Sonja: "Since 1961, All-American Pest Control has been helping Middle Tennessee customers protect their homes from termites. Termites cause $5 billion worth of damage to homes each year. Yes, $5 billion a year. The good news is termite treatments have gotten more effective and more cost-efficient in the last twenty years. All-American Pest Control has seven tips for you to help prevent termites in your home."
No. 1 - Remove scrap wood from your crawl space.
Jim: "Yeah, there's always scrap wood left after construction. Where they put in the air ducts, they'll drop that little piece of plywood. As a termite inspector, that's some of the things that we look for because hopefully we can find that problem in the scrap wood before it gets into your home. As a homeowner, you want to remove it. Why leave a delicious little piece of wood there for the termites to come feed on? Just get it out of the house."
No. 2 - Stack firewood away from your home.
Jim: "Everybody wants to put their firewood right by their back door so they can get it in the house easily. All you're doing is bringing termites right to the home. Stack that firewood a good ten, fifteen feet from the house. If you've got a fence, put it out by the fence. Yeah, it's a little more walking, but it's also a lot more work for the termites to get from there to the house."
No. 3 - Routinely inspect the flashing around your doors and windows.
Jim: "You want to watch for water leaks. If you've got a flashing or some caulk that is let go, and you're seeing water come in around a window or a door, that's an area you need to address. Number one, water leaks are going to cause damage on their own, but number two, it is very easy for termites to get into that water-damaged wood, start feeding, and also to have the moisture to just continue surviving."
No. 4 - Look for standing water.
Jim: "Anytime you have standing water, whether it's in the crawlspace or around the outside of the home, again, it's that moisture that termites crave. Say you have standing water next to your home right now, a month from now when everything is really hot and dry, that area is still moist because of that standing water. Termites are attracted to that moisture. They will come to that moisture. Once they're there, they'll find a food source. Moisture is what limits their ability."
No. 5. - Fix roof and gutter leaks promptly.
Jim: "Roof and gutter leaks are huge. A lot of people don't realize how big a deal they can be. We have a client who had a leak around their fireplace. Nobody knew it was there. The termites got to the second floor of a three story house and started feeding on the floor because that's where the moisture was at. Nobody even knew that was a problem until we found the termites. Then we found the moisture and we had to fix it. If they had found that moisture earlier, fixed that leak, we could have found the termites before they ever got that high into the home and solved that problem."
No. 6 - Do not ignore moisture damage.
Jim: "Ignoring moisture damage can cause a problem with a ton of different insects, termites just being one. Carpenter ants are a concern. Roly polys like that moisture. When you ignore moisture damaged or water damaged wood, you're just asking for issues in the future. Hire a qualified professional, not just a professional but ask questions. Make sure they're going to repair by taking the old wood out, putting new wood in, not just covering it up. Because covering it up covers up a problem."
No. 7 - Complete annual termite inspections.
Jim: "Have a professional come out set up a service. At All-American, we use the Sentricon system. That system is designed to eliminate termites from around the exterior of your home before they ever get there. We still do an annual inspection of your home, we are still crawling in your crawlspace, checking your basement, coming inside if you're on a slab and checking around the interior of your slab. It's very important to find these things because we may find on that inspection there is a moisture leak and when you say, 'Hey, that's something we need to get taken care of.' A professional with a professional service will always be your best bet."