Through their soil creation and breakdown of decaying matter, termites play an essential role in ecosystem function. However, these insects can be incredibly detrimental to buildings, as well as the well-being and stress levels of the property owners and inhabitants. Unfortunately, what attracts termites in nature can also be found in homes and other structures, so understanding what features and environments are attractive to these pests makes it easier to deter them.
What Attracts Termites?
There are three major categories of termites: dampwood, subterranean, and drywood. Although they share similarities in appearance, behavior, and damage potential, there are subtle distinctions in what features are most attractive to each type. For example, although all termites are attracted to woody material in some form, subterranean termites are more attracted to decaying wood near or immersed in the soil, than drywood or dampwood termites. Dampwood termites do not require soil contact and are attracted to material with ongoing moisture content, like beams compromised by plumbing leaks, whereas drywood termites require less moisture and may be more likely to reside in attics, untreated wood or plastic, or warmer locations. The list below highlights attractive and potentially problematic features of the building itself and around it:
- Rotting or decaying wood or other plant-based materials, as well as plastic
- Airflow or drainage issues
- Wood piles and mulch close to the building’s foundation, as well as clogged gutters
- Tree proximity to home, especially dead trees
- Untreated wood
- Cracks in foundation or other entry points, like unsealed holes or aged caulking
- Location (ex. southern climates are more attractive to drywood termites) and weather conditions (ex. rainy environments, like those found in the Pacific Northwest, interest dampwood termites)
What are the Consequences of Attracting Termites?
Termites compromise the health and safety of your property and those who reside or work there. The indicators below are not only signs of termite infestation but also examples of long-term termite damage. Although this list may seem both extensive and dire, contacting your pest control and extermination specialist as soon as you see even one of the following issues can save your structure and your sanity:
- Squeaky floorboards or noise in the walls
- Hollow sounding wood, unusual softness, or signs of wood consumption
- Buckling wood or laminate flooring
- Bubbling or discolored paint or wallpaper
- Stains on ceilings or pin-sized holes in wall
- Clumps of termite droppings on floor or attached to damaged wood
- Window or doors that are difficult to utilize or changed in appearance (swelling, cracked, tube or honeycomb-like design)
- Presence of mud tubes in your yard or patched into wood
- Water issues involving wood, plaster, or paper in home, like pooling, regular condensation, and leakage
- Termite swarmers, wings, or carcasses
- Tree damage, decay, and disease especially within close proximity of the main home or building
- Change in smell (increased scent of mold or mildew)
How Can I Prevent Attracting Termites?
Some of these services may seem like routine home care. However, extermination and pest control experts are more experienced in evaluating what features attract termites and other intruders. These services can help you maintain the structural and environmental health of your property by repelling termites and identify and remedy existing problems whether they are related to pest or wildlife damage or general maintenance issues, like rotting wood or water leaks.
- Attic Cleanout: This service is beneficial for uncovering roof leaks, window weakness, or plumbing problems, as well as any holes or other entry points that pests and wildlife may take to enter your home
- Exclusion Tactics: This service is beneficial for installing barriers to repel pests, including sealing cracks and other potential openings, putting guards around the foundation and roofing components to prevent pests and water issues, assessing for rotting or compromised wood, plant-materials, plastic or signs or damage, and executing prior pest clean up or offering insulation recommendations as needed
- Basement Cleanout: This service is beneficial for discovering new openings, identifying water leaks or damage, and recommending sanitizing, plumbing, or other structural needs
Here are some measures that you, the property owner, might take to reduce the likelihood of attracting termites:
- Use treated wood
- Avoid locating firewood or wood materials, like mulch, near your building’s foundation
- Remove debris and decaying wood, like stumps or detached branches from your property
- Regularly evaluate structures and land for potentially attractive features and/or signs of termite damage
Although the presence, amount of damage, and length of it time it takes to see damage varies both by type of termite as well as property location, warding off potential attraction through the use of prevention strategies and routine vigilance on your property is preferable to having to deal with the physical consequences of a termite invasion, as well as the associated mental or emotional impact on you and others in your life.
Once the suspicion of a termite problem arises, immediately contact your local pest control termite extermination experts, so that they can determine the specific type of termite encroaching on your property, as well as their location(s) and damage. Solutions may include the use of bait, liquid, or other protocols, and each may be accompanied by additional speciality measures and recommendations to ensure the removal of any existing problem and support long term protection. Be assured that teams will work quickly to find solutions and that proposed plans can be adjusted to accommodate the needs of your schedule and property.
We understand that you are proud of your property and want it to retain the functional, structural, or aesthetic appeal that has made it so attractive to you. For support in proactive care or property evaluation to maintain the desirable attractive qualities and reduce those that may be compelling to termites, the Eliminate ‘Em pest control and exterminator professionals are standing by to support you. Contact us today if you have concerns about termites in your yard or home.