Termites, Termite Control in Crawl Spaces Step 2

Thank you for reading the second installment in “Termite Control in Crawl Spaces“. If you missed the first installment please click here. Before discussing step 2 in controlling termites in your crawl space, I feel I should share why this subject should be of great importance to you as a homeowner.

Cost of Termite Damage

Did you know that a single termite colony can have as many as 15,000,000 termites? That’s a lot of mouths to feed. It is also estimated that 3 times as many homes are damaged by termites than by fire. The estimated cost of repair by subterranean termites in the United States can exceed $1 billion annually. As I mentioned in in the previous installment of this series on preventing termites, we have a customer that will pay around $3,000 for one termite treatment by an exterminator.

Termite Prevention

Another way to prevent termites in your crawl space is to make sure your crawl space floor is clean. This may be more difficult for some than others depending on where you live. When I say keep the crawl space floor clean I am talking about the areas both below and above the vapor barrier.

Installing a good vapor barrier in your crawl space is Crawl Space 101 and is required by United States Building Code. The vapor barrier is designed to control the evaporation of soil moisture plus it makes it a nicer environment to store things or work in if needed. We won’t be discussing the type of vapor barrier or how to install it properly in this series but we will cover that at another time for all you Crawl Space DIY Ninjas out there.

Clean Below the Vapor Barrier

Typically when homes are built, the land had to be excavated and trees removed in order to install the foundation. We have seen homes with tree trunks and small dead shrubs under the plastic. These decaying plants are great cellulose for the termites to feast on and should be remove if at all possible.

Another problem we find is the ground of the crawl space is many times used as a trash can by contractors, plumbers, handymen, HVAC professionals and crawl space repair companies. Pulling the plastic vapor barrier back and disposing of any building supplies, soda cans, beer bottles (yes, we see a lot of beer litter in crawl spaces),  PVC pipes, etc. will not only help prevent termites but other pests that may decide to nest in your crawl space. Beer and soda cans attract ants and other pests to your crawl space.

Clean Above the Vapor Barrier

This one may be difficult for people that rely on the crawl space as a storage room. If you decide to utilize the crawl space to store items be sure to store materials that are not made of fabric, wood, cardboard, paper or anything else that can attract mold and termites. This will help in termite control.

Utilizing a good plastic bin and controlling the humidity is a great way to keep your stored items fresh and clean for years to come. Also, make sure the vapor barrier you have is thick enough to stand up to whatever you decide to store. I recommend not ever storing lawn mowers, weed eaters, tires, paint or any item that can produce fumes like gas cans. Mowers not only have gas in them but the mower deck is likely covered in grass clippings that will decay and bring about mold given the right conditions.

Questions About Your Crawl Space?

If you have a specific question that I have not discussed yet, please feel free to leave a comment below. Also, I am always looking to help with up to date information so please send me topics you would like to know more about. Thanks for reading and I hope you will share this article on your social media pages.

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4 thoughts on “Termites, Termite Control in Crawl Spaces Step 2”

  1. Great article, I have a concrete floor under my family room . Fifteen years ago I had the carpet replaced with hardwood. Two years ago, when it rained hard, the bottom of my patio door would leak. Last summer when it rained for days little bugs would come from one area below the edge of the hardwood and the two heating ducts. They were winged but didn’t fly. I looked it up and it didn’t identify as a termite. Now I’ve ordered a new patio door and I noticed the floor slopes from the door to the edge of the floor, about five feet. From beginning to end it slopes half an inch. Assuming they are termites, what can I do to eradicate them?

    1. There are some DIY carpenter ant and termite killers on the market but if it is real bad you may want to call a local pest control company and get a professional opinion. We really appreciate you reading and commenting. Have a great day.

  2. Can I close cell foam my plate where it meets my block and leave my 3″ inspection zone below it on the block?

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