What Causes Termites To Invade Your House

And A 10-Step Guide To Prevent Termites From Invading Your Home

This is a detailed revelation on the causes of termite invasion in your home. 

In this post, you’ll get to know what causes termites to invade your house.

You’ll also get a step-by-step action plan to keep termites away from your home.

And the exciting part? You won’t have to shell a fortune to do that.

Without further ado, let’s jump in!

What Causes Termites To Invade Your House

What Causes Termites To Invade Your House

Your home or property is at the risk of invasion from three types of termites – Subterranean Termites, Drywood Termites, and Dampwood Termites. 

Dampwood termites will limit themselves to your yard or garden, where they’re more likely to find rotting or wet wood. 

We’ll get back to dampwood termites later. 

For now, let’s focus on the two most destructive termites – the subterranean termites and drywood termites.

Both the termites have their distinctive ways of invading your house. 

Let’s find out how. 

What Causes Subterranean Termites To Invade Your Home

As the name implies, subterranean termites live underground. 

It’s from below the ground they attack your home.

But what attracts subterranean termites in your home in the first place?

There are three causes of termite invasion in your home.

  • A wet yard or garden full of foliage and pieces of firewood
  • Leaking pipes
  • Waterlogging around your home’s foundation.

Let’s look at each of them in detail.

Wet Yard Or Garden 

Subterranean termites need two things to survive, moisture and cellulose. And their sole purpose is to breed and look for these two sources of survival. 

Do you have a yard or garden that’s wet, has foliage, and full of damp woods scattered around?

If yes, then that’s what the subterranean termites need. 

Termites from nearby will sniff it out and make a move to your yard. 

And did we forget to mention mulch?

Yes, mulch can also attract termites unless you’re using hardwood mulch. 

Hardwood mulch is the only mulch that repels termites. Softwood mulches are termite’s delicacy. 

Most softwood mulches have enough moisture and cellulose that termites need. 

The worst part is that when termites are inside your yard or garden, then it’s not a matter of why subterranean termites will invade your home. 

It’s a matter of when.

So, once they’re in your yard or garden, why subterranean termites invade your house?

The answer to this question lies in the following two reasons – leaking pipes inside your home and waterlogging around your home’s foundation.

Leaking Pipes And Waterlogging

Leaking Pipes

Termites are survivors and scavengers. They’re always on the lookout for new sources of nutrition. 

Once they’ve devoured all the firewood or rotting wood in your yard, they’d look for new sources of food. 

And the thing that attracts them the most is moisture, one of their essential survival sources.

So, if your home has high levels of moisture or humidity inside, then termites will indeed invade. 

What causes high moisture inside your home?

  • Leaking pipes.
  • Waterlogging around your home’s foundation.

Both leaking pipes and waterlogging make your home’s walls and foundation wet enough to attract termites. 

If you’ve got a basement, then chances are it’s moist too.

It’ll make subterranean termites infest your basement as well!

And once subterranean termites reach your basement, then it’s a real challenge to get rid of them. 

How Subterranean Termites Invade Your Home

Now that you know what causes termites to invade your house, it’s time to understand the how. 

Knowing how subterranean termites invade your home will help you remove those entry channels and make your home safe from termite invasion. 

So, here are the channels of termite entry.

Cracks On Your Home’s Walls And Foundation

Termites love cracks on walls. It saves a lot of their energy. 

Any crack on your home’s walls close to the home’s foundation is an opportunity for termites to sneak into your home. 

Termites will make mud tubes, a tunnel on a rigid structure which termites make out of the mud and their saliva, to travel through these cracks. 

Once they sneak inside your home from these cracks through the mud tubes, they will target your furniture, books, and even fabric. 

Clogged Gutters 

Clogged Gutter

No one thinks of gutters as one of the entry points for termites. Many homeowners ignore it only to discover termites in walls.

Gutters clogged with foliage, organic debris, rainwater, and twigs make it perfect for termites to take a detour before invading your home. 

The dampness in the clogged gutter will make the roof soft, resulting in it developing some cracks. 

Termites will exploit these cracks to invade your home through the roof. 

Now you must be wondering how come termites climbed up the roof.

Well, that brings us to the sneaky way termites use to enter your home.

Tree Branches Touching Your Home’s Roof

Subterranean termites are great climbers.

Though they won’t make a tree hollow from inside, they’re good enough to climb a tree searching for dead twigs and moisture. 

If you’re a big enough tree, then it’s likely that the branches would be touching your home’s roof or windows. 

The tree branches touching your home’s roof act as a bridge that termites will use to invade your home.

So, termites will travel from the ground to the trees.

From the trees to the gutters or onto the cracks on your home’s roof, then they’ll sneak into your living space. 

Mulches Kept Close To Your Home

best mulch to avoid termites

Mulches are essential for a garden or yard. It not only makes your garden beautiful but also protects the soil’s nutrients. 

But if you’re using mulch made of softwood, like firewood chips or pine wood chips, close to your home’s foundation, then termites will are a few days away from invading your home. 

Like the tree branches, termites will use the mulches as a bridge to get into your home.

So, savvy homeowners always keep mulches at least a foot away from the home’s foundation. 

And they use hardwood mulch to avoid termites in their yard or garden. 

Firewood Kept Too Close To Home Or Sticking With Home’s Walls

Firewood Pile

All three types of termites love firewood

Dampness in firewood caused by wet soil on which you keep them or because of rain makes it attractive for termites. 

And if you keep firewood piles close to your home’s foundation, or the pile is sticking with the wall, then termites will invade your house quickly. 

Through the firewood, they will get into the walls. And from the wall’s cracks, they’ll get inside your home. 

How Drywood Termites Invade Your Home

Drywood Termites

Now that you know why and how subterranean termites invade your home, it’s time to shift focus to drywood termites. 

Drywood termites are more lethal than subterranean termites. In fact, they’re the most damaging termite species. 

Why? There are two reasons for it. 

First, it doesn’t matter to them if the wood is softwood or hardwood. They’ll destroy both. 

There are some woods that termites don’t eat, but unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites don’t avoid hardwood.

Second, drywood termites invade your home via air. They fly in swarms and enter your home through open windows and doors. 

Most of the time, they don’t even need any gap to enter if they can access the structural lumber. 

And that’s what makes them so destructive. 

Drywood termites can make your entire home weak by eating away the structural lumber. 

And getting rid of them is hard. 

DIY ways can’t reach the deep corners where they’re hiding. To get rid of them, you might need a home-wide fumigation process.

Only a licensed and experienced termite exterminator can do it. 

We’ve got an entire post dedicated to how drywood termites invade your home

Can Dampwood Termites Invade Your Home?

Dampwood Termites in rotting wood

Now that you know how you get termites in your house and what causes termite invasion, we missed one type of termite. 

It’s the dampwood termite. 

Can dampwood termites invade your home?

Dampwood termites can invade your home if you’ve rotting pieces of furniture inside your home.

If you don’t, then they would limit themselves to your yard or garden, where they can find rotting pieces of wood.

Dampwood termites prefer high moisture levels, almost to the level of wetness, which your home can’t provide. 

Unlike the subterranean termites, dampwood termites don’t make mud tunnels to reach their food source.

Dampwood termites can only enter your home if the wood from the soil directly touches your home’s walls or if you’ve got a wooden house. 

But dampwood termites don’t live underneath the ground like the subterranean termites.

They build nests in wet rotten pieces of wood blocks or firewood. 

So, dampwood termites don’t pose a significant threat to your homes as the subterranean termites and drywood termites. 

And luckily, it’s easy to get rid of dampwood termites. 

How To Prevent Termites From Invading Your Home?

How To Prevent termites from invading your home

You know the causes, you know the channels termites use to invade your home, now it’s time to learn how to prevent termites from invading your home, step-by-step.

Here’s the 10-step guide.

Step#1 – Fix Leakages In Your Home To Reduce Moisture

Moisture attracts termites. 

And as you know by now that leaking pipes and waterlogging around your home increase the moisture content inside your home, so fix them.

Look for any leakages in the plumbing area of the kitchen, bathroom, basement, and sinks. 

That’s the place where most of the leakages happen. 

If you can’t do it yourself, then hire a plumber to do it. 

Make sure that there are no waterlogging or leakages around your home’s foundation. 

A wet foundation develops cracks quickly, which termites exploit to sneak inside your home. 

If there’s any water pipe around your home’s foundation, check for any water leakages, and if there’s any, fix it. 

Excess moisture attracts not only termites but also roaches and other insects. 

Step#2 – Clean Your Yard Or Garden

Get rid of any rotting pieces of wood and organic debris from your garden or yard. 

These are the things that attract termites. 

A clean yard or garden goes a long way to repel termites and many other pests. 

Also, make sure that there are no waterholes in your yard or garden. 

Waterholes increase the dampness of the soil, which attracts termites. 

Step#3 – Keep Firewood Away From Your Home’s Walls

Don’t keep firewood near the home’s walls, as the termites in the firewood can use the firewood to enter your home. 

Also, firewood has a lot of moisture. 

Keeping the firewood piles stuck with the wall will increase the wall’s dampness. 

The dampness, in turn, will attract the termites.

To protect your firewood from getting infested by termites through the ground, keep the pile on cemented foundation or an elevated surface. 

It’ll break the firewood pile’s contact with the ground, protect it from termite infestation. 

As you know by now, a pile of wet firewood is a termite’s delicacy. 

So, it’d be best if you keep the firewood pile under a shed or cover it to protect it from getting wet in the rain. 

Step#4 – Use Hardwood Mulch To Avoid Termites Entering Your Home

Hardwood mulches are termite repellents. 

Do not use softwood mulches. They attract termites. 

And don’t keep mulches close to your home. Termites can use it as a bridge to get inside your home. 

Maintain a distance of at least a foot distance between the mulch layer and your home’s foundation. It’ll make deter the termites from entering your home. 

We’ve got an entire post dedicated to how to use a mulch to avoid termites.

Step#5 – Cut The Tree Branches Touching Your Home

As you know by now, termites can use tree branches to enter your home. 

If any tree branches are touching your home’s roofs or windows, cut them off. 

Termites won’t be able them as a bridge to sneak inside your home. 

Also, make sure that the tree branches are at least 2 feet away from your home’s gutters.

It’ll discourage the termites from getting into your home through the gutters.

Step#6 – Clean The Gutters

Clean the gutter

A clogged gutter always has foliage and moisture that can attract termites. 

Unclog the gutters. Clean them often to ensure that termites don’t use them to enter your home. 

Step#7 – Use a Mixture Of Boric Acid And Hot Water To Kill Termites

Spray a mixture of boric acid and hot water on damp places and mulch to kill hidden termites in your yard or garden. 

Boric acid is harmless for the soil when used in the correct quantity. 

To know more about making one, check out our post on the boric acid termite killer recipe.

Alternatively, you can also sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth to kill termites.

Step#8 – Put Window Screens To Prevent Drywood Termite Swarms From Invading Your Home

Drywood termites invade homes by flying in swarms. 

They’re active all year round, but the busiest months for drywood termite swarms are April and May. 

Put a window screen on all the main windows in your home. 

Don’t forget to put a window screen in your bathroom and kitchen, as they’re damper than other places in your home.

Step#9 – Use Dehumidifier To Reduce Dampness In Your Home

It’s often ignored, but it’s an important step, especially if you live in states like Florida or Texas, where humidity is high. 

Dehumidifiers play a positive role in reducing the dampness of your home. 

Low dampness makes your home repellent to invasive pests, termites, roaches, bed bugs, and many other insects.

A dehumidifier in the attic, basement, laundry room, bathroom, and kitchen go a long way in keeping your home’s moisture levels down.

Step# 10 – Seal The Cracks And Fissures On Your Home’s Walls

Finally, the most crucial step to keep termites away from your home is to seal the cracks on your home’s walls, roof, and foundation. 

Termites exploit these gaps to enter your home. 

Keep an eye for any cracks on the home’s foundation touching the ground. 

Subterranean termites invade homes from underneath the ground. These cracks on the foundation are their prime channels to enter your home. 

Use a suitable quality sealant to caulk the gaps and make your home’s foundation impenetrable to termites and other bugs. 


In this post, you’ve got to know why your home attracts termites and how do they enter your home. In other words, what channels do they use?

Now that you know what causes termites to invade your home, it’s time for you to act. 

There’s a 10-step guide in this post that anyone can follow to prevent and kill termites. 

Implement those steps and make your home less attractive to termites.