Physical Termite Barriers
Physical termite barriers are objects that are put in place, preventing termites from finding an entry point into a home. Termite barriers of a physical nature prevent a termite from getting through the home’s foundation or from accessing other areas of your real estate property. From specifically designed trenches to mesh coverings, these physical barriers block termites from entering in through the basement, foundation, or footings. This greatly reduces the threat of the pest ever reaching the walls of the home. Different from chemical barriers, these barriers contain no insecticide and are not a chemical treatment.
Mesh Termite Barriers
One specific type of physical termite barrier is made of a thin mesh. The mesh is very similar to the screen material we use on windows and it serves a very similar purpose, which is keeping pests out. This particular barrier is only effective when it is installed as the house is being constructed. It helps to eliminate the threat of termites only if is done right. It is best if someone experienced at dealing with this mesh works with it to make sure installation is done properly. The flexible screen is wrapped around the bricks or the foundation slab and up against footings and retaining walls above and below grade.
Mesh termite barriers are tremendously helpful in the fight against subterranean termites. The cost of the mesh is minimal compared to the damages it can prevent. The screen body is too small for termites to pass through and too strong for them to rip open. A mesh barrier is by no means a guarantee against infestation, but properly installed mesh screens cut down on the probability of termites getting through the home’s foundation.
Rock Trench Termite Barriers
Another popular physical termite barrier is the rock trench. In this method of prevention, a trench is dug around and underneath the foundation boundaries before the slab is actually laid. The trench is then filled with granules that look just like little rocks or pebbles. These granules are made of minerals of a heavier density and weight such as granite. They are impossible for a termite to move aside, and just their presence forms a large interruption in the soil to bother ground termites. They are not nearly as effective as drywood termites, and are mainly designed for areas where ground or subterranean termites are predominant.
Physical vs. Chemical Termite Barriers
Physical termite barriers have been developed as suitable alternatives to chemicals as the use of chemicals in pre treatment has fallen out of favor for environmental and other reasons. Before many popular and effective insecticide sprays were banned, chemical treatment of the soil around the foundation of the home was common practice, resulting in the formation of what was called a vapor barrier. But now that these chemical techniques are really no longer in use, the more ecologically friendly methods are gaining ground and getting more refined in their application. They also require much less maintenance than the chemical alternatives, and of course they are completely non toxic. The cost of this type of service varies by the size of the home and the specific type of application being done.
The main downside with physical termite barriers is that in order for them to be effective, they have to be installed before a home is built. They are not nearly as successful at keeping out pests in existing structures.
Physical termite barriers are an interesting concept and are something to keep in mind for folks getting ready to build their own homes, especially in areas prone to infestation.