Louisiana is home to eight major termite pest species, and the entire state is located within a geographic region where termite pest activity is exceptionally high. The high-rate of termite infestations in Louisiana is due to the abundance and diversity of termite species in the state, as well as the fact that the invasive Formosan subterranean termite is now widespread throughout the entirety of Louisiana. This highly destructive termite species can only be found in California and the southeastern Gulf Coast states. The annual cost of damage inflicted by these termites in the US is around one billion dollars, and half of this annual cost can be attributed to Formosan subterranean termite property damage in Louisiana. All homeowners in Louisiana should have their property inspected for termite infestations at least twice per year, but there are many easy ways in which homeowners can help to keep their home protected from these excessively destructive insect pests.
The manner in which homes are constructed has a major influence on their vulnerability to termite infestations. Modern housing codes require that homes be built with structural features that make termite infestations less likely to occur, but many of the homes in Louisiana pre-date these housing codes. This is why having a termiticide barrier applied to the soil surrounding homes is a particularly important method of preventing termite infestations in Louisiana. Many older homes contain cosmetic or structural wood sources that make contact with the ground soil, which provides subterranean termites with a direct pathway into a home’s timber-frame. Any wood sources like this should be removed, and a space of six inches should always exist between wood and the ground surface. Also, firewood should be stacked at least five feet away from a house, and never stacked against a house.
Ideally, decks and patios should be made of pressure-treated wood that repels termite pests, but under no circumstances should any part of a wood patio, including the steps, make contact with the ground soil; instead, concrete blocks should be used to elevate the base of decks at least 6 inches above the ground surface. Subterranean termites only infest wood sources that are high in moisture content, so making sure that a home is free of plumbing and rainwater leaks is a must, and lawn-irrigation should be kept to a minimum. Clogged gutters can cause rainwater to drain into the wall-voids in homes where structural wood can become compromised by moisture and made attractive to termite pests. Making sure that rainwater drains away from foundations and not into foundations is tremendously important, as all structural wood sources within a home can become damp overtime by water slowly evaporating from wet foundations. Around 90 percent of all termite infestations in homes start after subterranean termite workers access a source of structural or cosmetic wood that makes contact with the ground surface, so removing all natural and finished wood sources that make contact with soil in yards, including dead roots and tree stumps, will go a long way toward preventing a termite infestation from occurring in a home.
Have you ever found termite damaged wood siding on your home?