What Causes Termites? Find Out How To Keep Termites Away
August 5, 2022
Preferred Pest Control’s technicians are your Des Moines termite control experts. Our team has helped many homeowners in the Des Moines area get rid of termites and keep them away. Termites are active across the state of Iowa and many homes provide ideal conditions for colonies to form and thrive. To make matters worse, these silent intruders can go unnoticed for quite some time because their damage is typically done behind walls.
Our technicians found an example of a hidden termite infestation in a Norwalk home that experienced a pipe leak. The added moisture created the perfect environment for these pesky insects, and when the drywall was pulled away to repair the damage, it revealed a live termite colony causing destruction to the studs and beams. Luckily, our technicians took care of this termite infestation before the problem resulted in any major structural damage.
Still, we want to ensure this never happens to you, so our termite experts took the time to share their insights. We hope to provide homeowners with knowledge and the ability to not only identify colonies but keep termites away. First, we must understand what types of termites live in Iowa and how they behave.
What causes termites?
All homes can, unfortunately, provide a comfortable home for termites, however, conditions such as heat, moisture, shelter and food create the ideal habitat for termite colonies. Here is why:
- Wood: Termites feed on a material called cellulose, which is found in trees, leaves and cotton. But their favorite source of cellulose is wood. Around the home everything is built with wood, from our foundation to our furniture, creating a feast for this hungry insect. Dead trees, old stumps and other decaying wood become a magnet to them and could attract termites to your home.
- Soil: Most termites in America are subterranean, which means they need to be in contact with moisture in order to survive. This moisture can be found in abundance underground where there is soil. Termites use the soil to form their mud tubes called shelter tubes. Shelter tubes allow termites to travel to the cellulose they feed on without being exposed to the elements.
- Water: Just like humans, termites cannot survive without certain staples, like water. Any source of moisture will do for a termite, from rain puddles, to a moisture-locked basement, roof leaks or a leaky or broken pipe.
- Humidity: Warm, humid environments create the perfect living conditions for termites to start a colony. Unventilated areas, such as crawl spaces and damp basements are an invitation for hungry termites.
How to Keep Termites Away
Termites are naturally drawn to damp spaces and wood around the home because they need water to survive and wood for cellulose. You can do yourself a huge favor by having professionals perform proactive termite treatment or following preventive tips for termites before they invade! Here are eight tips for effective termite prevention in your home:
- Keep cut wood off your property by storing firewood off the ground and at least 20 feet away from barns, garages, sheds or your home. You can further prevent termite attraction by covering wood with a tarp to keep it dry.
- Do not apply mulch directly by the foundation wall of your home, keep it at least six inches away from your home. When mulching, do not layer it more than four inches deep to keep excess moisture to a minimum.
- Ventilate your crawl spaces to decrease humidity.
- Adjust your lawn sprinklers to avoid water puddles in the soil near your home’s foundation.
- Use plastic bins to store linens, pillows, clothes and other household items around your house. Do NOT use cardboard boxes, wood, paper or plastic bags. (Bonus: This will help you declutter and will prevent other pests such as moths and roaches from invading!)
- Don't let a leak go untouched. Fix broken water pipes, leaky roofs and clean up standing water immediately.
- Clean your gutters and exterior drains regularly to keep them free from leaves and debris that can cause excess moisture.
- When moving, have your local pest management professional inspect your new home for any termite activity. Doing so can save you money from costly termite damage in the future.
Get Termite Treatment in Des Moines From Preferred Pest Control
Don't share your home with termites! With proper inspection and prevention methods, you can prevent a battle with this destructive household pest. Whether you have a termite problem right now or want to prevent one from ever happening, the Sentricon termite bait system helps you take and keep control of your home. We are a Certified Sentricon Specialist in the Des Moines area.
Even though there are steps homeowners can take to fend off termites, professional termite control in Des Moines will provide the best residential termite protection for your home. Schedule an appointment with our team or give us a call at (515) 276-7277.