Can you get termites from a neighbor? Without a second thought, YES.
In this guide, we’ve exposed all the ways you can get termites from your neighbor.
And, to make it better, there’s a 10-step guide in this post that you can use to stop termites from crossing over into your home.
Let’s jump in right away!
How Can You Get Termites From A Neighbor?
Termites are relentless in finding new food sources.
When left uncontrolled, they multiply and spread to places far and wide, without you even realizing it.
There are many ways that termites can spread from house to house.
And these ways depend on the type of termites.
There are majorly two types of termites that infest homes in the US.
They’re subterranean termites and drywood termites.
You can get either of these termites from your neighbor if your neighbor has a termite infestation.
Let’s have a look at how each of the termites moves into your house from your neighbor’s home.
How Subterranean Termites Spread From House To House?
Subterranean termites attack homes from underground.
They make tunnels underneath the ground to travel from one place to another.
When they come close to a home’s foundation, they exploit the cracks and gaps on the walls to get inside the house.
Like a wooden post or a wall, termites will make mud tubes (tunnels) to reach their food source on a rigid surface.
Subterranean termites will make mud tubes by mixing their saliva with the soil.
If you see mud tubes on the walls, floor, or wooden structure, then it’s a clear sign of subterranean termite infestation.
The good news is if your neighbor has subterranean termites, then you’re not under an immediate threat of subterranean termite infestation.
It’s because the subterranean termites would like to exhaust your neighbor’s home first before they move into your home.
But the infestation threat increases if your home is too close to your neighbor.
As subterranean termites mostly enter a home from the yard, the subterranean termites from your neighbor’s house can get into your yard.
The subterranean termites will make tunnels underneath the ground to travel from your neighbor’s yard to your yard.
And it becomes quite likely when your yard has everything that can attract subterranean termites.
The things that can attract the subterranean termites from your neighbor’s yard to your yard are –
- Tree stumps
- Rotting pieces of wood
- High dampness in the soil
- Untreated wooden fences
If you’ve all these in your yard, then it’s only a matter of time that subterranean termites will travel to your yard.
And once they’re in your yard, then your home is at risk of subterranean termite invasion.
Subterranean termites can get into your home through the stuff you would bring from your neighbor’s home to your home.
Subterranean termites infest books, pieces of furniture, cardboard and plywood boxes, and fabric too.
If you bring any of the above items from a termite-infested home to your home, and if these items have termites, then you’ve put your home at risk.
Subterranean termites from these items will quickly spread to your floor, furniture, window sills, and structural wood.
How Drywood Termites Spread From House To House?
Now we’re talking about a termite more dangerous than subterranean termites. It’s the drywood termites.
Drywood termites are unhinged ravagers.
Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites don’t discriminate the type of wood they would destroy.
Subterranean termites can only harm softwood, whereas drywood termites can harm both softwood and hardwood.
But what makes them more dangerous is the way drywood termites invade your home.
Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites fly into your home in swarms.
These swarms are known as alates.
Alates are winged drywood termites.
Before entering the reproductive stage of their lifecycle, young drywood termites develop wings.
These winged drywood termites leave their current colonies to lookout for a new place to infest or build a new colony.
They enter your home through open windows and doors.
Once they’re inside your home, they shed their wings, mate, and drill into whatever pieces of wood they can find to build a whole new colony.
If your neighbor has drywood termites for long, then it’s a sure thing that alates will leave your neighbor’s home and infest yours and other’s homes nearby.
In fact, alates can fly into any home that is within their flying range.
There are two prominent signs of drywood termite infestation.
The first sign is termite wings on the floor.
Drywood termites will shed their wings before mating and before they bore into a wooden piece.
Second, dead drywood termites.
Many drywood termites that can’t mate, die.
So, if you find dead winged termites on your floor, then it’s a sure sign that there are enough of them in your home to bring your home down.
There’s one reason that makes drywood termites more dangerous than subterranean termites.
Drywood termites can directly attack the joists and structural wood of your home.
Ignore them for long, and they can make your home dangerous to live in.
How To Stop Termites From Invading Your Home From Your Neighbor’s Home?
If your neighbor’s home has termites, don’t panic.
Here are the nine steps that you must take right away to stop termites from your neighbor’s house.
Step#1 – Clean Your Yard
Clean your yard of rotting pieces of wood, foliage, and remove dampness in your yard by filling up waterholes and fixing water leakages.
All these things attract subterranean termites.
Removing them is the first step to stop termites from your neighbor’s home.
Step#2 – Sprinkle Boric Acid Mixed With Hot Water In Your Yard To Kill Termites
Boric acid kills termites.
The best way to use boric acid is by mixing it with hot water and spraying it in your yard.
It will kill any subterranean termites that have moved into your yard.
To know more about it, check our post on how to make a boric acid recipe for killing termites.
Alternatively, you can use also sprinkle diatomaceous earth in your yard.
Diatomaceous earth kills not only termites but also many other bugs like roaches.
Another option is nematodes.
Nematodes are tiny roundworms that get inside the termites’ bodies and kills them.
You can scatter nematodes across your yard to kill any potential termites waiting to invade your home.
Step#3 – Replace The Mulch In Your Yard With Hardwood Mulch
Softwood mulches attract termites.
Softwood mulches and softwood have high levels of cellulose and moisture that subterranean termites need to survive.
Replace the mulch in your yard with hardwood mulch.
If there are termites in the mulch, you can use either boric acid with hot water or nematodes to kill them.
Hardwood mulch repels termites. We’ve got an entire post dedicated to this.
Check out our post on the best mulch to avoid termites to know more.
Step#4 – Keep Firewood Away From Your Home’s Walls
Both subterranean and drywood termites love firewood.
If you’ve firewood in your yard, and the piles are sticking with your home’s walls or even near the walls, remove them.
It’s because if they’re close to your walls, then the termites can easily use the firewood to get inside your home.
It’d be best if you keep the firewood on a concrete foundation.
That’ll keep preventing the subterranean termites from attack the firewood pile from the ground.
And don’t forget to get rid of rotting pieces of firewood.
Step#6 – Seal Cracks And Gaps On Your Walls
Termites use the cracks and gaps in the walls, doors, and windows to get inside your home.
Seal those cracks with a suitable quality sealant.
Check for cracks around your home’s foundation near the ground.
Those cracks can be the primary entry points for termites. If you find any, seal them.
Step#7 – Use Termite Granules Around Your Home And Fences
Termite granules are great subterranean termite killers.
And they kill the termites hidden underground, waiting to invade your home.
Scatter the termite granules around your home’s foundation.
Also, scatter the termite granules at the base of the fences if you share them with your neighbor.
After scattering, sprinkle water on the granules.
After watering, the termite granules will sink into the ground and will kill any termites hidden underneath.
To know more, check out our post on how termite granules work.
Step#8 – Use Window Shields With Small Mesh To Stop Alates From Entering Your Home
Guard your home against winged drywood termites or alates by using window shields or bug shields.
Winged drywood termites are attracted to artificial light.
So, they’re more likely to invade your home after sunset.
It’d be best if you could use a window shield with a smaller mesh. It’d prevent all the alates from entering your home.
But, most importantly, don’t forget to use window shields on your bathroom and basement windows as well.
Step#9 – Remove Moisture And Dampness From Your Home And Yard
High levels of moisture attract termites.
Leaking pipes in your home and yard and around your home’s foundation make the walls of your home damp.
The dampness will certainly attract termites and many other bugs.
So, fix any leakages in your bathroom, kitchen, basement, and your garden or yard.
If there’s any water logging around your home’s foundation, fill it up with mud and sand.
Dampness in the home’s foundation makes the floor moist.
You certainly don’t want a damp floor if you want to keep termites away.
To up your game a bit, use a dehumidifier in your home.
A dehumidifier is a great tool to reduce your home’s moisture levels, especially when you live in a humid and tropical town.
It’ll not only make your home unattractive to termites but also to many other bugs that love moisture.
Step#10 – Hire A Professional Termite Controller To Do A Termite Inspection For Your Home
Let’s face reality. All the above steps will be useless if termites have already made their way inside your home.
To be on the safer side, hire a termite controller to inspect your home for termites thoroughly.
It won’t cost you much.
It’d be wise to bear a small cost of inspection now than treating your entire home for termites at a steep price.
On top of it, there would be home repairing costs to rectify the damages caused by termites.
You certainly wouldn’t want that.
So, hire a termite controller asap for a termite inspection if your neighbor’s home has a termite infestation.
It’s because, as you know by now, termites can spread from house to house.
Can You Sue Your Neighbor For Termites?
We’re not legal advisors but here’s what we know based on our experience.
It’d be tough for you to prove that your neighbors are the real cause of termite infestation in your home in the court of law.
In this case, there’s an element of causation.
It means that when your neighbor got termites, his or her carelessness was the real cause of termite infestation in your home, which caused damage to your property.
Termites in your home are not your neighbor’s liability.
And it’s quite impossible to track the movement of termites from your neighbor’s home to your home.
If your neighbor has termites, the most practical way would be to discuss it with your neighbor.
Explain that your home is at risk well, and solve before filing a lawsuit.
Please do take legal advice if you’re thinking of going down the lawsuit route.
You can get termites from a neighbor if your neighbor has termite infestation.
If gone unchecked, then termites can spread from house to house.
In this post, you learned how termites could move into your home from your neighbor’s house and through what means.
Most importantly, you’ve now a 10-step plan to prevent termites from invading your home if your neighbor has termites.
It’d be best if you follow the steps in order.
It’ll prevent not only a massive termite infestation but also costly property damage.
And most importantly, do not forget to hire a termite controller for a termite inspection of your home.
We’re Mark and Jim, and we’re retired pest controllers who made homes pest-free for more than three decades. We, along with our team of experts, founded this site to give you the pest control hacks that work.