It has been said that there are two types of homes in Southern Arizona – those with termites and those who will get them. This is a rather cynical view of the challenges surrounding the fate of your home. The fact of the matter is that the specific type of termite we have is very active, and tunnels like crazy, leaving evidence of its efforts to seek out food everywhere. However, there are some basic steps we can take as homeowners to keep termites less interested in our homes as a potential food source.
Termites forage through the soil looking for cellulose (there is a lot of it in wood). Also, because we are in the desert, they are looking for moisture. If we work at keeping these two things limited in supply, the termites will be less interested in hanging around our homes.
Here are a few tips to help prevent termites:
- Keep stored items away from the base of your house or other buildings on the property. Wood piles, boxes, newspapers, etc. are excellent sources of food for termites. If you have to store them, keep them centered on concrete pads away from the home, or elevated to limit termite access
- Do not plant vines, bushes, grass or other growing things within 18 inches of the base of your home. Anything that requires regular watering can attract termites.
- Eliminate slopes that will cause accumulating water to rest up against your house. Redirect water away from the home. This includes patios, planters and anything that will trap and retain water.
- Pay attention to the drip line from your air conditioning unit. If it is draining close to the house, change its proximity and have it drain further away.
- Adjust and check drip irrigation systems regularly. Drip irrigation systems are excellent for keeping our plants healthy. As the weather cools, plants need less water, and conversely in the time of year when we are warming up, they need more. Adjust the amount and time the system runs to deliver the correct amount of water the plant will need for the time of year. Also, inspect emitter heads to make sure they are not watering dirt, instead of your plant.
Even if you follow all these steps, you may still get termite activity in your home. They have been here much longer than us and are doing all they can to survive. If this happens, don’t panic. Just remember, if you want to be termite free, call University Termite & Pest Control.