Getting Rid of Unwanted Pests?

So I was very unhappy to learn a couple of days ago that the "flying ants" that have invaded my house in the last couple of weeks are actually termites. They, and the strange brown long-legged spiders that appeared about the same time, are not welcome additions to my home. Though the pest guys are coming to spray while I am out of town, I wonder if any readers have any helpful hints on keeping these pests at bay?

My house is made of stone and mortar so termites wasn't a concern I thought I would have; I now wonder if this might help explain my falling tree from a few weeks ago, and perhaps if they are coming indoors because the tree they used to live in is now gone. Now that they are in the house, I am concerned about my wooden furniture and carpets, and not speaking the language of the pest control people has me turning to the internet for help.

After getting completely freaked out by everything I've read about termites, I thought I would turn to readers to see if anyone has any success stories in dealing with an infestation. How did you get rid of them, and how did you keep them out once they were gone? Did you lose any furniture or carpet to the bugs? What will help make me house and all my stuff less atrractive to these unwelcome guests? Any advice would be appreciated!

Image: Colleen Quinn