Termites are among the most destructive insects. They are silent destroyers that can eat through the wood for years, damaging your home’s structural integrity without being detected. Knowing what attracts termites to your home will help prevent a possible infestation.

Termites are attracted to areas with readily available food sources containing cellulose, primarily soft or rotting wood. These insects also look for damp, moist, and warm areas away from humans.

A termite infestation can cause irreparable damage and destroy your home’s value if left untreated. Here are 8 things you could be doing that attract termites to your home.

What Attracts Termites to a House

Before we move on to things that attract termites to your property, let’s find out what food these insects feed on. This will help you eliminate any food sources that may be attracting these insects from your home and property.

Typically, termite’s main food is cellulose, an organic compound found in wood, plants, paper, cardboards, and cotton fibers. These insects have bacteria and protozoa in their guts that digest the cellulose compound, breaking it down into a nutritious meal. Termites will, therefore, build nests in areas where they can get easy access to these materials.

8 things that attract termites to your home

Termites will build their colonies in areas where the conditions are favorable. If there is enough food, moisture, and warmth around your home, do not be surprised to see these pests roaming around.

Here are 8 ways you could be attracting termites to your home.

1. Moisture and warmth

Termites usually feed on soft, decaying wood and stay in moist, warm places. These insects huddle together to create warmth. Lack of enough moisture and warmth will kill termites pretty quickly.

Any leaks or damp areas in your home will attract these destructive insects. Always ensure there are no leaking pipes or air conditioners and fix leaks immediately. Also, ensure that there is no excess moisture in your bathrooms, laundry rooms, and crawl spaces.

2. Darkness

Termites love to hide in dark places away from human beings. The darkness keeps them safe from predators. When moving from one place to another, looking for food sources, they create mud tubes that provide the darkness and protection they need. If you notice mud tubes in your home or yard, be sure that you have these uninvited guests.

3. Mulch and garden

Mulch is basically wood chips laid in your garden and flower beds to improve moisture retention, suppress weeds and prevent soil erosion. Mulching is an essential part of gardening as it keeps the plants healthy, beautiful, and productive while improving the yard’s curb appeal.

The dead wood chips, however, retain moisture and can potentially become a main source of food for termites. If the mulch touches your home’s foundation, the termites can easily move to your home.

Always lay mulch at least 15 inches away from your home’s foundation to prevent the termites from reaching your home. Also, inspect the mulch regularly to make sure there are no termites.

4. Firewood and wood piles

If you regularly use firewood in your home, you probably have wood piles in your compound. Wood piles easily attract termites which can invade your home once they find their way into the house.

It is recommended to keep your firewood or wood piles at least 20 feet away from your house. Keeping the wood at least 5 inches from the ground also reduces the risks of a termite infestation.

5. Dead tree limbs and tree stumps

Termites usually feed on dead trees and rotting wood. So, if you have a dead tree or tree stump in your yard, termites could build their nests there and slowly move to your home, looking for more water and food sources.

Always ensure there is no deadwood laying around in your yard, and get rid of tree stumps to prevent a termite invasion.

6. Clogged gutters

Clogged gutters can also attract termites into your home. As leaves, tree branches, and pine needles build up in your gutter, they become damp, soften and start to rot. This decaying foliage will give termites easy access to your home. The debris may also damage your roof, leading to costly repairs.

Cleaning your gutters regularly will prevent a termite invasion and keep your roof in good shape. You can also install gutter guards to protect your gutters from clogging.

7. Basement problems

If your home is set on top of a crawl space or has an unfinished basement or cellar, you are more likely to have a termite problem. These kinds of spaces hold on to moisture for a longer time, leaving the wooden structural supports vulnerable to a termite infestation.

Keeping your basements and crawl spaces clean, dry, and ventilated will keep off these nasty insects.

Types of termites

There are numerous species of termites, but not all of them find their way to human dwellings. Termites species can be grouped into three main categories.

Subterranean termites

Subterranean termites are the most destructive. They feed on tree stumps, tree branches, rotting wood, and fallen trees and can destroy a home within a short time. These termites live close to the ground to get access to moisture. They create mud tubes to protect themselves when looking for food and water.

Drywood termites

Drywood termites have a smaller colony. They are mainly found in infested pieces of wood from which they get their food and moisture.

These termites do not need to get to the soil to get moisture and food. They can live and hide inside wood pieces for years before being detected. This makes them very dangerous as they can destroy your home’s structural integrity without being discovered.

Dampwood termites

These termites usually feed on decayed wood, hence the name dampwood termites. Once you notice these termites, check out for a moisture problem. These termites also have smaller colonies and stay inside the infected wood. They can go undetected for years as well.

Signs of a termite infestation

Termite activity can go unnoticed for years, by which time the damage will be extensive. Here are the signs to look out for to keep your home safe from these pests.

Termite swarmers

Termite swarmers do not necessarily mean that your home is infested by termites, but it is a warning sign. Once you notice termite swarmers near your home, contact a termite exterminator immediately. The professional will carry out a termite inspection and let you know whether you are battling a termite infestation or not.

Termite wings

Termite wings are another indication of a termite infestation. Swarmers tend to pull off their wings once they land and find their mates. You can find termite wings in your windows or porch.

Mud tubes

Once you see mud tubes, be sure you have termites nearby, if not inside your home. These tubes are small straw-shaped tunnels through which termites move back and forth in search of food and water while keeping their environment moist.

Termite mud tubes are usually built against a structure or wall on the ground or can be suspended in mid-air on occasion. The tubes also serve as protection from predators.

Frass

Frass is basically termite droppings that resemble sawdust or wood particles. You can find these droppings on your windows, porch, and yard—the more the frass, the larger the colony.

Visible damage

As mentioned earlier, termites can go unnoticed for years. By the time you notice visible wood damage, there could be severe structural damage to your home. The condition of the wood will tell you whether the infestation is active or not.

Drywood and dampwood termites do not need to get moisture from the soil as they can survive with the moisture found in the wood pieces. On the other hand, subterranean termites bring their own mud into the wood to maintain their moisture needs.

Once you notice damages to your home, contact a pest management company immediately. The professionals will inspect your home and determine the extent of the damage. The experts will also determine whether the infestation is active.

How to prevent termite infestations

Once you notice any sign of termite activity in your yard or home, and would like a termite inspection, contact a termite Pest Control Company near you immediately. Here is a FREE service you can use.

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Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.