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Termite Prevention


Many homes and business structures are susceptible to termite infestation because of simple design flaws. For anyone building a new residence or place of business, some common sense rules apply.

These include: ensuring that all sub-structural wood is at least 12 inches above the soil beneath the building, thereby preventing subterranean termites from coming into contact with the wood above; making sure that any stucco siding does not go all the way down to the ground, but rather is separated from the earth level by some sort of concrete barrier or masonry work; covering attic vents with fine mesh to prevent the entry of winged drywood termites; and regularly inspecting all wooden parts of a structure for early signs of termite infestation.

Sand Barrier Method

A newer method of termite prevention is the use of a so-called sand barrier. By spraying sand with particles in the size range of ten to 16 mesh atop the soil that lies beneath a building structure, home and business owners can essentially thwart the ability of subterranean termites to build tunnels right up to any wood that might have come into contact with the soil.

Choosing Resistant Building Materials

Two other forms of termite prevention are the choice of a type of wood that is most resistant to drywood and subterranean species, as well as the paint brush coating of an anti-termite solution on lumber before it is used for construction. There is a reason why redwood is used by anyone who can afford it for the construction of outdoor decking; it ranks at the top of the dozen and a half types of wood that are known to be most resistant to termite infestation.

How Often to Inspect

In areas that are prone to seasonal termite infestations, such as southern California for drywood and central and northern California for dampwood, it is advisable to have buildings regularly inspected for termite problems every six months to one year. Trained professionals can spot signs of potential trouble as well as conditions that contribute to damp wood such as poor ventilation, inadequate drainage, leaky plumbing and excessively condensing air conditioners.

Termites don’t Like Pressure Treated Wood

Another good option for termite prevention is the use of pressure-treated wood during construction. This type of lumber is more expensive, but the eventual savings in pest control costs as well as peace of mind can be well worth it. For those with a particular sensitivity to chemicals, it may be necessary to properly evaluate the different kinds of substances used to treat wood. These include chromated copper arsenate (CCA), ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate (ACZA), disodium octoborate tetrahydrate (DOT) and wolman salts.



“Termites Management Guidelines–UC IPM.” UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2010.

“UC IPM Photo.” UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2010.

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