Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Avoid Inviting Termites to ‘Dinner’ at Your House

30.03.2009
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:
http://www.okstate.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Cereals use chemical defenses in a multifunctional manner against different herbivores
06.12.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht Can rice filter water from ag fields?
05.12.2018 | American Society of Agronomy

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: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>