Last Updated December 24,th 2022: Termites are free-living insects that are harmless while in their natural habitat. But when they get into contact with wooden structures, such as your home, they can wreak havoc.
What Causes Termites?
Most times, termites are attracted to buildings that will fulfill their basic needs for survival including a dark and moist climate, plenty of wood and food sources, and protection from predators. Termites are difficult to detect because they are small and prefer dark, warm, and moist areas. They tarnish wood by consuming it and building nests in it.
Most damp wood and drywood termites inhabit the wood they consume where they create elaborate tunnels in it and breed. Subterranean termites prefer to live under the soil. Once they find they find a food source, they build mud tunnels to guide them to and fro, and have protection from termite predators.
You may wonder what causes termites to invade your home or building. There are several ways through which termites can enter your home. Below are reasons why termites keep coming back:
Suitable Local Climate And Seasons
Termites tend to thrive in wet and warm regions like the tropics and subtropical regions. They have adapted to temperate areas and flourish effortlessly. To escape the cold winter season, termites can extend their nests deeper, within the soil or wood. Subterranean termites thrive in wet seasons better because they may die in harsher seasons while drywood termites can survive in wet or dry places.
During the rainy seasons, termite winged reproductives swarm to find mates and new nest sites. They usually discard their wings after watching or finding a mate. These wings are one of the signs of their presence. If you find termites often, then it could depend on the nature of your region’s climate. Termite infestations are less likely to occur in colder climes.
Moist or Damp Areas
You risk attracting termites even in the dry seasons when you allow moisture to collect in areas around your building. Termites can get into your home in stuffed or moisture-laden crawl spaces and an attic. When you allow leaks in plumbing and septic systems to persist, you may be creating a good environment for termites to thrive. Poor drainage systems and landscapes that collect water not only attract termites but also bring other pests like mosquitoes and flies. Too much moisture can lead to decay, moss, and algae growth around your structures.
Openings In Building Foundation
Foundations are usually dark, warm, and undisturbed, making them perfect for termites to build nests. With time, cracks and crevices can form in the foundation, whether wooden or concrete. Termites can exploit these openings to establish themselves and create nest tunnels. Prevent soil from directly contacting your foundation by installing extended tiles or concrete around it. Also, carry out regular inspections and fill cracks with concrete. Other building exteriors like the wood sidings, porch, and eaves can be infested with termites if left unchecked.
Wooden structures like doors and porch should be built away from the soil. This is because termites can easily gain entrance through them, or begin to consume them at the spot. Ensure to eliminate soil from around the area. You can also opt to cover the topsoil with concrete. If you have termites in your walls you might be wondering, can you hear termites in the walls? And the answer is yes!
Do not keep piled firewood, directly on the ground. Termites are most likely to infest any kind of wood it comes in contact with. Store them on tiled or concrete floors away from direct soil.
Wood Piles Near Building
Piling up wood such as firewood or soil close to your building can invite termites into your home because termites eat wood for sustenance. Untreated wood may be infested already and can serve as a means to get termites into your property. Even if the wood is treated, it is safer to keep them away from the building on tiled flooring. Also, avoid keeping wood close to vents and crawl spaces.
Termites can get in unnoticed and establish themselves without being easily detected. Without proper inspections, they can spread from house to house, causing extensive damage. Avoid skipping regular inspections to protect your properties from termite attacks.
You can minimize increased infestation risk and save your property if you look for signs of infestations early. These signs include mud tubes, discarded wings, holes in wood, and termite droppings. If you find termite droppings, then you are most likely to be infested with Drywood or Dampwood termites. A thorough termite inspection on your property is important to prevent or control termite infestations. It is important to contact termite specialists, at least once a year.
How Do Termites Start?
Termites typically start by finding an entrance in your home via a crack in your foundation or digging through the wood. From here they dig their way into your home and seal themselves inside to begin laying their eggs to grow their colony!
Do Termites Need Moisture?
Termites need moisture and it’s one of the main features of a new home they’re looking for. This means things like leaky pipes or improper drainage can attract termites into your home.
Final Thoughts On What Causes Termites
Termites live freely in their natural habitat but can invade buildings in search of food. Termite presence is caused by attractants around your building. These include moisture, woodpiles, cracks, and crevices. They can gain entrance and establish themselves in your building, if you do not keep wood away from soil and building, and skip regular inspections. If worse comes to worst, follow our guide on getting rid of termites naturally!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on what causes termites and I hope it helps you protect your home!