When it comes to unlikable insects, it’s hard to top termites for sheer unpleasantness. While they might be small, each year termites are believed to cause roughly $30 billion to both crops and structures. As troublesome as they might be, homeowners can take steps to keep these wood-munching pests at bay.
An Army of Invaders
There are many types of termites across the globe, with over 2,000 termite species known to exist. Fortunately, the number of species that could potentially attack your home is much smaller, as approximately 50 such species reside in the United States. Termites are classified into one of three categories, known as subterranean, dry wood and damp wood. These categories are based on the location of the termite colony.
Similar to bees, termites residing in colonies fall into specific roles. There are worker termites, who are tasked with building the termite’s nest and repairing it when needed. Soldier termites, as their name suggests, are responsible for the defense of the colony.
The third type of termite, known as swarmers, are the only termites to have wings. Their main purpose is to mate and found new termite colonies.
Building Your Defenses
So how do you avoid becoming one of the roughly 600,000 homes attacked by termites each year? The tips below can be quite useful in keeping your house termite-free:
Shrubbery Maintenance: Like many homeowners, you probably have a good number of shrubberies right by your house. Not only should these plants be properly trimmed, but they also should be placed at least a foot from the walls of your house. Doing this will allow the shrub-heavy areas near your home to dry out quicker. It will also give you a better chance to spot termite damage.
A Better Alternative to Mulch: Mulch is frequently used in front yards as a way to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. Unfortunately, mulch can also attract termites. If possible, try to use pine needles or pea gravel instead.
Keep Your Crawl Space Dry: It’s fairly common for a house to have a crawl space underneath it. If such an area is too moist, it will serve as a magnet for legions of termites. You can prevent such a scenario through proper ventilation and by installing a vapor barrier.