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When the pest control industry was in its infancy 70 to 80 years ago, fully eradicating stubborn insect pest infestations from homes was a nearly impossible task. For example, before the advent of modern heat treatments, residents avoided bed bug bites by placing bowls with smooth surfaces below the legs of beds. The slippery surface prevented bed bugs from accessing the legs, and therefore, sleeping humans as well, but people remained vulnerable to bites in every other area within infested homes. Eradicating subterranean termite infestations was an even taller order for pest control pioneers during the 1950s, as lumber components of older generation homes usually made contact with the ground soil at numerous points, providing subterranean termites with direct access into a home’s timber frame. Luckily, however, those days are long gone, and termites in the US are now well controlled with termiticide barriers.

In order to provide modern homes with as much protection from subterranean termites as possible, many contractors are now applying termiticide barriers to the ground soil below and surrounding homes before, during and after construction. For instance, before the foundation is constructed, a minimal amount of termiticide is applied to the earthen pit where the concrete will be poured. After the foundation is constructed, a termiticide barrier may be applied beneath the soil immediately surrounding the crawl space, and after construction is complete, an additional barrier is sometimes applied to the outermost perimeter surrounding a property. The exact number and location of termiticide barriers applied to new properties varies depending on soil type, construction type, and the degree of preexisting termite activity present in a newly developed area.

Termiticide barriers account for more than 80 percent of all termite control practices in the United States, and they are ideal in Massachusetts where termite pest activity is categorized as “moderate to heavy.” The relatively high rate of termite infestations in Massachusetts is partly due to the high number of outdated structures in the state that are vulnerable to termite infestations. No matter how old a home may be, having a post-construction termiticide barrier applied around the perimeter of the building will provide years of reliable protection from infestations by eastern subterranean termites.

Is your home protected by a termite barrier? If not, have you resorted to termite bait products for control purposes?