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Your Houston home is your safe haven.It protects you and your family from the elements, providing you with a comfortable shelter.It’s where you entertain your guests.You depend upon your home to remain strong and stable.But when a termite infestation strikes, your home is put at risk.Just as you rely upon your home to keep you protected, your home relies on you to keep it protected.There are steps that you can take to prevent your home against a termite infestation.
VIDEO: Termite Information and Facts
What are Termites?
Termites are small insects.They have soft bodies, and are only about ¼ to ½ inches big.Ranging in color from white to light brown, they have a similar appearance to ants.Two major differences between termites and ants, however, are their waist (termites are straight-bodied, while ants have a pinched waist) and their antennae (a termite’s antennae are straight while an ant’s antennae are bent).
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Termites are social, and live in large colonies.The population is divided into three classes.The king and queen populate the colony.Soldiers defend the colony.Workers make tunnels, gather food and care for the eggs.
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A termite’s main food source is cellulose, which is derived from plant materials.This can be in the form a tree stump, tree limbs or the wooden structures within your home.Even homes with a brick exterior can still face an infestation if there is wood touching your home.They work undercover, eating away at the wood from the inside, and cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage across the United States every year.
Watch Wood to Ground Contact
Most termites, subterranean termites in particular, get into your home via wood to ground contact.This can be in a variety of different ways – doorframes, porch steps, deck support rails.Direct wood to ground contact provides termites with unfettered easy access to food and moisture, along with shelter and access to hidden entry points of your home, such as cracks in siding.Even if your home is made of brick, you still need to take this precaution.Any wood on your home, such as siding, doorframes and window frames, should be at least six inches above ground level. In order to keep wood out of contact with the ground, you may need to pull back the soil or mulch from the foundation of your home.Steps, beams or posts that are embedded into concrete are often at risk for invasion because the wood goes through the concrete and makes contact with the earth underground.Therefore, it is important to make sure your steps or support beams are placed on a concrete base.Even if your home is outfitted with pressure treated wood, be sure to eliminate wood to ground contact.Just because the wood is pressure treated, it doesn’t mean that it is termite-proof.Termites can still get in through the cut ends or cracks, or even build mud tubes on the surface.
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Eliminate Moisture Around Foundation
Moisture is one of the key elements that termites need in order to survive.If the ground around your home is consistently wet, you may quickly find yourself a termite target.For successful termite control and prevention, make sure that you take steps to eliminate the possibility of moisture pooling around your home’s foundation.Make sure that your gutters are clean and properly functioning.You should also make sure that your gutters and splash guards are working correctly, so that water can be diverted away from the foundation of your home.Leaks – pipes, air conditioning faucets – should be repaired.If your property is not sloped so that water can drain away from your home, have tiles and drains installed to prevent moisture buildup.
Crawl spaces under your home are a prime target for termites in Houston.This is because crawl spaces can quickly become humid, creating an ideal environment.In order to assist in keeping humidity at bay, crawl spaces are equipped with vents.But these vents won’t do you any good if they are blocked up.Make sure to regularly clean your vents of dirt, leaves and any other debris that may have accumulated.Also, trim back bushes that might be blocking them.You can even go one step further in controlling the humidity inside your crawlspace by placing a cover over the ground, which then acts as a vapor barrier, and prevents moisture from accumulating.
Move Wood Away from Your House
A termite’s diet consists of cellulose.Cellulose makes up plants, including wood.If you have any lumber or firewood stacked up against your home or in your crawlspace, you are not only providing a food source for termites, you are also providing them with a way into the wooden structures of your home.Cardboard boxes and newspapers can also act as a beacon and beckon termites to stop by and make themselves at home.Even if you have a liquid termite treatment around your home, these piles provide an easy bridge, and allow termites to pass right over, unharmed.Store wood away from your home.For the most effective termite control, you should also consider removing any tree stumps and roots that are near your home, as these often provide a perfect environment for hungry termites in need of a home.
Limit Mulch for Gardening
Mulch is a popular tool for gardening.When placed in flower beds, it helps to retain moisture, which means you don’t need to water as frequently.It also helps your gardens to look nice.And certain types of mulch can keep away pests that would otherwise destroy your flowers.However, mulch does not deter termites.In fact, using too much of it can actually attract them.While the mulch does not provide a viable food source, it does provide the termites with something else they need: moisture.If you want to use mulch in your garden, make sure that you are careful with it.You don’t need to lay down a thick layer.Two to three inches is often sufficient.You should also make sure that the mulch does not come into contact with wooden siding, doorframes or window frames.
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Termites are tricky insects, and unlike any other household pest you might come across.You can take all of the steps necessary to protect your home and still end up with an infestation.In order to fully protect your home and everyone inside, you should call in the termite control experts:Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators.We have extensive knowledge and training on how to locate potential trouble spots in your home and help you take the measures necessary to eliminate them.And, in the event that a termite inspection shows an infestation in your home, we will take care of it right away.We can identify the species of termite within your home and locate the source of the colony.With the assistance of top of the line tools, the most effective termiticides and the best methods of application, we can get rid of your infestation and protect your home from reinvasion, allowing you to reclaim your home.
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Being proactive, and taking the steps necessary to prevent a termite infestation will not only keep your home safe, it can also save you potentially thousands of dollars in repairs.If you need help protecting your home, or suspect that you have a termite infestation, contact Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators today and schedule your termite inspection!
Termite Resources & Information
Here are more information and resources about termites online with in-depth information, news and case studies:
- Termite information and facts by Texas Department of Agriculture
- All About Termites: Their Biology, Behavior and more
- Formosan Subterranean Termite In-depth Information
- Termites: How to Identify and Control Them
- Drywood Termite information by University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Termites: How to Identify and Control Them