How do I make my house termite-proof?

Wednesday June 09 2021
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When they establish, termites keep growing their colonies. PHOTO/unsplash.com

By Desire Mbabaali

Termites are the silent destroyers around the house. They start as a small mound, multiplying slowly but surely to build colonies that can eventually be destructive. The small insects feed on a component called cellulose which is mainly found in wood, plants, grass, paper (books, magazines) cardboard, drywall, wallpaper, fabrics and anything that contains cellulose.

Even after establishing themselves, termites never stop eating and growing their colonies posing more threat to everything wooden in and around your house.

According to Terminix Termite Control Professionals, as termites move to devour, they construct mud tubes and use them to forage up from their colony and into your home.

Drywood termites bore wood from the inside-out so that the outer surface of the infested material may still appear smooth and undamaged to the naked eye.

Prevention

Ronney Mulindwa, a pest control expert at Divine Fumigators shares that it is best to embark on preventing a termite infestation before construction. “There are places that are infested with anthills and termite mounds, so much that even during construction, the termites start building their mounds. If the infestation is not treated and cleared, it can be problematic in the future,” he says advising that one should check their land for termite mounds and seek professional help,  if need be.

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During construction, the timber/ wood to be used can also be treated with anti-termite treatments to prevent an infestation. 

 Additionally, Mulindwa explains that the easiest way to have a termite infestation is having wood in direct contact with soil. Since termites feed on wood, the soil creates an even more conducive moist environment.

On whether concrete can help protect the wood from the termites, Mulindwa says this is not a guarantee. Instead, he cautions that wooden materials should be elevated from direct contact with soil. “If you are building a wooden structure; for example a temporary shelter, first have a brick foundation that is raised from the ground, and then proceed to use wood. This will save your structure from being destroyed by termites,” says Mulindwa. 

In the event that you’re wood or wooden furniture is in direct contact with soil, he advises one to keep these areas dry and moisture-free. 

Moist wood in contact with soil is an invitation to termites.

Justus Mutyaba, a pest controller, advises being on the lookout for such infestations before them happen. “Very often, termite infestations are hard to notice and will manifest when the termites have done much more damage and established their colonies,” he says adding that for one who believes they are more susceptible to these dangerous pests, a pest controller can be invited to do a professional check every now and again. As a precaution, one can also have their house checked at least once a year for a termite invasion and when the first signs of an invasion are seen, proper treatment needs to be taken by a professional pest controller.

“I am saying professional because there are many people in this business who have no idea what they are doing. Some use wrong or fake pesticides and dupe people into paying so much for nothing at all,” Mutyaba says. 

He also advises against storing wooden logs or firewood close to other wooden items such as wooden furniture or wooden poles and anything that may contain cellulose. This is because these may already have an invisible infestation they might pass on.

Wood can also be treated with termite repellents before being used. There are a number of these on the market, but consulting a professional pest controller is useful.

Wood

Wood can also be treated with termite repellents before being used. There are a number of these on the market, but consulting a professional pest controller is useful.

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