Lower Your Risk of Termite Infestation By: Nathan Woolf Date: September 18, 2014“The silent destroyer” costs Americans more than $5 billion in damages each year, according to the National Pest Management Association. What’s “the silent destroyer,” you ask? Termites. Unfortunately, most homeowners’ insurance plans won’t cover the extreme damage that termites can cause in your home. Being proactive about protecting your home against termites is a crucial step toward termite infestation prevention. In order to survive, most termite species’ top three needs are wood, moisture and shelter. Taking preventative measures against these three things and having a professional consistently inspecting your home will assist in lessening the likelihood of an infestation. Take a look at these simple tips to lower your risk of termite infestation.Fix Leaky Faucets, Water Pipes and AC UnitsBecause termites love any kind of moisture, it’s important to fix leaky faucets, water pipes and air conditioning units as soon as you notice there is a problem. They thrive in damp places, especially places where there could potentially be damp wood. If there is any sign of water damage in your home, be sure to investigate immediately and fix the source. It’s also important to replace that rotting wood because, before you know it, you could potentially have some unwanted houseguests eating you out of house and home—literally.VentilationOur monsoon season can create damp, muggy and humid basements providing just the right amount of moisture and stickiness that draw in termites. They aren’t attracted only to the moisture itself but also what that moisture does to wood. A good rule of thumb for proper ventilation in your basement or crawlspace is to have one square foot of vent opening per 150 feet of the area. To prevent humidity, make sure to keep vents on the inside and outside of your home clear from plants and other shrubbery. The more airflow you have in your basement or crawlspace, the better the ventilation and less likelihood of humidity, mold and rotting wood. Dehumidifiers are another extra measure you can take to prevent dampness in your basement or crawlspace. But be sure to empty out the dehumidifier’s tray of water because you definitely don’t want any standing water anywhere.It’s also important to make sure to seal foundation cracks and holes within the basement or crawlspace, as well as on the outside of the home. Termites can get in through tiny nooks and crannies, including entry points for pipes and other utilities.Get Rid of Easy Access to Their Favorite FoodWhile mulch is great for plant health, and it’s a pretty nice little aesthetic for the outside of your home, it definitely contributes to termite problems if it’s used in excess. Mulch is often made of wood, and it retains a lot of moisture, two of termites’ favorite things. If you must use mulch, use it sparingly and never let it have contact with doors, windows or the foundation of your home.Cardboard boxes, firewood, sawdust, lumber and even newspapers attract termites as well. If these items are stored in your garage or in and around your home, it offers a tasty treat for the termites in your home. If you must keep firewood outside of your home, be sure it’s elevated off the ground and stacked away from the home’s foundation. Getting rid of vines and stumps near the foundation of your home is also a good way to reduce your risk of termite infestation.Physical Termite BarriersPhysical termite barriers are another option for lowering your risk of termite infestation. They are designed to protect the foundation of your home by inhibiting termites from gaining access. The most common and effective barrier here in Arizona is a liquid barrier. This barrier is made by applying a product directly into the soil around the foundation of your home. A liquid treatment along with keeping conducive conditions in check around your home are an extremely effective combination in protecting your home against subterranean termites.