Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Avoid Inviting Termites to ‘Dinner’ at Your House

It is the nightmare of many a homeowner: Termites merrily eating away at the family castle.

Termites are Mother Nature’s way of recycling dead wood, as well as aerating the soil and increasing its fertility. They are an import food source for other insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians and birds; they are essential for the wellbeing of the environment.

However, if allowed to feed within the walls of a house, they can turn a small problem into a pain in the neck and a huge dent in the wallet.

“Termites are everywhere in the soil. They are highly beneficial in the soil habitat. We want them in the soil,” said Brad Kard, structural and urban entomologist with Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “We just don’t want them chewing on our structures.”

In Oklahoma, March through May serves as swarming months for mature reproductive adult termites that are on a mission to start new colonies in a suitable environment. There are several key points stressed by Kard that homeowners can implement to reduce the chance of termites becoming a problem.

The first rule of termite management is to remove termite food sources around or near the home. This is generally referred to as “sanitation.”

“A homeowner should conduct a thorough external and internal inspection of their home, and if mud tubes are found they should be scraped off walls and siding,” Kard said. “All pieces of wood and wood debris in the planter bed, dead shrubs and any paper or cardboard that may be on the ground near the home should be removed.”

Included in this is firewood, which should not be placed against the house, as well as wood-chip mulch, which also creates a desirable habitat for termites.

Kard, a faculty member in the OSU department of entomology and plant pathology, suggests raking mulch at least six inches away from the exterior walls. In addition, rain gutters should be kept free of debris and water should drain away from the house.

“Wet soil, and water around or under a house, creates conducive conditions for termite survival and proliferation,” he said. “If sanitation and water problems are not first eliminated, then it is nearly impossible to manage and remove termites from a structure.”

Those building a house can eliminate many problems during the construction phase by simply making sure there is no scrap wood lying around the house during and after construction, including grade stakes used during concrete pouring. Also, removing tree stumps up to 75 feet away from the house is recommended.

Kard said all wood-to-soil contact must be eliminated, even if the wood is treated.

Other options for homebuilders are making sure all stem walls are solid; using termite shields or stainless steel mesh on top of the stem wall; using preservative-treated wood; pouring a monolithic slab foundation, so that termites cannot find a hidden way up through cracks in the slab or cold joints; and possibly using post-tension-steel slabs to reduce slab settling and cracking.

“The general concept is to ‘build out’ termites during the construction process,” Kard said. “By completing these steps, the homeowner has already avoided 90 percent of his or her potential termite problem.”

Oklahoma State University, U. S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local governments cooperating. Oklahoma State University in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures, and is an equal opportunity employer.

Sean Hubbard | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>