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Preventing Costly Termite Problems for Marin Homeowners

I had a termite inspection at my house today which made me think this is a timely topic for new and seasoned homeowners. April kicks off termite season when these winged critters emerge from existing and thriving termite colonies to fly off and establish new ones.  Just because you had a termite inspection when you purchased your home, doesn't mean you never need another one. 

When we bought our home 17 years ago, I was oblivious to termites and the damage they can cause until I saw them chomping through the hardwood floors in the living room.  That got my attention!  I was happily going along thinking they were dining on my neighbor's house, not mine.  After that, I got religion. Now, every 2-3 years I have a pest inspection and take care of problems before they become expensive. For most of us, our home is our biggest asset so denying that termites exist could cost you dearly in the future.

Pest Inspection Companies may try to sell you on a monthly service plan to keep the termites at bay but I'm ambivalent about the need to do this. There are things you can do as part of your regular home maintenance to prevent conditions that invite termite activity. Any time you've got moisture and earth-wood contact, you've got the makings for a termite habitat.  Here are some things you can do to make your home less hospitable to those wood-thirsty critters. 

  • Keep dirt away from the siding of your house.  Ideally, the siding should be 6 inches above the ground.  Walk around your house every once in a while and dig away the soil that may have built up against the foundation.
  • When mulching your garden, keep it away from the foundation and siding.  Moist soil and the cellulose in the mulch can tempt even the best mannered termite and give them cover to invade your home.
  • Don't plant flower beds up against the siding or shrubs and bushes that will grow tall and wide over time.  Also, flower boxes attached to the house may provide termite's access to the house without being seen.
  • Pay attention to window frames, door frames, porch columns and rail supports for soft/decaying wood.  Moist wood is a dinner invitation for termites.

Next time you get a pest inspection, ask the inspector if there are other things you can do to make your home less friendly to a termite invasion.  As a realtor, we see the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to deferred home maintenance.  Make sure to treat your home with the respect it deserves and you will be rewarded when it comes time to sell. Please feel free to call me if you need a referral to a reputable pest inspector or other home maintenance professionals.

 Janis Peterson, Realtor

415-271-3109 or [email protected]

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