In North Georgia, termites can remain undetected for long periods of time, allowing them to do serious damage without being discovered. As a natural component of the soil’s surface ecosystem, subterranean termites occur in nearly every region of the United States. Being most abundant in the southeast, any yard is likely to have a resident population of subterranean termites. Common places they like to feed are wooden fence posts, garden stakes, railroad or landscape ties, tree stumps, fallen limbs, or firewood; in short, nearly anything that contains cellulose (wood and wood products).
It is likely that you have termites on your property; however, structural infestations are not necessarily inevitable. A home’s susceptibility to termite infestation is dependent upon many things including construction type, home maintenance, landscaping, and conditions in and around the structure that favor the activity, growth, and survival of local termite populations.
Does your home’s construction lend it to being more susceptible to a termite attack than your neighbor’s? Maybe. Let’s look at some contributing factors.
- Siding that extends into the soil, including EIFS or synthetic stucco
- Foam insulations
- Pre-formed Styrofoam foundation systems
Termites can tunnel through below-grade insulation systems of behind outdoor siding to gain access to wood in the structure. Such building practices provide termites a protected, stable environment to eat and live, while making detection of their presence nearly impossible. Generally, a gap of at least six inches between the soil and the bottom of any type of outdoor siding is necessary and under no circumstances should siding be allowed to extend below grade.
Other problematic construction types include those that create areas that cannot be easily inspected or treated or those that provide termites with many points of entry. These include:
- Inaccessible crawlspace
- Exterior soil above level of the sill plate, like a raised porch
- Wood floor or carpet on top of a slab
- Indoor pools
- Decks with hot tubs
- Finished or partially finished basements
A structure’s chance of infestation may also be affected by factors in and around the building which provide environmental conditions favorable to termite survival and growth or that may be detrimental to termite control treatments. There are some conditions that are generally accepted as being related to termite survival and potentially infestation. The most important of these conditions is persistent moisture in and around the structure. The presence of persistent moisture may make the structure more vulnerable to infestation because it enhances termite survival and growth, thereby bringing and holding termites in close association with the structure. Termites are soft-bodied insects that are very susceptible to desiccation. Therefore, they are often found her and around area where moisture is persistent by not excessive.
Common sources of moisture in and around homes include:
- Improper grade/drainage
- Standing water in the crawlspace
- Broken drainpipes
- Roof leaks
- interior plumbing leaks
- Improperly installed flashing around fireplaces, windows, and doors
- Improper ventilation of the crawlspace
- Lack of a vapor barrier in the crawlspace
- Misdirected sprinklers
- Clogged gutters and downspouts
- Downspout exhaust within five feet of the structure
- Any type of siding that extends to or below grade.
The property should be maintained so that water flows away from structures, that the structure is properly ventilated, that water leaks are fixed in a timely manner, and that a vapor barrier is in place in the crawlspace.
Perhaps the most common, yet avoidable, condition that can be linked to termite infestation is wood-to-ground contact. Wood-to-ground contact allows termites their easiest access into untreated wood, and from there to the remainder of the structure.
Other forms of wood-to-ground contact may enhance termite survival and growth include wood debris close to the structure and in contact with the soil – e.g., wood and wood products on the ground in a crawlspace, firewood piled on the ground next to the structure, stumps, wood fences, etc.
As you can see, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of having termites in your home. While it is not inevitable, there is always a possibility of termites in any wood structure. If you suspect that you have a termite infestation in your home or on your property, you should call your pest management professional right away and ask them to come take a look. If you do have a termite infestation, you want to get rid of them as soon as possible in order to prevent serious damage to your home.
If you think you have a problem with termites. . . or any other pest. . . or simply have a question. . . call Faith Pest Control at 770-823-9202. We’ll be happy to speak with you any time.
Here’s to helping YOU live PEST FREE,
P.S. And be sure to ask about our FREE 58 Point Pest Analysis of your home or office!