pipes that produce excess condensation.  Termites typically feed on wood, but will eat anything with cellulose, so never store paper or cardboard–or wood–in the crawl space.

If you focus on prevention, you can tackle many aspects of pest control yourself.  Also if you currently have a termite contract make sure you follow all of the guidelines of your contract and pay for the yearly renewal.  It is much cheaper to maintain a contract than it is to pay for a new treatment.