Can You Treat Wood to Prevent Termites?


Termite control keeps us very busy in the spring and summer months––where the warm and humid Southeast hosts the perfect environment for termites to thrive. Of the termite species likely to live in the South, the subterranean termite is the one found most commonly here in Alabama. 

Annually, termites cost billions of dollars in damage as they munch away on cellulose––the material found inside of wood. Come springtime, termite swarms are likely to find their way into your home. If you fail to catch the infestation when it starts, it will likely continue to grow well into summertime. 

Though no home is completely safe from a termite infestation, you can make the exterior of your home a less inviting place by treating wood surfaces––here’s how. 

Wood Treating Options to Prevent Termites

Wood is a major component of most infrastructures, and your home is no different. Whether you’re planning an outdoor project, such as a deck, you need to make sure it’s protected before an infestation even begins. Here are a few options to consider when treating the wood in and around your home.

#1: Keep Mulch Away From Your Home’s Exterior

Mulching your garden helps improve the soil’s fertility, suppresses weed growth, and helps retain moisture in your soil. Unfortunately, mulch is the perfect snack for a hungry termite. If you decide to mulch, make sure you add mulch far away from your home’s foundation to prevent termites from entering your home. 

#2: Get Rid of Rotting Wood

Dead wood is an attractive source of food for termites because it’s moist and soft. Subterranean termites are especially attracted to rotting wood because of its soft fibers––it’s perfect for building a nest and raising a colony. 

Make sure you get rid of any rotting wood you have on your property, such as dead longs, tree stumps, mulch, and stacks of firewood. 

#3: Buy Pressure-Treated Wood

If you’re building a wooden fence or working on another outdoor project, you can choose a pre-treated wood. This means that a chemical preservative containing insecticide is impeded through the wood through the use of pressure. 

Two chemicals most often used in pressure-treated wood are copper boron azole (CBA) and alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ). Treated wood doesn’t guarantee protection, but it does significantly reduce the risk of a termite infestation. 

#4: Buy Termite-Resistant Wood

Some wood species are natural termite deterrents––cedar and redwood are two species that have natural insect repellants. If you have to put wood at ground level, these two kinds of wood would be the best choice. Another wood, teak, can help prevent infestations because it’s tough and challenging for termites to chew through.

#5: Treat Existing Wood

Is the wood around your home treated? If you’re not sure, you can always treat it yourself with a product like Rust-Oleum Wolman WOODLIFE Classic. For wood that’s below ground, you can use WOODLIFE CopperCoat. You can also use a borate spray like Bora-Care to repel termites and carpenter ants. 

All you have to do is dilute the formula with water and spray it on the desired wood surface––make sure you do this on a clear day, as it needs time to dry. 

#6: Seal Existing Wood

To go a step further in keeping termites from crunching on your home’s wood, you can seal existing wood to help prevent water damage that weakens wood, making it more susceptible to termite damage. 

However, sealing wood typically is not enough to protect your home from termite damage. Instead, we recommend that you hire a pest control professional who is trained to spot signs of termites, as well as places that could attract termites. 

At Vulcan Termite & Pest Control, we’ve been providing Birmingham with superior services since 1965. Call us today for a free estimate!