Heat, Moisture and Wood: Perfect for Termites
June 26, 2014
Every year almost four million U.S. homes in 49 states are infested by termites. Although thousands of termites are secretly hiding within the walls of homes, we still continue to construct buildings with their favorite food - wood. When you add conditions such as moisture and humidity that attics and basements provide, you have just sent out an invitation for a termite invasion.
While all homes can unfortunately provide a living space for termites, certain conditions such as heat, moisture, shelter and food create the ideal habitat. In just a short matter of time, this little bug will cause a BIG problem. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, homeowners spend $5 billion a year on treatments and fixing property damage caused by termites.
Conditions that Termites Love
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 attract termites to your home.
Soil: Most termites in America are subterranean, which means they build their colonies in the ground. They use soil to form mud tubes to lead them from their underground habitat to above ground food sources, like the decaying exterior wall of your home that's several feet above ground.
Water: Just like humans, termites cannot survive without certain staples, such as water. Any source of moisture will do for a termite, from rain puddles, to a moisture-locked basement, to a leaky or broken pipe.
Humidity: Warm, humid air creates the perfect living condition for termites to start a colony. And unventilated areas, such as crawl spaces and attics, especially during summer months, are an invitation for hungry termites.
Tips on Keeping Your Home Termite Free
Termites are naturally drawn to damp wood around the home because they need water to survive and wood for cellulose. You can do yourself a huge favor by treating for termites before they invade! Here are eight tips to prevent termite infestation:
- 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 mulch directly by the foundation wall of your home. When mulching, do not layer more than four inches and keep it at least six inches away from your home.
- Ventilate your crawl spaces and attics to decrease humidity.
- Adjust your lawn sprinklers to avoid water puddles in the soil near your home 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 tip: This will help you de-clutter and will prevent other pests such as moths and roaches from invading!)
- Don't let a leak go unnoticed. Fix broken water pipes and clean up standing water immediately.
- Clean your gutters and drains regularly to keep it free from leaves and debris.
- When moving, have your local pest management professional inspect your new home for any termite damage.
Don't share your home with termites. With proper inspection and prevention methods, you can prevent a battle with this number one household pest. To learn more about termite prevention or infestation treatment methods, contact your pest management professionals at Preferred Pest today at 515-276-7277 or schedule a free consultation appointment.