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How to Deal with Termites

Driven creatures undermining the very structure of your life – it might sound like a sci-fi flick, but it's all too real when these pests go after your home.


  • Step 1: Clean up To avoid an infestation, store firewood and other wood above ground and away from your home's exterior. Remove old trees stumps and roots near your house.
  • Step 2: Prevent moisture Since termites are attracted to moisture, it’s important to prevent moisture from accumulating beneath your foundation by filling all your home’s exterior cracks with elastomeric caulk, available in hardware stores.
  • Step 3: Protect your basement If your basement or crawl space has a dirt floor, cover it with 6-mil polyethylene plastic sheets, available in hardware stores. Overlap the edges of each sheet by at least a foot.
  • TIP: Cover all vents with insect screens.
  • Step 4: Don’t panic If you break open a piece of wood with muddy tubes on it, you can see if termites are still active inside the wood. If you see insects, don’t panic. It’s easy to confuse termites with flying ants, so be sure you know you have termites by calling in a pest-control professional.
  • TIP: Get a second opinion. You don't want to spend unnecessary time and money killing termites you don’t even have.
  • Step 5: Prevent moisture If you do have termites, there’s not much you can do other than let the professional do his job. He’ll use soil, wood, or bait treatments to get rid of them.
  • FACT: It’s estimated that the annual cost of termite damage and treatment in the U.S. is $5 billion.

You Will Need

  • Elastomeric caulk
  • 6-mil polyethylene plastic sheets
  • Insect screens for vents
  • A flashlight
  • A screwdriver
  • A pest-control professional

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