What Attracts Termites to Your Home?

Nobody wants termites – ever. Ask anyone; chances are they will tell you that they hope they will never have to deal with termites. Let’s be real, termites can be really annoying to deal with, especially with how difficult they can be to get rid of. Termites can cause all sorts of damage to your home and can even cause significant structural damage if you notice an infestation far too late. But what attracts termites to your home, exactly? What is it that makes them decide this is going to be our new home?

Termites generally swarm during specific times of the year, so when you know that swarming season is coming, it’s usually a good idea to inspect your home for anything that might attract termites. It’s also generally a good idea at this point to inspect your home for termites, too! That way, you take a proactive role in preventing the infestation or spread of termites on your property.

Being proactive in the fight against termites can be truly beneficial. As a result, you won’t end up having to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars trying to repair the damage to your home that the termites have caused. Today, we are here to talk about termites and what attracts them to your home.

Why Is It Important to Talk About Termites?

what attracts termites

Why exactly is it important to talk about termites? If you are a homeowner, it is honestly rather important to talk about this pest for a number of different reasons. It’s rather beneficial to know what attracts termites, the signs of termite infestations, what termites look like, and how to deal with them. Here’s why:

Understanding Termites

When you understand termites, you then know better what makes them decide to choose a particular place to make a nest and a new colony in. You understand their behaviors better, and it becomes possible for you to identify them. Sometimes, knowing something as simple as what termites look like in every stage of life can be good enough to help you notice new swarmers in your area. It becomes possible to take immediate preventative action against termites if you notice that you might have an infestation looming.

Knowing what termites look like, as well as the signs of termites in your home, are both certainly rather important in early detection. Being able to identify termites early is key to staving off potential heavy damage. In turn, you will end up saving yourself so much money.

Another thing is if you know what attracts termites, you can then make sure you take action to eliminate these attractants so they can go elsewhere instead.

What Attracts Termites?

Now that we’ve talked about just how important it can be to know as much as you can about termites (yes, we know, we’ve stressed it and repeated it a lot), we can now discuss what attracts termites.

Generally, termites are attracted to wood. This is why they are far more common in wooded suburban areas, and in countries where the main construction material used for housing is wood. Termites eat wood, after all, so it only makes sense that they would seek out and make a colony around their food source.

Termites aren’t just attracted to any wood, they actually prefer wood that has gone soft, or has begun to decay and rot – similar to carpenter ants. Because of this, they look for places that are moist. You may not even know it, but you could be doing things or keeping things around your home and property that might just be making a prime target for termites.

When this happens, termites might even pick up and move from where they were formerly located and move into YOUR home. This is why it’s good to know what attracts them – so you can eliminate these on your property and deter the pests form coming. Here’s what attracts termites:

Wood Piles

Sure, it’s always lovely to have a traditional wood burning fireplace. Who wouldn’t love such an attraction in their home, right? Fireplaces usually up the value of a home, especially if they are particularly intricate or beautiful. After all, they can keep an area warm, and give off an ambiance that can create a beautiful background for many milestone memories and moments.

Unfortunately, if you have piles of (fire)wood out in your yard or somewhere on your property, you may end up attracting the pesky little wood munchers. Initially, the termites might only make their home on the wood pile. However, they might eventually move into your actual home.

If you have firewood around your property (or any wood piles for that matter), it’s a good idea to store them in a cool, dry place. That way, the wood does not get moist and create an invitation for the bugs to come. It’s good to also keep the wood at least five inches off the floor and keep the wood pile a minimum of twenty feet from your house’s structure (or any structures).

Excessive Foliage

It’s always great to have greenery around your property. Not only does it increase the value of your home, it also lifts the mood and gives you a nice, cozy place to hang out every now and then. However, if you have foliage in excess, you may end up attracting termites. This is because when trees (or even parts of them), plants, and stumps begin to rot, they can attract termites and carpenter ants alike.

You can’t exactly control the amount of greenery around you, especially if you live in a particularly wooded area. However, what you can control is the amount of dead material in our property’s perimeter. For example, you should always clear any dead tree stumps, fallen branches, wayward twigs, dead plants and such from your garden and yard. Doing this will protect you from insect infestations even more.

Overhanging Trees

If there are trees that are hanging over your home, this can be a bad thing. Not just because the branches, leaves and limbs of the tree can touch your roof and give the termites a literal bridge onto your house. Aside from this being something on the list of what attracts termites, tree limbs, leaves, and the like can be a fire hazard – especially when you live in a dry, arid area.

On top of that, if you have trees taller than your house with some of the limbs hanging over your home, this is a complete risk during storms and hurricanes. Particularly high winds could damage the tree and possibly even break the branches off. They could then fall onto your roof and potentially total it. That’s not the only risk – if you have a lot of leaves and twigs along with other debris falling onto your roof, this could end up clogging your gutters and drainpipes. As a result, you could end up with a lot of roof damage over time. Leaky roof, anyone?

It’s generally a good idea to cut any tree limbs off if they are hanging over your home. This way, you can eliminate all of the risks we’ve mentioned above in one fell swoop. You don’t even have to get rid of the tree!

Mulch

Mulch is something that is often used in gardens and yards. There is no denying the numerous benefits of using mulch, but we can all certainly agree that it does come with drawbacks too. Mulch will similarly attract termites, just like excess foliage would. This is because the wood chips in the mulch retain moisture – exactly what attracts termites. If you need to use mulch on your property, a good way to lower the risk of termites is simply to keep mulch a minimum distance of fifteen inches away from your home’s foundation.

Unmaintained Gutters

If there’s anything that we’ve made clear by now, it’s the fact that termites love moist wood, soft wood, and wood that has begun to or is decaying. Because of this, your gutters are a prime example of what attracts termites. Leaves and twigs can begin to accumulate in your gutters, leading to a moist environment where the wood begins to rot. This immediately attracts termites. They won’t be making a home in your gutters though.

What happens when you have unmaintained gutters is that your roof begins to get excess moisture. This moisture will begin to rot some of your roof away, causing damage to the shingles or roofing material. It will then begin to cause problems with the wood infrastructure of your roof. The gutter and the soft, moist wood of your now damaged roof is a recipe for disaster! Not just because of future leaky roof issues and costly roof repairs, but also because of the potential disaster of a termite infested roof. Trust us when we tell you the costs can pile up FAST. Imagine all the damage moisture and termites can do to your roof – so much in fact that it could require a complete replacement. Then you’ll be having to pay for an exterminator and on top of that, a roof replacement. This could cost you in the tens of thousands.

Keeping the Termites at Bay

There are so many things on the list of what attracts termites, that’s for sure. However, it’s fortunate that there are a lot of things that you can do to avoid getting them on your property. In fact, most of the things you will have to do to prevent termites involves performing simple maintenance on your property. In fact, these are all things that you should certainly already be doing as a homeowner! Not just for the reason that termites are a potential problem, but also because will also be able to stave off potentially costly repairs in the future.

Just to recap, if you want to keep the termites away:

Keep Wood Piles and Mulch Away

It’s a good idea to keep any wood you plan to store at least twenty feet away from your home. Make sure that you store it in a dry area, ideally under a structure of a sort to keep it from getting wet in the rain. If you don’t have anything to keep it getting wet from the rain, you can instead store it in an area where you know the sun will be able to dry it properly. Keep the wood five inches up from the ground as well.

In contrast, mulch should be put at least fifteen inches away in distance from your home’s foundation. Also make sure to check the mulch occasionally for any signs of termites.

Trim Your Trees

Another good thing for you to do to prevent what attracts termites is to make sure you trim any trees and branches that are hanging above your roof. Doing this will prevent so many different things – potential fire hazards, potential roof damage from storms and high winds, termites… as a matter of fact, it is literally so beneficial that there is practically no reason not to do this regularly. It may cost you some money hiring someone to do it for you if you cannot do it yourself, but in the end the cost tradeoff is extremely worth it for all the potential damage and repair costs you can prevent.

Conclusion

There are a lot of different things on the list of what attracts termites, but the most important thing to remember is that they like moist, decaying wood. Therefore, if you can take action to keep moisture and wood away from your home and do basic home maintenance regularly, you are already better off. Doing these simple things that can be done once every month or so can make a huge difference in the prevention of so much risk to your home!

We hope that this article on what attracts termites was beneficial to you. Finally, if you suspect a termite infestation and you want to look into treatment options, don’t hesitate to check out even more termite related articles on this website!