In general, termites create colonies around food sources. Because termites eat soft or rotting wood, they seek moist spaces. Homes, and the surrounding property, can accidentally create prime environments for termite colonies. These situations encourage termites to move from their natural habitats into developed areas. The following scenarios are most likely to attract termites to your home.
PILES OF WOOD
Firewood and woodpiles can attract termites, drawing them closer to your home. Then, termites will migrate from the piles of wood to the housing structure, causing great damage inside. To avoid an invasion, stack wood 20 feet away from your home and keep it at least 5 inches off the ground.
As they rot, dead trees and stumps attract termites. Termites will migrate from this excess foliage to your home. To prevent this, clear stumps and dead trees from your yard.
TREE LIMBS AND LEAVES
Tree limbs and leaves that touch the roof attract termites to your home. These branches give termites a pathway from the ground to your house. Also tree limbs can damage your roof and cause roof leaks conducive to termite activity. Regular tree trimming can dissuade termites from migrating to your roof.
Similar to tree limbs, mulch can draw termites closer to your home. The wood chips retain moisture, providing an attractive food source. Lower the likelihood of termites by keeping mulch at least 15 inches from your foundation.
As leaves and twigs build up in your gutters, the excess moisture softens or rots your roof. These soft spots allow termites to penetrate your home. Clean gutters lower the opportunities for termites to invade by preventing a soft or rotting roof.
SIGNS OF TERMITES
Several key clues signal that termites may have created a colony in your home. Even if you don’t spot an actual termite, they could quickly and quietly damage your property. Although they may seem small, homeowners should immediately consult a professional upon finding any of the following signs of termites.
Termites shed their wings shortly after they find a mate, leaving behind an obvious sign that they are occupying a space. If you see wings on your porch, in windows, or other places around your property you may have a termite infestation.
Subterranean Termites build mud tubes to retain moisture and commute between their food source and main colony. If you see mud tubes, you will probably find more termites inside your home.
Drywood Termites leave small droppings, known as “frass” which can look like grains of sand or finely ground coffee grinds. If you find these droppings, your home may have termites.
In the later stages of a termite infestation, homeowners may notice damaged wood. A pest management company can tell you if the damaged wood came from termites or another structural issue.
Debunking common termite misconceptions empowers homeowners to protect their property. Termite limitations and preferences reveal the key areas where they enter and damage homes. While termites are destructive, you can discourage them from creating a colony in your home with the following tips.
DO TERMITES REALLY EAT WOOD?
Termites eat wood and anything containing cellulose, such as wallpaper, books, boxes, carpet backing, drywall and furniture. In their natural environment, termites support the ecosystem. They digest rotting wood, turning it into humus, an organic material that improves soil. When land development displaces termites, they can occupy and destroy buildings.
CAN TERMITES EAT THROUGH PLASTIC?
Termites can eat through many materials such as plastic, silicon caulk, and roofing materials.
DO TERMITES EAT CONCRETE?
Termites cannot eat concrete. Because termites fit through tiny cracks in concrete, homeowners may think termites chewed through this tough barrier.
TERMITE TREATMENT AND RENEWAL
Homeowners should schedule termite inspections during three key times. First, prospective home buyers should consult a pest management group during the purchasing process. An inspection can reveal termite damage, allowing for treatment and repairs during negotiation. Second, homeowners should schedule a professional inspection every 3 years. These inspections can stop an infestation early or prevent an infestation by advising changes to the home and landscaping. Third, anyone who has had a termite treatment in the past should schedule ongoing, preventative termite renewal.
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