The Basics of San Antonio Termite Control

cluster of subterranean termites on soil

Termites are more than a nuisance; they wreak havoc on your home that is costly to repair — and they’re NOT covered by insurance. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, termites cause billions of dollars in property damage every year. And a good chunk of that damage is right here in San Antonio, so let’s explore the basics of San Antonio termite control.

There are three types of termites in Texas, and two of them call San Antonio home. Subterranean termites are our biggest issue here, but there are ways to protect your home no matter which type you encounter. Here’s how to get rid of termites in San Antonio:

Remove Access to Entry Points

To keep termites away, you’ll need to cut off any entry points to your home. This goes for both subterranean and drywood termites. 

  • Seal off any cracks or crevices in the wood around windows and door frames, as well as any gaps around your water and gas lines. Ensure there are no cracks around your foundation that they can use to get in.
  • Apply a termiticide or even a fresh coat of paint to the wood to make it less attractive to termites and seal the wood. 
  • Install bug screens over your attic and foundation vents to keep termites out.

Address Moisture Problems

headshot of Gabriel Aguillon
Gabriel Aguillon

Moisture is not so much an issue for drywood termites, but subterranean ones (pictured above) are drawn to moist, damp areas. If water pools around the foundation of your home, or somewhere on your roof, you need to address it. While some expense may be involved, it’s probably less than what you’d have to spend to repair your home after termites get ahold of it.

  • Resolve water leaks in plumbing or irrigation systems as soon as possible to avoid attracting termites. If you have pooling water on your lawn, you may need to level your yard to keep moisture away from your foundation. An air conditioning unit that drips water is another common source of dampness.
  • Clean your gutters regularly to prevent water buildup and ensure they’re in good shape as bad gutters cause roof leaks, which encourage termites to come in. 
  • Ensure good ventilation in crawl spaces and attics, or install dehumidifiers to keep the moisture level to a minimum to discourage termites in these areas.

According to Gabriel Aguillon, an associate certified entomologist with Bob Jenkins Pest & Lawn Services in San Antonio, too much shade around the foundation of the home can also lead to termite issues. “It’s best to keep your foundation free of debris, shade, and dampness,” he said.

Reduce Food Sources

graphic showing Subterranean Termites in a house
Photo Credit: Juan Rodriguez

The reason that termites enter your home is that they are looking for food. Subterranean termites, which are the most common problem in San Antonio, like cellulose material. This includes things like wood, cotton, and plants. Drywood termites, though not as common, like dry wood (as their name suggests). 

Gabriel told us that he often sees homes with debris and materials up against the walls and foundation that attract termites and offer easy access for them to get inside. “Flower beds with railroad ties, trellises with vines, wood scraps, wheelbarrows, 2-by-4s, and even wood benches close to the home can lead to problems with subterranean termites,” he warned.

Take the following steps to eliminate food sources for termites:

  • Keep mulch at least 6 inches from your home’s foundation. Some types of mulch will attract termites, but overall, it’s the moist soil they’re drawn to.
  • Wood siding should be at least 6 inches above the ground to help reduce the risk of termites.
  • Remove wood debris such as tree limbs or old lumber from your property, and remove tree stumps to avoid attracting termites.
  • Keep firewood off the ground on metal or cinder block stands and at least 20 feet away from your home. Check for termites in your firewood before bringing it inside.

Inspect Wood Before Using It

Even if you’ve taken all the steps above, because termites are so common in San Antonio, you could potentially still have an infestation of them. Carefully inspect any wood you buy for home and garden projects, especially used wood.

For example, you buy extra wood from an individual who is selling it in your neighborhood or through an online listing. This wood could already be infested with termites. You bring it home, thinking you saved money by buying it used, and the next thing you know, they move beyond that piece of wood and into your home — a costly mistake. 

Schedule Routine Inspections

termite inspections by a worker
Photo Credit: GEOLEE / Canva Pro / License

Besides the preventive measures that you take on your own, it’s a good idea to schedule routine, usually annual, termite inspections. The average cost of a termite inspection ranges from $65 to $265. But this is substantially less than what it would cost to rid your house of termites and repair it. 

Cost of Termite Treatments and Repair

The cost of termite treatments alone for the average homeowner in San Antonio runs anywhere from $275 to $863 — and that is just to remove the termites. You may also have expenses related to repairing your home after the damage is done.

The cost of termite damage repair is, on average, $2,600, with most homeowners shelling out between $550 and $3,000.

FAQ: Termites 

Will Termites Leave On Their Own?

No, termites don’t just up and disappear. As long as a food source is available, termites will hang around. To get rid of termites, homeowners should contact a professional termite control service to eliminate the infestation.

Do Termites Make Noise?

Yes, they do. Termites create noise when they are eating, making a chewing sound. Also, soldier termites will hit their heads against the tunnel walls to communicate with other termites. This is known as head-banging.

Are Termites Dangerous?

No, termites do not pose a direct threat to people or their health. However, they can cause significant damage to homes which, if left untreated, can eventually make them unsafe to live in. It is crucial to take steps to prevent termites and, if found, to treat them quickly.

When to Call a Pro

Now, if you already have your home treated for pests quarterly, you may want to inquire with your local pest control service about checking for termites. According to Gabriel, this is something that his company does as part of its routine quarterly services for its customers. Your pest control service may do the same. And if it doesn’t, you can always request that they do!

Main Image Credit: Katja Schulz / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Jennifer Lester

Jennifer Lester is a freelance writer and social media strategist who covers a variety of home and garden topics. She’s a graduate of Texas A&M University and the proud mom of three boys. In her spare time, she volunteers in her community and her children’s schools.