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Pest Control for Termites: How to Prevent a Spring Invasion

TermitesWhile it’s true that termites are less active during the winter months, that doesn’t mean homeowners should forget about residential pest control until the weather warms up. Spring is generally considered the boom season for termites, whose populations will burgeon quickly once the sun comes out. As any local pest control company can tell you, however, the best way to curb a termite infestation in the spring is to apply some basic residential pest control measures now, such as getting a home pest inspection.

The following is a look at actions homeowners can take this winter to prevent a major termite invasion come spring:

Early Home Pest Inspection Gets the Termites

Just as the early bird gets the worm, homeowners who schedule a home pest inspection now will strike the first blow against any possible termite infestations. For homes that already have a small infestation, catching the problem now can prevent expensive structural damage down the road – by spring, said termites will have had three or four good months of nesting and will be ready to proliferate en masse. And for homes that haven’t yet fallen prey to termites, a local pest control company can help seal up entry points and make the environment less hospitable so termites don’t decide to move once the weather warms up.

Once you’ve scheduled your home pest inspection with a residential pest control firm, make sure you have clear walkways in your attic and garage so inspectors can maneuver around enough to get a good, close look at your foundation, walls and ceilings. They will check for cracks, holes and wood damage throughout your home’s interior and exterior for signs of possible termite activity. They will also look for vulnerable locations where termites may enter the building.

Wood Management

Wood, of course, is the biggest factor that lures termites into your home. This makes sense, given that termites feed on dead plant material – namely, wood, leaf litter and certain kinds of soil. Termites play an important role in natural ecosystems, due to their ability to decompose and recycle dead wood material. However, this also makes them very destructive to homes.

Therefore, one of the first things your local pest control company will point out during a home pest inspection is that it’s important to move any excess wood that is in contact with your home, including firewood, wood chippings and mulch. Otherwise, your woodpile or landscaping mulch can create a convenient bridge right into your walls for termites seeking new food and shelter. Any leftover wood, stumps, fallen branches or foliage is possible food for termites and should be removed. Finally, consider a thorough trimming and clipping of all shrubs and trees that are growing next to your home. Termites will also use trees and plants as bridges to gain entry indoors. This is true for wood trellises, pergolas and deck furniture that sit near your home, as well.

Heat, Water and Shelter

Termites view your home as a source of heat, water and shelter – the perfect place to vacation during the nastier winter months. A termite colony needs a moderately warm environment that is sheltered from the elements but also provides regular access to water. Generally, this would be a dirt mound either above ground or underground. Of course, your home makes a great substitute in winter, especially for a colony on the move.

To avoid this scenario, make sure your crawl space, attic and basement are kept at a dry room temperature. Rooms that are warm or humid due to improper insulation or water leaks will quickly attract migrating termites. Thus, check to ensure that your house is ventilating properly and that you have no water leaks. Also, make sure the water runoff from your yard does not run toward your house. These are all basic residential pest control measures that will help deter a plethora of other pests in addition to termites.

Residential pest control is a year-round project. It’s best to begin with a home pest inspection from a local pest control company to ensure that you have no current termite infestation and get advice on which areas of your home need to be modified. A little work now will pay off come spring, when termites will be forced to seek food and shelter elsewhere.

[ Photo by: Lisa Brewster, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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