Termites are more than a nuisance; they wreak havoc on your home that is costly to repair – and NOT covered by insurance. According to the National Pest Association, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage every year. And a good chunk of that damage is right here in San Antonio.

Yep. San Antonio made the Terminix top 10 list a few years ago – at No. 2! This means that the city had the second most termite infestations in the country, behind Mobile, Ala.

So now that we got the bad news out of the way, here’s some good news. You can take measures to prevent your home from falling victim to termites. Today we are talking about the basics of San Antonio termite control for your home. Here’s what you need to know:

Remove Access to Entry Points

To keep termites away, you’ll need to cut off any entry points to your home. This goes for both subterranean and drywood termites. Seal off any cracks or crevices in the wood as well as any gaps around water and gas lines. Some additional preventive measures you can take are to apply a termiticide or even a fresh coat of paint to wood to make it unattractive and sealed off. You can also install bug screens over your attic and foundation vents.

Address Moisture Problems

Gabriel Aguillon
Gabriel Aguillon

Moisture is not so much an issue for drywood termites. But subterranean ones (pictured above) are drawn to moist, damp areas. If water pools around the foundation of your home, or somewhere on your roof, you need to address it. This also goes for any plumbing issues such as leaky pipes, an air conditioning unit that drips water, or any other damp spaces. Some expense may be involved, but it’s probably less than what you’d have to spend to repair your home after termites get ahold of it.

According to Gabriel Aguillon, an associate certified entomologist with Bob Jenkins Pest & Lawn Services in San Antonio, too much shade around the foundation of the home can also lead to termite issues. “It’s best to keep your foundation free of debris, shade, and dampness,” he said.

Reduce Food Sources

A reason that termites enter your home is that they are looking for food. Subterranean termites, which are the most common problem in San Antonio, like cellulose material. This includes things like wood, cotton, and plants. So if you use mulch within 6 inches of your home’s foundation, you could attract them. And if you have wood siding on it, make sure it is at least six inches above the ground to help reduce the risk of termites.

Gabriel told us that he often sees homes with debris and materials up against the walls and foundation that attract termites and offers easy access for them to get inside. “Flower beds with railroad ties, trellises with vines, wood scraps, wheelbarrows, 2-by-4s, and even wood benches close to the home can lead to problems with subterranean termites,” he warned.

Drywood termites, though not as common, like dry wood (as their name suggests). So remove dead trees and limbs from your property and keep woodpiles far enough away from the home.

Inspect Wood Before Using It

Even if you’ve taken all the steps above, because termites are so common in San Antonio, you could potentially still have an infestation of them. Let’s say you buy extra wood from an individual who is selling it in your neighborhood or through an online listing. This wood could already be infested with termites. You bring it home, thinking you saved money by buying it used, and the next thing you know, they move beyond that piece of wood and into your home — a costly mistake. So be sure to carefully inspect any wood that you buy for home and garden projects, especially used wood.

Schedule Routine Inspections

Besides the preventive measures that you take on your own, it’s a good idea to schedule routine termite inspections. The average cost ranges from $75 to $150. But this is substantially less than what it would cost to rid your house of termites and repair it. The cost of termite remediation alone for the average homeowner in San Antonio runs anywhere from $800 to $1,200 — and that is just to remove the termites. You may also have expenses related to repairing your home after the damage is done.

Now, if you already have your home treated for pests on a quarterly basis, you may want to inquire with your pest control service about checking for termites. According to Gabriel, this is something that his company does as part of its routine quarterly services for its customers. Your pest control service may do the same. And if it doesn’t, you can always request that they do!