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Moisture Reduction Guide for the Homeowner

One of the most important factors in an Integrated Pest Management (IPM)  program is the reduction of moisture. The guide’s purpose is to educate the homeowner about conducive conditions that exist in and around their home, as well as   offer some helpful tips. Although there   are several others, these are the most common problems observed during    inspections.
 
Mulch is an excellent harborage for insects, providing them with food, shelter and moisture. Termites are also able to cross chemical soil barrier treatments by foraging in the mulch that lies on top of the treated soil. Although a variety of inorganic mulches are available, studies show the lowest populations of insects were observed around homes with bare soil next to the foundation. If you must have mulch, it should be pulled back 18”-24” from the foundation.

  • Wood to ground contact must be eliminated. All siding, clapboards and lattice work must remain several inches above the soil and the grade should allow water to flowaway from the foundation. This will reduce the risk of rot and insect infestations.
  • Overhanging tree limbs should be cut back several feet. Wet leaves falling, over time, will cause wood to decay and gutters to clog. Branches will also provide highways to the structure for insects and wildlife, such as ants, raccoons and squirrels.
  • Vegetation such as shrubs ivy and other plants will continue to hold moisture long after rain stops. Therefore, we recommend they be trimmed back away from the siding, a minimum of 18’’. This will help prevent rotting as well as providing access for regular inspections.
  • Gutters should be cleaned out on a regular basis and kept free of leaves and debris to allow water to flow freely through the downspouts. Any leaking seams must be repaired to help prevent soffits and fascia boards from rotting. Installing extensions to the downspouts will channel water away from the structure which in turn will minimize water buildup.
  • Firewood and scrap wood should not be stores in the basement or the garage.   Underneath decks and porches must be kept free of wood and debris. This will eliminate harborage sites for insects and rodents. All wood should be stored away from the house, kept dry and off the ground on a rack, cement pad or block to eliminate wood to soil  contact.    
  • Gutters should be cleaned out on a regular basis and kept free of leaves and debris to allow water to flow freely through the downspouts. Any leaking seams must be repaired to help prevent soffets and fascia boards from rotting. Installing extensions to the downspouts will channel water away from the structure which in turn will minimize water buildup.
  • Firewood and scrap wood should not be stores in the basement or the garage.  Underneath decks and porches must be kept free of wood and debris. This will eliminate harborage sites for insects and rodents. All wood should be stored away from the house, kept dry and off the ground on a rack, cement pad or block to eliminate wood to soil contact.