While people love to talk about Australia’s oversized insects, our biggest insect threat is the tiny little termite. Termites invade between 1 in 5 and 1 in 3 homes in Australia each year. They cause millions of dollars in property damage. For property owners, this is especially dangerous because insurance usually does not cover termite damage. That can leave you on the hook, not just for termite treatment, but also for the damage that they cause.

Keeping termites out of your home is the first step to preventing their destruction. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of termites coming into your house. Some are no cost or inexpensive, so you can DIY them to reduce your risk.

First, you want to eliminate wood contacting the ground. Any type of earth to wood contact gives termites a bridge into your home, where they can find food, water, and shelter. If you have wood siding, doors, or window frames, they need to be at least six inches off of the ground. One way to prevent that type of contact is to make sure your garden beds, soil, and mulch is pulled back from the foundation. You also want to cut any branches or bushes that create a bridge between the house and the ground.

Wood that is not in your house can also be a hiding spot for termites. If you store firewood in your yard, keep it away from your foundations and crawlspaces. Keep in mind that termites can use various wood-derived products as food sources, so do not store cardboard, lumber, newspapers or similar materials in your house.

Next, keep your foundation dry. Termites are attracted to water, so if your foundation is wet, they are more likely to come near it. You can move water away from your foundation with gutters and downspouts. While you are at it, fix any leaking faucets, pipes, and air conditioning away from the home. Eliminating water sources helps keep the insects away from your home.

Do you have a crawl space or basement? Termites love these underground spaces, in part because they tend to be moist and humid. Termites thrive in that environment. Make sure they are properly ventilated to help reduce humidity. If you have bare earth in the crawl space, you can use polyethylene sheeting to block humidity from the soil’s surface.

These steps can help prevent termites from getting in your home. Of course, the best way to keep termites away is with a barrier system. Flick can set you up with routine termite inspections and set up a system, tailored to your home, and designed to keep termites out.