Having a termite infestation is no laughing matter. These little creatures can do a lot of structural damage to your home, and quickly. If you have termites or want to prevent them, you might be wondering what the conducive conditions to termite infestations are.
The Natran team gets asked time and time again ‘what causes termites?’, so we’ve put together this guide to the common causes and attractants of termite infestations, including locations, moisture, darkness, and more.
It’s important to remember that you can’t always prevent termite treatments without professional help. For example, Houston has one of the highest instances of termites in the whole country, with around 16 – 20 colonies per acre. Austin’s stats aren’t much brighter either, with 12-15 colonies per acre.
With that in mind, if you live in Houston or Austin, Texas, getting a termite infestation is more of a ‘when’ than an ‘if’. The best treatment for termites is prevention, so we highly recommend having an always active system like Sentricon® installed to prevent and eliminate termites at your home before there’s any lasting damage.
A big factor in whether you’re likely to get termites is the climate where you live. Termites are found on every continent in the world except Antarctica, but they’re more prominent in places where there’s a warm climate.
Moisture & standing water
Moisture can come from leaky (or busted!) pipes, poor drainage, humidity and poor airflow. If your home has problems with any of these things, you could be more at risk of a termite infestation.
Standing water gives a termite colony a reliable source of water and helps to soften any nearby debris, such as leaves, making it easier for them to eat.
If any wood on your property has become water damaged, whether that’s from standing water, leaks, or even rain, that could be a recipe for a termite infestation, too. When wood becomes damaged by moisture, it softens, making it much easier for termites to feast.
While termite swarmers head for the light, termites prefer the darkness because it protects them from predators. Shelter such as wood piles, piles of leaves, sidewalk pavers, or large rocks give colonies the darkness they desire and are especially attractive for termites if they’re piled on top of soil.
Termites need food to survive, and they love to eat wood because of its cellulose content.
Wood that is in contact with soil is even more attractive to termites. A great example of this is if you have piles of firewood or raised flower beds in your yard. When the wood is touching soil, it gives termites shelter and moisture.
While termites love wood, it’s important to remember that they eat many other things, too. Termites can eat leaves, plants, paper, cardboard, and even items of clothing. Other sources of food for termites could be food that you’ve dropped or food from your pet’s bowl.
Organic materials against your home
If you have organic matter (bushes, leaves, wood mulch, turf) piling up against your home, you’re creating an excellent environment for a termite colony. They provide termites with shelter, food, and easy access to your property.
Try to keep organic materials such as wood piles as far away from your home as possible. Keep at least a 6-inch gap between your home and plants such as bushes and trees, and make sure to keep mulch and soil levels several inches below the foundation line.
Natran is a green pest control company in Houston and Austin, Texas. We use effective, green methods to keep your home free from pests all year round. Find out more about our services here. For more information, tips, and advice about pests, read our blog.