A home is one of the biggest investments you can make in your adult life. As such, it’s something that you want to take care of as well as possible. An invasive colony of pests, termites, can ruin your house from the inside out if you don’t learn how to prevent them from taking an interest in it. While difficult to get rid of once they appear, keeping termites away from your home is as simple as understanding how they come to settle there. For the most part, their entrance is helped by a combination of three things: excess moisture, contact with outside wood, and a lack of upkeep around the house.
Moisture Termites thrive in moist environments. Damp soil and softened wood are easier for them to consume and lay their eggs in. Tropical, humid climates are where they prefer to be, but they can show up anywhere that isn’t too dry. Homes near water sources are especially vulnerable. Your foundation and any crawl spaces under your house should have proper ventilation to ensure termites don’t decide to settle in.
If there are trees around, their falling leaves covering the ground will give termites shelter and space to live. Mulch that you spread around the garden yourself can have the same effect if care isn’t taken to keep it properly drained. The roof can also be an entry point for the pests if rainwater is allowed to collect and soak in without adequate drainage runoff. Leaky plumbing should be investigated and fixed as soon as possible to prevent infestation.
Contact with wood outside
The most common way termites enter a house is by contact with wood outside of the building. Many houses have wooden porches or decks that come into direct contact with the soil. This provides an easy entry point for subterranean termites looking for a larger food source. Any wood stored outside and against the wall of a house will also give termites an entry point. If you’re working on a project or keeping firewood handy, store it inside or above ground.
Tall trees with branches that grow over and on top of the roof can also allow termites to enter the house. Old tree stumps on the property should be cleared away as well, even if they aren’t directly touching the building. The longer the wood stays on your property, the more likely it is that termites will make it their nest and then branch out each hatching season until they find your home. Over time, the wood can also begin to grow certain types of fungus that carry termite attractants in their fibers.
Inadequate home maintenance
Even though moisture and nearby wood are gateways for termites to enter the house, both of these factors can be accounted for by regularly cleaning up and taking care of your home. Still, there are other things to look out for when considering how you might be invaded. Uncovered vents on the outside of the building offer an easy gateway for bugs to crawl into. Clogged gutters also let termites gather and dig their way inside. Unraked leaves, a buildup of excess junk in the backyard, and general neglect of areas that you don’t normally go to are open invitations for termites looking to make your home theirs.
While most termite attractants are easy to prevent, there are some things that you can’t control. If you live in a humid area, you won’t be able to do much about the weather.
Additionally, termites will mate, grow, and spread out no matter what, and sometimes the only reason they’ll stop at your place is that it provides a better supply of food than your neighbor’s. This is why it’s important to learn how to tell if you already have a pest problem. Cracked or bubbling paint, hollow sounding wood, small mud tubes, or temporary swarms of flying insects in or around your home are all signs that termites are already living with you.
Whether or not you think you have termites hanging around, you should hire a trained professional to inspect your house at least once a year. They can show you where you need to be more careful and help point out the signs of any pests.
If you do discover the bugs, a call to Big Time Pest Control would be much better than trying to get rid of them yourself. They can use termite attractants to draw out the bugs and wipe them out. When they’re done, they can also get you set up to prevent any further infestations and protect your home.