8 Termite Prevention Methods That Will Actually Help Protect Your Home

Jimboomba resident, David asks

“We get regular inspections, but we’d like to know what are some practical things I can do around the house to prevent termites?”

 

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to dealing with termites. Termites can cause considerable damage so its always worthwhile taking precautionary steps.

There’s a number of things a homeowner can do to protect themselves and their properties from termites. We always encourage the advice given below as a general “best practice” guide for all of our customers.

Regular inspections

Of course the best way to prevent termites is to organise regular inspections. Regular inspections performed by a licensed professional will ensure that any issues are detected early on, before any extensive damage is done and costly repairs are needed.

Preventing moisture and water leaks

Moisture is without a doubt one of the main reasons why termites enter the home and cause damage. Water damage acts as an attractant and will usually always results in active termites in that area of the home. Leaking taps, shower heads and toilets are the biggest causes, which if fixed quickly will prevent the likelihood of a termite infestation.

Another cause of dampness and moisture are air conditioning units and hot water heater overflow pipes. In most cases the overflow piping or drainage outlet is positioned up against the side of the property which results in water gathering at the walls edge. Again this attracts termites to the area, and usually results in termites gaining entry to the property.

Prevention methods – 

  • Ensure any and all leaking taps, shower heads and toilets are fixed as soon as possible
  • Ensure air conditioning drip tubes do not leak up against the walls edge of the property. Install a drain or direct the water away from the home
  • Ensure hot water systems aren’t leaking out near the walls edge. Install a drain, or redirect the water away from the property
  • Any signs of dampness inside the home should be inspected immediately
  • Ensuring your roofing and guttering is in good shape is also worthwhile, especially during periods of heavy or constant rainfall

Keeping weep holes clear

Another common cause of termites are weep holes covered by vegetation, mulch or soil along the external perimeter of a property. Australian standards stipulate that clearance between the soil and ground level or path to your weep hole needs to be 75 mil or greater. In other words, there needs to be enough of a distance between the ground and the very bottom of each weep hole, so its possible to visually see any signs of termites – which are usually mud trails.

What a large number of homeowners tend to do is put grass clippings, dirt, mulch and even garden beds along the walls edge, therefor covering the weep holes over – either entirely or in part.  This makes access for termites incredibly easy as they simply travel through that soil or vegetation, pass through the weephole and begin feeding on the property’s framework.

Prevention methods – 

  • Don’t cover weep holes with soil, mulch or garden beds. Keep them clear. At least 75 mm clearance between ground level and the bottom edge of each weep hole
  • Don’t use a sealant to block weep holes off. These act as breather holes for your home, should dampness get into the property’s foundation
  • Don’t lay pavers or concrete in a way that obstructs or covers weep holes

Avoid garden beds against your property

This falls under what was previously mentioned, however its worth noting simply because its so very common. Do not put gardens or vegetation up against the property, and most certainly don’t water that area constantly for reasons already covered.

Prevention methods – 

  • Keep garden beds away from your property’s walls
  • Plant garden beds, or vegetation away from the home, at least a few meters clear of the property
  • Be conscious of where you water (hose, sprinkler systems etc)

Avoid footings and timber structures built in direct contact with the ground

The construction of decks, pergolas, steps or any other timber based structure outside the home, should always be carried out with termites in mind. Hardware stores sell metal stirrups designed specifically to ensure that timber structures – footings in particular – don’t come into direct contact with the soil. Again, much like weep holes, there should be 75mm of clearance between the ground and any decking, latticework, steps and so forth.

A large number of termite infestations that we see are caused simply by the homeowner building an extension or deck up against the side of the home, and concreting in footings or uprights directly into the soil.

Prevention methods – 

  • Always speak to a pest control professional and builder before beginning any form of construction
  • Ensure the correct materials are used (metal stirrups for footings etc)
  • Abide by all council and building code regulations to ensure your home is protected

Spa baths

We often see homeowners buy and install large spa baths, either in the back yard, near the house, or in some cases recessed within timber decking. Spas in particular that are mounted in this way are far more likely to attract termites simply because you’ve essentially created the perfect environment for them – timber, water and soil direct beneath.

We’ve seen cases where the entire spa baths frame has been eaten out by termites, that have gained access by coming up through the pavers in the ground. Again attracted by the water in the soil. Its essential that homeowners understand that termites are always actively seeking not only timber, but a natural water source.

Prevention methods – 

  • Avoid installing spa baths within timber decks unless of course precautions have been taken during construction (stirrups as mentioned previously) as well as adequate drainage.
  • Avoid installing your spa directly up against the side of the property
  • Seek the advice of a professional pest control expert before installing your spa

Avoid certain types of mulch

Another common cause that we see often is mulch.

Homeowners give little or no thought at all to what types of mulch they use. In a lot of cases, homeowners will simply pop down to a local landscaping supply yard, fill a box trailer with mulch, then bring it home and spread it around their yard. Perhaps even worse are those that shovel up mulch or woodchips from local council cleanups from the side of the road thinking they’ve saved some money, when little do they know, its potentially full of termites.

Prevention methods – 

  • Only ever use certain types of mulch that is termite resistant. We covered this in this blog post here
  • Always ask what type of mulch you’re getting when dealing with landscape supplies
  • Never shovel mulch from unknown sources off the side of the road

Avoid storing unused timbers and firewood

Without a doubt, a great deal of termite infestations we see are caused by people storing firewood up against the sides of their homes. Not only are they stored directly on the ground, but usually always up against the house and in many cases covering the weep holes.

We sometimes see firewood stored beneath the property as well which can lead to problems.

Regardless, you really need to be mindful of where it’s kept, but definitely keep stored timbers and firewood away from the walls edge so that if termites do try to get in the house from the outside you can see the mud tracks going up the wall into the house.

Time to book an inspection?

If you have concerns about a termites damaging your property, be sure to give us a call and organise an inspection. We guarantee professional and effective termite treatments which will last you up to 8 years using the most effective termite control products in the industry – Termidor.

Give us a call today, we look forward to helping you.