Once termites have discovered your house, they will search it for food-wood fiber. They will squeeze through cracks as narrow as the thickness of a penny, Expansion joints, founda-tion cracks, tiny gaps around plumbing, and electrical service entries are all opportunities for termites to enter your home. In homes with basements, they can enter where the floor and walls meet, and through small openings in the walls themselves.

The first thing to do is to make your home a poor candidate for infestation. In general, the goal is to reduce moisture and organic matter around your home, and to prevent wood fiber from making contact with the ground. For example, don’t affix wooden trellises to exterior walls. Keep wood debris, scrap lumber, sawdust, and firewood away from buildings. Don’t bury wood debris near your home. Remove infested trees and stumps.

To reduce moisture, repair leaking faucets and water lines, both indoors and outdoors. Fix leaky roofs and gutters, and don’t allow leaves to accumulate in gutters or drains. Grade soil so that water (including air conditioning condensate) runs away from foundations. Ventilate crawl spaces and attics to reduce humidity. If possible, cover at least 90% of the soil in crawl spaces with plastic sheeting. And make sure that wood siding, stucco, and foam board are all at least six inches away from the ground.