If there’s any bug that can cause damages worth thousands of dollars to your home, it’s the termites. Termite infestation can bring your home down if you don’t get rid of them at the right time.
But what causes termites to invade your house? Where do they come from? What attracts termites to your home?
If you know the answers to these questions, then you can nip the termite problem at its bud before it takes a monstrous shape.
This guide will reveal the answers to all these questions. Plus, you’ll also find out an 11-step guide to stop termites from entering your home.
And a lot more!
Keep reading; this guide will save you money!
What Cause Termites To Invade Your Home And Property?
What causes termites to invade your home are the things that attract termites.
In this section, you’ll find out the top six things that attract termites. These things must be there right now in your home and yard.
Let’s check them out.
#1 – Firewood Piles Attract Termites
There’s no delicious thing for termites to munch upon than firewood piles.
Firewoods have a large amount of cellulose in them that termites need to survive.
On top of that, firewood is a softwood that has a lot of moisture. Moisture, and cellulose, are two critical elements that termites need to be alive.
And that’s not all. Firewood is also a great place for them to build their colonies or nest.
Firewood piles kept on the soil without adequate protection from rain are a perfect place for termites to nest and eat.
So, if you’ve got a firewood pile in your yard, you need to know how to store firewood so that termites don’t damage it.
And it’s not just termites that can take refuge in firewood. Bugs like roaches, ants, and even kissing bugs can hide in the firewood pile.
#2 – Tree Stumps In Your Yard Attract Termites
Another crucial yet often-ignored thing that attracts termites is old and dead tree stumps.
Believe it or not, tree stumps are an easy target for termites, especially for subterranean termites.
Tree stumps are rooted to the ground.
Tree stumps have got enough moisture in them because of rains or overwatering the yard.
Both of these factors make it easy for termites to attack the tree stumps from underground. And subterranean termites do attack from underneath the soil.
It’s not just tree stumps that termites can invade, but also the trees that are alive too!
#3 – Mulch Attract Termites
Mulch bed, if you’ve chosen the wrong mulch, can be a haven for termites and all types of bugs.
Mulches made of softwood are at the top of the soil’s layer. That makes the mulch bed easily accessible to subterranean termites.
Choosing the right mulch is critical in keeping termites away.
The trick also lies in keeping the mulch in the right way. You’ll find it out later in the post, but for now, let’s look at another thing that indirectly attracts termites.
#4 – High Moisture And Dampness In Your Home And Yard Attract Termites
Nobody talks about this critical thing that causes termites to invade your house.
Termites cannot survive without moisture. Give them a hardwood that has no dampness, and they won’t be able to chew it.
If your home or yard has water leakage that keeps your home’s foundation, walls, and yard ground wet, termites will indeed attack your home.
Moisture, along with other things, aggravates the termite problem. And termites in yard are just a few days away from invading your home.
#5 – Termites In The Neighborhood Will Cause Termites In Your Home
When dealing with invasive pests like termites, roaches, and bed bugs, you can’t ignore the role your neighborhood plays.
It’s because these invasive pests in the neighborhood will surely engulf pest-free homes nearby.
Termites, when they’re left untreated, can multiply and spread very fast. Termites will look for new food sources that will make them gorge entire neighborhoods.
Some termites, like the Formosan termite, a type of destructive subterranean termite, have more capacity for destruction, and they breed fast as well.
Their ability to travel underground and swarm (drywood termites) makes them quickly cover one home after another.
So, your neighbor’s termite-infested home can cause a massive termite invasion on your home.
#6 – Tree Branches Touching The Roof Of Your Home Can Cause Termites To Invade Your House
Termites can not only fly in or invade your home from underground, but they can also invade your home from the top.
It’s pretty common.
Termites can live in trees, especially on the trees that attract termites.
Termites will use the branches of the trees to invade your home through the roof and gutters.
That’s why many homeowners see termites infestation on the roofs and ceilings and in their walls.
But how do termites invade home? Where do termites come from?
The following section reveals it all.
How Termites Invade Your Home?
Now that you know what causes or attracts termites to your home let’s find out how termites invade your home.
In this section, you’ll find out two ways that termites use to invade homes.
You’ll also find out the ways the type of termites that use each of these two ways.
Termites invade homes in two ways – from underground, or they fly inside your homes in swarms.
Subterranean Termites – The Termites That Attack Homes From Underground
Subterranean termites, and their destructive cousin Formosan termites, are two types of termites that attack homes from underground.
These termites will create mud tubes that will rise from the soil’s surface on the walls.
These mud tubes are made out of the termite’s frass, or feces, and their feces.
As we mentioned earlier, termites will also move into your home from your roof.
Firewood piles kept close to the home’s exterior walls and mulch placed close to the home’s foundation hastens the termite invasion to your home.
It’s because termites can quickly move into your home from these materials to your home.
There’s also another way that termites invade homes, and that’s in swarms.
What Causes Termites To Swarm?
Termites swarm when they leave their current colonies and look for a new home or structure to establish a new colony. These termites with wings are known as alates, which are reproductive termites.
Sexually matured termites develop wings, and given the lack of space in their current colonies, they fly out of there to search for a new place.
When the winged termites or the alates find a new colony, they’ll mate, lose their wings, and drill inside the wooden beams and structure of a home.
All types of termites, including subterranean and formosan termites can invade homes in swarms.
But there’s one type of termite that invades homes and structures only in swarms.
And that termite is the drywood termite.
Drywood termites have more destructive power because they can damage all types of wood, including hardwood, which subterranean termites can’t.
But given that drywood termites are always in lesser numbers than the subterranean termites, their damage intensity is relatively low.
But don’t let it blind you from the fact that drywood termites can cause lesser damage.
Drywood termites damage the most hard-to-reach areas of your home, including the structural beams, joists, and roofs, and they can be hard to detect.
By the time you realize that there are drywood termites in your home, it may be too late because they might have already caused heavy damage.
On top of that, drywood termites are the hardest to eliminate. Fumigation is the only viable option to get rid of drywood termites.
Winged ants, also known as alates, are close look-alikes of the winged termites. Electrical light bulbs attract both the flying ants and flying termites.
Many flying bugs look like flying termites can also invade your home.
5 Crucial Signs Of Termite Infestation
Well, how would you know that there are termites in your home?
You’d need to look out for the signs of termite infestation.
Some of the signs are evident during the early stages of infestation. But some may take months to show up.
Below are the five signs of termite infestation.
Mud Tubes On Walls
Mud tubes on the walls are a clear sign of termite presence in your home.
These mud tubes can be even on floors, furniture, and ceilings too.
These mud tubes can also lead to the book shelves because termites eat books too.
Why? Because paper has cellulose which termites eat.
Termite frass is termite feces or termite droppings. These are brownish pellets that you’ll find under wooden structures.
The frass will have tiny black pepper grains-like particles on it. And they won’t look like fine sawdust.
If they look like sawdust, there can be a wood-boring beetle inside your home, the powder post beetle.
Termite frass is the sign of drywood termite infestation. Drywood termites will discard their feces through the tiny exit holes that they create on the wood.
Unlike the subterranean termites, drywood termites don’t use their feces to build mud tubes.
Broken Termite Wings And Dead Winged Termites
Not all winged termites are successful in mating. Many of them die.
Also, the successful ones lose their wings before they drill inside the wooden structures.
That’s the reason that you’ll notice termite wings and dead winged termites on places like window sills and floors.
It’s a clear sign that termites have just invaded your home or there are termites in your home.
Tiny Holes On Wooden Structures
Tiny holes in wooden structures are quite hard to find out.
They can be hard to detect. These tiny holes are the entry and exit points of drywood termites.
You’ll find these holes mainly in the higher areas of your home where drywood termites generally get into.
So, if you observe small holes on the beams and joists, shingles and eaves, and ceilings, then there’s a high chance there are termites inside these places.
Termites can infest your home’s walls too. And when they do, the walls tend to look like that it has a water leakage.
Termites in walls start to look damp with the paints peeling off the wall’s surface.
Subterranean termites infest the walls. But they don’t eat the walls from inside like they would do a piece of wood.
They’ll drill the wall to commute to their food source. Add visible mud tubes on the walls, and there you’ve it, thousands of termites in the walls.
11-Step Guide To Prevent Termites From Invading Your Home?
Now that you know what attracts termites and what causes termites to invade your homes, it’s time to find out how to stop them.
In this section, you’ll find out 10 easy steps that you can take right now to stop the menace from entering your home.
Here’s the 11-step guide to stop termite invasion.
Step#1 – Fix Leakages In Your Home And Yard To Reduce Moisture
Moisture attracts termites.
Overwatering your yard will make both the soil in your yard and the pieces of wood damp.
That’s something you don’t want. So, ensure that you don’t overwater your yard or garden.
Water leakages also increase the dampness in your home and yard.
Leaking pipes cause waterlogging around your home.
That increases the moisture content not only in your yard but also around the home’s foundation. The increase in dampness leads to softening of the walls.
It makes it easy for the termites to build mud tubes on the walls and get inside your home.
Make sure that there are no waterlogging or leakages around your home’s foundation.
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.
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.
Step#2 – Clean Your Yard Or Garden
Get rid of any rotting pieces of wood, foliage, 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.
If there’s any, fill the waterholes with piles of sand. Sand will soak excessive moisture and help in reducing the dampness.
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.
To know more, check our post on how to store firewood to keep termites away.
Step#4 – Use Hardwood Mulch To Avoid Termites Entering Your Home
There are many hardwood mulches that are termite repellents.
Most of the softwood mulches attract termites, so avoid using them.
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.
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.
If there are tree stumps in the yard, get rid of them too. You don’t termites nesting and breeding in dead tree stumps.
It’ll discourage the termites from getting into your home through the gutters.
Step#6 – Clean The Gutters
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.
As bathroom and kitchen are the most damp places in your home, don’t forget to use a window screen on the windows of these areas too.
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 and 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.
Silicon-based sealants are the best and they can easily last for a decade.
And the best part is, these sealants are so strong that bugs can’t chew through them.
Step# 11 – Use Termite Granules Around Your Home’s Perimeter
The most overlooked way to stop termites from invading your home is the termite granules.
They’re so easy to use and so effective that they help in reducing the chances of termite infestation significantly.
All you’ve to do is scatter termite granules on the soil around your home’s perimeter, especially near the home’s foundation.
The sprinkle some water on the granules. That’s it.
The granules will sink into the soil. It has termite killing ingredients that will kill any termites hiding underneath the soil’s layer.
And the best part, that these granules last at least for six months. So, you’ll have to use it once every six months to secure your home from an underground termite invasion.
To know more, read our post on how termite granules work.
This guide revealed what causes termites in your home. To summarize, here are the things that attracts termites –
- Firewood piles
- Tree stumps
- Mulch bed
- High moisture in your yard and home’s foundation
- Tree branches touching the roof
- Termite infestation in your neighborhood
In this guide you’ve also found out the signs of termite infestation. And there’s also a 11-step guide to ensure that your home doesn’t attract termites.
Dr. Thomas Orbert, the Microbial Maestro, dances with the tiniest of creatures as an entomologist extraordinaire! With a PhD in entomology, his passion lies in unraveling the secret symphonies of insect-microbe interactions. From minuscule marvels to captivating complexities, Dr. Orbert unveils the hidden world of bugs, igniting curiosity one buzz at a time!