As seasons change from winter to spring, it is vital to keep an eye out for termite activity in and around your horse barn. Termites commonly start causing damage to wooden structures as temperatures rise, and once they take over, they can be very difficult to remove.
Detection can be difficult in a barn where large amounts of feed or other items are stored, but key signs of termite presence include:
- Piles of wings
- Tiny holes or other damage to wood
- Mud-like tubes
- Sawdust-like pellets
Treating a termite infestation can be a challenging and costly process, so prevention is the most effective approach to avoid expensive repairs or even structural damage. Regular inspections and maintenance can identify potential vulnerabilities and mitigate them before they become a problem.
Here are six tips for preventing termites from wreaking havoc on your horse barn and costing you thousands of dollars in repairs:
1. Regularly inspect the barn for signs of leaks or dampness.
Termites need wood and moisture to thrive, so getting rid of excess moisture around your horse barn is the first step in preventing termites from taking hold. It’s important to:
- Repair leaky faucets.
- Patch or repair the roof to mitigate leaks.
- Clear gutters and downspouts so rainwater drains properly.
- Repair weather stripping around windows to avoid leaks.
- Keep mulch away from the foundation, where moisture can gather.
2. Identify and close off any potential entry points for termites.
To keep termites from entering your horse barn, it’s critical to seal any cracks or gaps where they might enter and replace damaged or broken materials. Common entry points can depend on the type of termite.
Subterranean termites, found in every state in the US except Alaska, typically enter a barn at the ground level or below the ground. They can enter anywhere wood makes contact with the soil, including:
- Support beams
Drywood termites, also called winged termite swarmers, are found in the southern and southwestern parts of the US. They can gain access to a building through multiple entry points and do not rely on soil-to-wood contact. The most common entry locations include:
- Roof eaves
- Attic vents
- Ends of rafters
- Window frames
- Exposed beams
- Floor joists
3. Use chemical treatments to create a perimeter around the barn that repels termites.
Getting rid of termites, or preventing their entry, often requires chemical intervention. There are a variety of brands and types of pesticides on the market. When deciding which product to use, it’s important to consider the type of termites in the area and whether or not they’ve already gained entry into your horse barn. Consult a professional before trying to manage a termite infestation on your own.
4. Install and maintain proper ventilation systems to prevent moisture buildup and improve air quality.
Ensuring proper airflow in your horse barn can help minimize excess moisture and improve the overall air quality as well. Because termites rely on water for survival, an important step is to cut off their supply. Consider installing ceiling fans or a heating/cooling system to minimize the moisture inside your barn. (This is good for your horses’ health and comfort too!)
5. Regularly trim vegetation around the barn.
Because termites swarm to locations with excess moisture, it’s important to keep trees, bushes, and shrubs away from your barn. Vegetation has a tendency to collect moisture, and once termites are in proximity of your barn, it’s only a matter of time before they enter and take over.
6. Keep the barn clean and well-maintained, including removing manure and other waste regularly.
Keeping a well-maintained horse barn can prevent termites and other pests from making an unwelcome visit. Clean up spills, clear out leftover feed, and remove manure regularly.
Preventing termite activity — or removing a termite infestation — is an important step in ensuring a safe, comfortable home for your horses. The team at Blackwood Equestrian Stalls understands your horses and their needs. For more information on how we can help you build custom horse stalls to help them live their best lives, contact us today.