Protect Your Home from Termites

Dennis R. Ring, Reichel, Claudette H.

The best control of termites is prevention. The best time to provide protection against termites is during the planning and construction process of a building.

 Make sure that the minimum specifications for the treatment of structures for termites will be met. The "Minimum Treating Standards for Termite Control Work" ('14135) are issued by and available from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Though not law, these regulations provide better protection from termite injury.

The soil beneath and around a building should be treated with a labeled termiticide before adding slabs and piers, and the perimeter treatment should be performed within 12 months. Stainless steel mesh or rock barriers may be placed under the structure.

Do not allow soil-to-wood contact to exist. Wood should not extend through concrete or masonry but be placed on concrete.

All pipes should be at least 3 inches above ground level.

Slab houses should have at least 6 inches of exposed slab. Raised houses should be high enough to ensure sufficient ventilation and clearance for inspections.

Properly pressure-treated structural wood and non-cellulose materials are strongly recommended. Both borate and copper-compound pressure-treated wood are available in Louisiana. Both products will kill termites. Copper compound-treated wood may be used for interior or exterior uses. Borate-treated wood should be used for interior uses. Paper on sheetrock and cellulose insulation can be treated with a borate. Spraying borate onto wood or foaming and misting borate in wall voids is not as effective as using borate pressure-treated wood. Borate sprays will penetrate the wood only ¼ to 3/8 of an inch. In such cases, termites may eat through the center of the wood.

If foam insulation is used, be sure it does not extend below the top of the slab.

Renovation should correct as many factors contributing to termite infestation as possible. Get rid of wood, trash/lumber, direct soil-to-wood contact and standing water under a pier-type structure. Eliminate faulty plumbing, leaks, dampness from drains and condensation or leaks from the roof. Do not break the chemical barrier around the building by removing and adding soil around the foundation. Damaged wood should be replaced with properly pressure-treated wood.
3/22/2005 3:14:57 AM
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