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4 ways to prevent termites from entering your home

A close-up of a termite looking at a family on the front porch of their home

It’s almost fall! Most bugs are slowing down, but termites thrive in the cool, moist areas that fall months are known for. Termite damage can cost thousands of dollars in repairs, but you can help prevent a frustrating, expensive, and time-consuming termite infestation. Here’s how you can avoid having these nasty critters take over your home.

1. Schedule a termite inspection

What you don’t see can hurt you, or more specifically, your wallet. Even taking a personal look around your home can reveal plenty to save yourself big money, not just in terms of finding and removing an infestation, but also preventing further damage and expensive repairs. Be sure to look both inside and outside your home for the following home maintenance items. If in doubt, hire a professional pest inspection company.

  • Check for damaged or rotting wood, or other signs of an infestation
  • Fix any grading issues that create standing water near the home
  • Seal cracks in the foundation (a termite can fit through 1/32 of an inch!)
  • Perform exterior wall maintenance (like flaking paint touchups or rotted siding replacement)

A pest removal professional sprays inside a laundry room

2. Get a complete termite treatment

It’s far less expensive to get rid of the whole problem now than to have to deal with a return infestation later, plus all the repairs that can lead to. So even if your inspection only turned up termites in part of your home, a full home termite treatment is strongly recommended to be ensure your infestation is completely gone.

Speaking of partial treatments, if you find an infestation while you’re building an add-on to your home, halt the build until after the treatment is completed. The last thing you need is to close some hidden termites inside your freshly built room.

3. Keep woodpiles and mulch away from your home

Your home’s concrete foundation serves as more than just support: It also helps prevent infestations, because termites prefer to travel from one soft and moist place to another. The foundation’s dry, hard surface helps deter them, but wood piles right against your home or mulch right at the foundation can act as a bridge for termites to the softer areas above.

Keep wood piles at least five feet away from your home, and stop mulch spread at least six inches from your foundation. Gravel is a much safer landscaping idea for the areas touching your foundation, while allowing you to more easily spot termite tunneling.

Firewood built up against the side of a home

4. Call the professionals sooner than later

If you must try an at-home termite treatment kit first, at least get a professional inspection: Many pest removal companies offer a termite inspection for free—provided it’s not related to selling your home—and they’re more likely to spot areas you may have missed. Unless you have experience removing an infestation, however, this is likely one of those times that professional help is worth the investment.

Bottom line: The longer you put off termite control, the more expensive your repairs are likely to be.

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