Can you imagine spending your life savings on a new home, only to discover a massive termite infestation a few months later? Although it might not seem like a real-life scenario, the typical termite queen can lay up to 30,000 eggs each and every day. If you attract a few termites, it can turn into a full-blown disaster in no time. Here are two ways that you might be attracting termites, and what you can do to fend off trouble.
1: Surrounding Your House With Flower Beds
If you are like most homeowners, you probably hate the look of that boring cement foundation. To improve the look of your place, you might be tempted to surround your entire house with flowerbeds filled with shrubs, wood chips, and ground covers. Unfortunately, introducing your foundation to loads of organic materials can cause termites to thrive right next to your place.
Termites love moist, warm environments, which they will find right up against your heated home. If those pesky bugs make their way underneath your siding and penetrate that moisture barrier, it might only be a matter of time until you have to deal with an infestation. However, if you absolutely must have a flowerbed surrounding your place, here are a few tips to keep termites at bay:
- Keep Moisture Levels Low: When you choose items for your flowerbeds, look for plants that don't require massive amounts of water. The drier you can keep the area, the less of a problem you will have with termites.
- Give Shrubs A Little Growing Room: Instead of planting shrubs close to your foundation, try to give them enough space to grow. That way, you can keep wood and leaves from pressing straight against your home, which could give termites an easy way to access your property.
- Don't Pile Up Wood Chips: Rich, dark wood chips can make your landscaping look polished, but piling them up can create a haven for troublesome termites. Keep wood chip levels to a minimum so that you don't attract bugs.
If you really want to keep your home safe from harmful termites, hire a termite treatment professional to apply a chemical barrier around the perimeter of your home. Some residual insecticides can work for months, fending off pests without a lot of effort on your part.
2: Covering Your House With Ivy
In an effort to transform your otherwise boring home into a nostalgic country cottage, you might have decided to plant a few starts of English Ivy. Although you probably assumed that it would take awhile for that ivy to take hold, you might be surprised by how aggressively it has been attacking your siding.
Believe it or not, English Ivy can grow up to 30 feet per year, so if you have small plants, remove it while you can. It might be hard to pull down those cute vines, but that seemingly innocent ivy can create a massive insect highway for invasive pests like termites. Once termites have eaten through all of the accessible wood on one level of your home, they can easily skip to the next section of your place once that ivy grows a few more feet.
If you notice small mud tunnels, dirt lines, or cream-colored winged insects while you are pulling down ivy, you might already have a termite problem. Fortunately, trained exterminators might be able to fumigate your home to eradicate any live insects. Fumigation can permeate walls and wood structures, wiping out entire termite populations in a single pass. However, if you don't see any signs of trouble, removing your vines might keep pests away from your home, so they don't cause trouble.
Making your home less attractive to termites might help you to keep your home's structure in tact, so that you can sleep a little better at night.