UH Termite Project - PEPS/CTAHR

Prevention & Control

Prevention means to keep or stop from happening, while control means to get rid of. In the long run, it is better to take steps to create a less termite-friendly house than to deal with them once they arrive.

Six Steps to Prevent Ground Termites

Do not create termite-friendly conditions around your home!

  1. BUILDING & LIGHTING DESIGN
    • When building a house, consider physical barriers. Some of the materials include:
      • Resistant construction material(s): Treated wood, steel frames or resistant wood species (*there are some wood species that are more resistant than others, but even then it is usually the heartwood only, not the sapwood, that is resistant).
      • Basaltic Termite Barrier (BTB): perfectly-sized particles of rock packed underneath the house to form a barrier which the termites are unable to penetrate
      • TERMI-MESH: stainless steel screen with holes too small for termite passage. The screen is installed under the house to provide a barrier. It can also be used for cold joints in concrete and other problem areas.
      • Some preventative measures can be retrofitted onto existing homes.
    • Plan lighting design
      • Use sensor lights that only come on with a certain amount of activity and then shuts off after a certain time.
      • Place lights in a recessed area so that the light is not bright enough to attract alates.
      • Do not place lights near windows or doorways where alates can enter the house.
      • Shut off lighs when alates are swarming.
  2. KNOW YOUR ENEMY
    1. Visually inspect your home once a month looking for evidence of termites.
      • Regular termite inspections will help detect termite-friendly areas. Early detection will help prevent damage and save you on costly repairs.
      • Removable baseboards: a non-destructive means for inspecting and monitoring inside the walls of the house.
    2. Know your termite clues: It is very important to know which type of termites (subterranean or drywood) are in your house. This is because there are different ways for treating them or getting rid of them.
      • Waste material: Carton (subterranean) vs. frass (drywood)
      • Feeding patterns in the wood: distinct feeding patterns (subterranean) vs. no patterns (drywood)
      • Mud tunnels made by subterranean termites. When subterranean termites have found a home to eat, they will travel from underground to above ground via mud tunnels. The mud tunnels serve as sheltered "highways".
  3. REDUCE DIRECT WOOD-TO-SOIL CONTACT / REMOVE POTENTIAL FOOD SOURCES
    • Don't leave lumber, wood, cardboard, paper products or plant debris around structures. Anytime there is direct wood to soil contact it creates an ideal condition for termite infestation.
  4. KEEP WATER AWAY / ELIMINATE MOISTURE
    • Water is one of the necessities that termites need for survival. If the area around a house is consistently moist, the termites could have two of their needs met (food and water). Consistent moisture creates ideal soil conditions for termite infestation.
      • It is important to create proper drainage to prevent water from collecting near the structure. Storm drains should be designed to empty a few feet from the wall.
      • Minimize moisture sources around the house by fixing leaky faucets and sprinklers that create ideal soil moisture conditions.
  5. DO NOT PLACE PLANTS AND PLANTERS AGAINST HOUSE WALLS
    • When plants are growing close to buildings they provide food (wood) and moisture (via homeowners watering) for termites. During inspections, plants against the walls also make it difficult to see signs of damage to the building or evidence for subterranean termites, such as mud tunnels.
  6. WATCH FOR CRACKS IN CEMENT WALKWAYS AND FOUNDATION
    • Cement cracks, nail holes and wood crevices provide ideal spots to start a colony or gain entrance to your home. In some cases some cracks cannot be prevented, such as when building a garage to an existing home. In these situations, it is best to inspect the area once a month to detect any possible termite activity.

Read more about Termite Prevention from the University of Hawaii Termite Project Page

 

Control: to get rid of or manage

  1. Soil insecticides – chemicals are applied to the soil creating a barrier or toxic zone around and below the structure. Termites are killed when termites come into contact with the toxic chemicals. Repellent chemicals will not necessarily kill all the termites but it will keep them from coming into the treated area.
  2. Baiting stations – Stations are placed around the home and when termites are detected in the station, bait tubes are placed in the stations. Termites feed on the bait that is spread through the colony by workers who feed the rest of the colony. The chemical interferes with the further development of termites, killing them.

 

Read more about Termite Prevention from the University of Hawaii Termite Project Page

 

 

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