Termites thrive in specific conditions, so when they find the right climate, a suitable home, and plenty to eat, they set up house. While termites can infest your home directly, they also invade woodpiles, tree stumps, mulch, and adjoining structures, so knowing what causes termites is important. Moisture and access to wood are the two most significant causes of a termite infestation in a home. While some termites are just visiting and having a meal, other termite species can build nests inside your home.
While a particular climate and season of the year can cause termites to swarm and set up new colonies, there are a variety of causes homeowners should know. So how do you get termites, and what should you do if you have an infestation? Read on to learn more about what causes termites, where they come from, what attracts them to your home, and how they get inside. While you can put this guide to work protecting your home from termites, if you see signs of an infestation, have your home inspected by a professional termite inspector and treated with professional termite treatment.
Where Do Termites Come From?
The first question victims of a termite infestation often ask is, “Where do termites come from?” The answer depends on what type of termite is damaging your home. Two of the most dangerous termite species in Southern California are drywood termites and subterranean termites. Each species behaves differently, from where they build their nests to how they cause damage, so where they originate varies. Regardless of where they come from, both species of termites can cause extensive damage to a home once they get inside.
Drywood termites typically thrive in areas of the country where temperatures rarely fall below freezing. Once a colony reaches maximum capacity, reproductives called swarmers often discover entry points into a home to find wood where they can build a nest. Attic and foundation vents, cracks in a foundation, and gaps around pipes are popular entry points for drywood termites. Once inside your home, the termites begin laying eggs, and as the colony grows, termites can create significant damage to a structure before you even know they are there.
Subterranean termites can be found all across the United States, but the climate and soil conditions in California create the ideal conditions for them to flourish. Subterranean termites build their nests in soil instead of the wood in your home, and like the drywood termites, subterranean termites swarm when the colony gets too big. While subterranean swarmers can invade your home, they don’t create colonies inside the structure. Instead, subterranean termites build mud tubes from the soil to wood in and around a house. Because these tubes are often in crawl spaces or along concrete slabs, they often go unnoticed until the termites have caused extensive damage.
What Attracts Termites?
Knowing what attracts termites to your home is the first step for preventing a termite infestation. All termite species are attracted to wood for nesting and feeding, and each species has its favorites. Hardwoods often found in floors, furniture, and building timbers attract drywood termites because they offer the perfect combination of food, shelter, and moisture. Pine, oak, and similar wood are favored by subterranean termites because of the moisture content and how easy the wood is to digest.
Besides the wood in your home, termites are also attracted to the wood around your home and in your yard. Outdoor wood piles provide the moisture and food source termites need to survive, and if the wood is near your home, it makes it easy for termites to get inside. For the same reasons, termites often infest mulch and other ground coverings. If the mulch touches the exterior of a home, termites have the ideal cover to make their way into the structure without any exterior signs of infestation. Tree stumps and other decaying wood in your yard can also attract termites, and if they aren’t treated, it’s only a matter of time before they infest nearby structures.
How Do Termites Get Into Your House?
Even the smallest crevice or crack in wooden exteriors, door and window trim, or around a foundation is sufficient for drywood termites to get into your home. Because they don’t have to live in the soil, they can easily invade a house from various sources. Homeowners are often alerted to a drywood termite infestation by the presence of swarming reproductives, but they can also infest a home undetected. Infested firewood, untreated lumber, and even furniture brought into a home can lead to an infestation in the structure. Homeowners can’t do much about the type of wood used in their homes, but they can minimize other attractants like moisture, humidity, and access points.
Subterranean termites are even more stealthy than drywood termites and don’t need cracks and crevices to make their way into a home. While they will take advantage of easy entry points into a structure, subterranean termites typically build their mud tubes from the ground up to wooden members of a home. Once they invade the wooden frame of a home, the colony can easily move back and forth from your home to the nest and create hidden damage that can go undetected for years.
Protecting Your Home From a Termite Infestation Starts Here
Now that you know what causes termites and what they can do to your home, why wait until the damage is done when you can get your home inspected at no cost? Call us, and we’ll conduct a professional, comprehensive termite inspection of your home and the surrounding area. Your termite inspector will determine if you have termites and explain the best solution for getting rid of them and keeping them from returning.
From Los Angeles to San Diego and across the Orange County area, Hi-Tech Termite Control provides termite inspection and extermination services across Southern California. Start protecting your home today when you schedule your free inspection.