Wood-frame construction is a good choice for commercial and multi-family buildings, even in states where termites pose a higher risk. Wood buildings are safe, economical and sustainable. With the right precautions, they’re also durable and insect resistant. That includes proper design and detailing, good construction practices, and a pest management strategy that involves pesticides and/or physical barriers. Where termites pose a risk, it is good practice for the general contractor to engage a pest control specialist during pre-construction to map out an appropriate plan.
According to Faith Oi, PhD, Director of the University of Florida’s Pest Management University, the key to effective termite prevention is making the building inhospitable to termites. “Subterranean termites, which are the most damaging and economically important species in the U.S., follow pheromones and physical guidelines such as the outside of foundation walls. They can use any gap as a pathway—so it’s important to minimize hidden access and treat critical areas.”
This paper focuses on how to design and construct wood-frame buildings for termite prevention, and how to keep buildings insect-free over the long term. Intended for developers and design/construction teams, it covers building code requirements, best practices, control methods, costs, and ongoing maintenance. It emphasizes subterranean termites (including Formosans), and briefly covers drywood termites and other insects with the potential to cause damage.