Few words strike fear into the hearts of homeowners more than the phrase “termite damage.” It is important to understand that if there is any visible evidence of termite infestation, some degree of damage may exist. The extent of the damage from termites could range from cosmetic scarring, which is relatively insignificant, to major structural damage. It is estimated that termites damage more than 600,000 homes each year in the United States. More than $5 billion dollars is spent annually by home owners to control termites and repair the destruction they have caused.
For new construction or remodeling, here are five smart ways for minimizing the possibility of termite problems:
1. Remove all wood debris from the soil and site during and following construction
2. Provide proper drainage and gutter systems to minimize moisture. Keep soil beneath the house as dry as possible.
3. Be sure no wooden structural elements contact the ground. Consider using chemically treated wood.
4. Place metal termite shields between foundations and sills during construction.
5. Create sand barriers by pouring a 4-inch-thick layer of 10- to 16-mesh sand along foundations.
Home owners should regularly monitor for any signs of termites. Even if they are spotted, one should always contact a trained professional to identify the pest. It is not uncommon for flying ants to get confused for flying termites. A big difference between the two is that an ant has two sets of wings that are not of equal lengths, while a termite has two sets of wings that are of equal length.