Termites cause more than $30 billion worth of damage to homes and businesses each year in the United States. The average cost for a homeowner to repair termite damage is roughly $3,500. Wouldn’t you rather spend that on something fun?
You can take preventative measures to minimize damage to your home and stop termites in their tracks. Since termites are a colony insect, it’s unlikely that you’ll see them coming. Colonies can range from hundreds to millions of insects, and they can do severe damage to your home in a single season.
To help protect your home against termite damage, you can:
- Place physical barriers around your home. Barriers often include plastics with a termite poison and are buried in the ground to keep termites away from your foundation.
- Build or repair your home with termite-resistant steel, concrete and masonry.
- Keep siding at least six inches above ground level so termites have a hard time reaching what they want to eat.
- Build or improve your home with woods that naturally resist termites. These include white cypress and tea tree wood.
- Treat exposed wood with coatings that can deter termites; these often help prevent mold too. Wood to watch includes your siding, porch, fence, and shed.
- Repair leaky gutters and water damage. Wood weakened by water is a favorite spot for termites to live.
- Make sure your sprinklers aren’t spraying and damaging your foundation.
- Keep plants and mulch away from your home. Mulch and plants generate the wood and moisture that termites need, attracting them to this location and then to your home.
You should periodically check for signs of termites. Regularly monitor your home and land to stay on top of potential infestations.
- Check wood to make sure it is solid. Termites tend to eat the inside of wood and logs, so they fall apart if pressed. Knocking on termite-ridden wood will also make a hollow sound.
- Check chipping paint for straight holes. Termites can chip or crack paint when they bore through the wood of your home.
- Look for nests. Termite nests often look like muddy clumps in your lawn that can form a wobbly line to your home.
- Look at your lights at night. Termite workers usually aren’t blind and will seek out light sources at night. If you find termites near exterior lights, this can signal that a nearby colony is looking to find a way into your home.
For further questions, you can visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s Termite page for resources to help keep your home safe.