Safeguards Against Termites
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Safeguards Against Termites

Safeguarding against termites is essential when it comes to home construction. Protection against termites involves treatment of the soil near the foundation of the home.

The best time to provide protection against termites is during the planning and construction of the building. Remove all woody debris, like stumps and discarded form boards, from the soil at the building site before and after construction. Steps should also be taken to keep the soil under the house as dry as possible.

The foundation should be made impervious to subterranean termites to prevent them from crawling up through hidden cracks to the wood in the building above. Properly reinforced concrete makes the best foundation. Unit-construction wall or piers capped with at least 4" of reinforced concrete are also satisfactory.

The heartwood of foundation-grade redwood, particularly when painted, is more resistant to attack than most other native commercial species. No wood member of the house structure should be in contact with the soil.

The best protection against subterranean termites is treatment of the soil near the foundation or under an entire slab foundation. The effective soil treatments are water emulsions of aldrin (0.5%), chlordane (1.0%), dieldrin (0.5%), and heptachlor (0.5%). The  rate of application is 4 gallons per 10 linear feet at the edge and along expansion joints of slabs or along a foundation. For brick or hollow-block foundations, the rate is 4 gallons per 10 linear feet  for each foot of depth to the footing. One to 1 1/2 gallons of emulsion per 10 square feet of surface area is recommended for overall treatment before pouring concrete slab foundations. Any wood used in such places as wall extensions, decorative fences, and gates should be pressure-treated with a good preservative.

In regions where dry-wood termites are present, the following measures should be taken to prevent damage.

  • All lumber, particularly secondhand material, should be carefully inspected before use. If infected, discard the piece.
  • All doors, windows (especially attic windows), and other ventilation openings should be screened with metal wire with not less than 20 meshes to the inch.
  • Preservative treatment can be used to prevent attack in construction timber and lumber.
  • Several coats of house paint will provide considerable protection to exterior woodwork in buildings. All cracks, crevices, and joints between exterior wood members should be filled with a mastic calking or plastic wood before painting.

Handling Pesticides

Pesticides used improperly can be injurious to people, animals, and plants. Follow the directions and heed all precautions on the labels.

Store pesticides in original containers, out of reach of children and pets and away from food.

Apply pesticides selectively and carefully. Do not apply a pesticide when there is danger of drift to other areas. Avoid prolonged inhalation of a pesticide, it is advisable that you be fully clothed.

After handling a pesticide, do not eat, drink, or smoke until you have washed and have taken a shower. In case a pesticide is swallowed or gets in the eyes, follow the first aid treatment given on the label, and get prompt medical attention. If the pesticide is spilled on skin or clothing, remove clothing immediately and wash skin thoroughly.

Dispose of empty pesticide containers by wrapping them in several layers of newspaper and placing them in the trash can. 

It is difficult to remove all traces of a herbicide (weed killer) from equipment. Therefore, to prevent injury to desirable plants, do not use the same equipment for insecticides and fungicides that you use for a herbicide.

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