Termites eat up wood and wooden products. They destroy both cellulose and non-cellulose materials, either a rotting tree stump or articles in your home. Also they damage organic materials originating from cellulose base. Food and moisture resources around and inside home should be eliminated because termites are attracted towards moisture. This article tells you about sources of termites, anti termite treatments and precautionary measures to keep termites away from your home.
What attracts termites?
MoistureDampness/moisture created due to blockage of water supply and sewerage pipes.
Wood productsDecomposing wood stumps or decaying wood articles of the house.
AccessCracks on plaster of walls, concrete blocks, foundations and around utility pipes.
Pre-construction chemical treatment
Termite treatment called “pre-construction chemical treatment” must be done at the time of construction.
To treat the soil under foundation with soil insecticides is the most common method of termite treatment. A chemical barrier is made between ground and masonry
of the foundation to prevent termites’ approach to the building. Anti-termite chemical treatment can be done in following way.
- Treat bottom and sides of excavated portions of all walls with chemical before starting construction work in foundation.
- Also treat floors of the rooms by making holes in the earth under floors and filling them with chemicals.
- Make use of chemicals at the junction of walls and floors.
- Treat external perimeters of the building by making 300 mm deep holes filled with chemicals to provide a barrier around building or the house.
- Make holes into the earth and fill them with chemicals to treat the soil under plinth protection and around pipe.
- Treat expansion of joints at ground level with anti termite chemical treatment.
- Use anti termite chemical to treat ‘chowkhats’ or door frames before fixing them into the building.
When termite treatment is not done at the time of construction, the following precautionary measures should be taken for prevention of termites in the building.
1. Keep drains and gutters clean to avoid leakage
Water supply pipes and sewerage pipes should be kept clean to avoid leakage causing dampness. The gutters and drains should be cleaned to avoid leakage in their pipes. Pay particular attention to the pipeline which leads to kitchen and bathroom. Keep kitchen and bathroom area clean and ensure if there is any leakage in external and underground pipe fittings. Also make sure that there is no leakage in roof of the building/house.
2. Remove sources of moisture
The courtyard or crawl space should not be moist or damp for long time as termites are attracted towards moist soil and need water to live. Do not let the water flow towards the foundation of building. Keep rain water and other sources of waste water away from foundation of the building and construct plinth protection around the house/ building.
3. Destroy colonies of termites
Destroy nests or colonies of termites under the ground, in the soil near ground level in a stump or at other places of timber in a conical or dome shape mounds where subterranean or ground termites live and cause most of the damage in buildings.
4. Remove wood products
Eliminate wood products like cardboard, paper and other wooden products which are sources of termite food in damp state. Do not fix wooden part of fences, wooden stairs, and wooden bottom members of stairs without doing anti termite treatment.
5. Terminate wood and soil contact
Remove all wooden piles, stumps, yard debris and garbage etc. around your home. Do not stack/ store any type of wood inside or near your house or on the ground in garage as these places are easy to access by termites. Do not bury any piece of timber like stumps of trees etc. in or near home. They should be excavated during construction of foundation. Wooden articles such as plank shelves at least 18” should be kept above ground.
6. Keep foundation free from mud shelter and patch up cracks
Also keep unprotected portion of the foundation free from mud shelter tubes to avoid termite protection. Patch up cracks and cavities in masonry with cement mortar as termites can enter the building through them.
7. Fill junctions of walls and chamber properly
Properly fill junctions of walls and chamber at the time of flooring because termites may enter through them.
8. Eliminate access/ entry points of termites
Termite may enter through access points around dryer vents and air conditioner condensation pipes. This moist environment is a warm welcome for termites.
Post-construction termite treatment
After taking all safety measures, if the presence of termites is suspected in the building, anti termite chemical treatment called “Post construction chemical treatment” (after the building has been constructed) should be done.
Before undertaking any treatment, a thorough inspection should be done to determine the extent of termite infestation, their spread and route of entry to the building. Once termites enter the building, they keep on multiplying and destroying wooden and cellulose materials. The following tips should be kept in mind during chemical treatment.
- Make holes along outside foundation and fill them with chemicals to provide barrier around the house or building
- Treat the junction of floors and walls by drilling holes and filling them with chemicals.
- Also treat the voids in masonry with anti termite treatment.
- Apply chemicals on all points of contact of wood work either with ground or any part of structure.
- Replace woodwork which is damaged beyond the limit of repair.
Bait Stakes Treatment
“Bait Stake”, the latest technology in termite prevention offer home owners a modern and valuable way to reduce termite infestation
in or around home. Termite ‘Bait Stakes’ are designed to eliminate termites’ colonies which exist into the soil. Termite Baits are fixed into a roll of corrugated cardboard having a red, transparent plastic tube or stakes. These ‘Baits ’ are 4 inches long and 1 inch in diameter with holes in the sides for termites to enter and go out.
After the termites feed upon these baits, they come out of the stakes and rejoin their mates in the nests made into soil. The toxic matter in ‘Bait’ kills termites slowly in about 3 to 14 days and affects/kills other colony members that did not feet upon the bait. Termites encounter ‘Bait Stake’ by chance during their below ground activities as they can not see or smell bait from any distance under the ground.
How to fix ‘Bait Stake’?
“Bait Stakes” are inserted into the holes drilled into the ground around the periphery of home, about 10 feet apart and within 2- 3 feet from the foundation. More stakes are fixed into soil suspected to have termites and in damp areas such as around water valves, the soil near water discharges and sprinklers. After installation, ‘Bait Stake’ must be inspected after every 2 to 3 months by homeowner.
The home owner should pull baits from the ground and check if the bait is eaten by termites or termites are present inside baits. More stakes should be added within 1 foot. They must be replaced or removed after every 9 months before the termites consume all bait.
The house should be inspected regularly by a professional in termite treatment to detect the presence of termites in house. If termites are detected, prevention should be done immediately, so that further damage can be stopped.