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What Is the Main Cause of Termites in Your Home?


Studies estimate that termites cause over $5 billion in property damage each year in the United States. This large amount indicates the extent of the termite problem across the country. Termites pose a major threat to homeowners due to their ability to secretly infest and damage homes.

Florida’s warm and humid climate makes it especially ideal for termite infestations. Homeowners must be vigilant and take measures to prevent termites from invading their property. The first step towards that is understanding the main cause of termites.

Keep reading to learn more.

Moisture: The Leading Cause of Termites

Excess moisture is by far the number one cause of termites. These pests have soft, delicate bodies that dry out easily. They need a constant source of moisture and, as such, are attracted to areas that retain dampness.

These include leaky roofs and pipes that lead to water intrusion and wood rot. Cracked foundations and poor drainage conditions that create puddles near the home are also prime areas for termites. They are often found infesting damp and rotting wood materials such as mulch, timbers, or any water-damaged boards.

Preventing moisture issues is crucial for controlling termites. Proper sealing and prompt repairs of any water intrusion areas or leaks are vital to effective local pest management. Ensure adequate drainage from the foundation to eliminate standing puddles.

You’ll want to keep the gutters clean to prevent overflow issues. Any wood material near the soil should have at least 6 inches of clearance and metal flashing as barriers. Painting and sealing exposed wood also keeps out moisture.

Other Causes of Termites in Your Home

While moisture is the primary factor, some other elements can also contribute to termite infestations in your home. Being aware of these secondary causes is also important for prevention.

Cracks and Crevices

Small cracks and openings in a home’s outside walls are a big reason termites get in. These cracks give termites a way to enter from their tunnels underground. They can fit through very tiny spaces, as small as 1/64th of an inch. Any crack they find is an open invitation inside.

Once termites are in the walls and materials, they can spread and cause major damage. No one sees them because they are hidden inside. Sealing up any overlooked cracks keeps termites from getting in the first place.

Use caulk, spray foam, metal screens, or flashing to seal up any gaps or holes in the foundation, windows, doors, vents, or pipes. Make it a habit to regularly check for and seal any cracks. This will help protect your home from termites.

Wood Debris

Old tree stumps, wood scraps, and mulch too close to your home give termites food and places to hide. Having wood touching the house makes it easy for termites to get in. The wood acts like a bridge from the ground into your house.

Many types of termites love eating on old wood pieces. Mulch beds right next to foundation walls make great hiding spots too. Keep all wood debris at least 3 feet away from your home’s exterior.

Get rid of any stumps, firewood stacks, timber, or landscaping wood touching your home. Eliminating their food sources and hiding spots nearby helps keep termites away.

Tree Roots

Trees and shrubs growing right next to your home’s foundation can be a problem. Their roots give termites moisture, creating the perfect conditions for them to thrive. The roots also provide easy access from the soil to wood materials.

Pruning the roots can help reduce their spread and contact near wood materials. Removing mulch near trees also protects your foundation by eliminating moisture. Keeping trees and shrubs from touching your home’s exterior limits root contact.

This separation cuts off termites’ ability to follow the roots directly to the home’s wood. Proper planting distance and vigilant root pruning deter termites so they can’t use roots as a pathway inside.

Poor Ventilation

Poor ventilation allows humid conditions that attract termites. Stuffy attics, basements, and crawlspaces create an appealing environment for them. The lack of airflow lets moisture accumulate.

This warm, moist air is very attractive to termites looking for places to nest and breed. Poor circulation provides ideal habitat conditions for infestation. Attics with no vents or blocked vents enable this.

Adding more vents, ventilation fans, and dehumidifiers helps reduce moisture. Make sure existing vents are cleared of any blockages inhibiting airflow. Installing ceiling fans improves circulation as well.

Good airflow makes these spaces dry and inconducive to termites. Proper ventilation deters them by removing the humid conditions they need to thrive. Don’t let poor air circulation create a moist habitat for termites.

Common Entry Points for Termites

In addition to conditions like moisture and damage that attract termites, they also exploit small physical gaps and spaces to enter homes. Termites in your home can squeeze through remarkably tiny openings and any overlooked cracks become prime entryways. Below are the most common entry points for these pests:

  • Foundation and Basement Walls: Gaps where concrete foundation walls meet and wood framing are vulnerable spots if not properly caulked and sealed
  • Windows and Doors: Window frames and door jambs often have hidden cracks that give termites access from the exterior into wall voids
  • Utility Lines and Pipes: Any pipes, wires, or conduits that penetrate through the exterior walls also provide openings for termites if not well sealed with foam or caulk
  • Attic and Crawl Space Vents: Screened vents in the attic and crawl spaces are hotspots for termite entry if torn or not tightly fitted
  • Siding and Trim Joints: Any separation between siding, trim, and the underlying sheathing creates gaps for termites to squeeze through
  • Porches and Stairs: Transitional areas are prone to unsealed cracks that termites can penetrate

This is not an exhaustive list. Ensure you seal all potential crevices in your home.

Get Rid of Termites With Expert Pest Control Services

Knowledge is your greatest ally in the battle against termites. Understanding the cause of termites is the first step toward protecting your Florida home from infestation. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have professionals by your side.

Our expert pest control services are here to protect your investment. Don’t wait until it’s too late – let our pest control team fortify your home against termites and other pests. 

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