Termites invade homes all over the U.S and cause costly and sometimes irreparable damage. Most termite infestations go unnoticed until it is too late. The most common species of termites in the U.S are the Drywood, Dampwood, and Subterranean Termites.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates termites cause more than $40 billion in damages to more than 600,000 homes annually.
Read on to learn more about what attracts the common species of termites, from damp wood termites to dry wood termites and subterranean termites.
Termites are attracted to any material that contains cellulose, and wood contains an abundant supply of the organic compound. Wood piles are the perfect source for termites to feast on, especially for Drywood termites and subterranean termites.
To prevent a termite colony from developing, elevate your wood pile from the ground or stack it away from your property. To reduce termite exposure, bring only the wood you need into your home and use it immediately.
Subterranean termites need water to survive, and Dampwood termites thrive in humid environments. Roofing issues, like clogged gutters or unfinished, leaky basements contribute to damp wood and subterranean termite issues. To address excess moisture and fend off termites, install dehumidifiers, open windows, and ventilate damp and humid areas.
Mulch is often used to raise your home’s curb appeal and can certainly make your home look sharp. Unfortunately, mulch is a magnet for termites. The chopped-up wood retains moisture and is a food source for termites.
Consider placing a barrier between mulch and your home’s foundation to resist damp wood termites or research mulch alternatives.
Tree stumps are a major attractant for termites. Dampwood termites are attracted to wood that has begun to rot or decay, which is often the case with tree stumps. Subterranean termites will eat any type of wood, and both species will infest and quickly multiply.
Once the termites are finished eating the tree stump, they will move on to your home in search of food. To avoid termite infestations, grind down old tree stumps and remove damaged or dead tree branches.
How To Tell If You Have Termites
There are a few tell-tale signs of a termite infestation:
- Stuck doors and windows
- Peeling paint or bubbling wallpaper
- A head-banging noise or faint rustling
- Wood that sounds hollow
- Small holes in the drywall
Termites produce several different waste products that may indicate signs of termites. Termite swarmers, mature termites, termite excrement (frass), or mud tubes are warning signs. Mud tubes are long tunnels often stuck to your home’s foundation which serve as transportation from a termite colony.
When Do You Need a Termite Inspection
If you are planning to buy a home, schedule a termite inspection. It is important to know upfront if there are any active infestations or signs or prior infestations. If you suspect an infestation, immediately check in with a professional pest control company.
Termites Myths & Facts
If you suspect that termites are present in your home, you likely have many questions about the pests. Let’s go through some of the most common questions.
Do termites really eat wood?
Yes! Termites eat wood. Wood contains cellulose, which termites love. However, they cannot digest it on their own. They have microorganisms that live in their digestive system which help them to break down the compound and extract the nutrients they need to survive. Termites will also eat paper and cardboard, which contain cellulose as well.
Can termites eat through concrete?
Termites cannot eat through concrete. However, if your home’s foundation is cracked, termites will take advantage of the gaps to enter your home. Termites only need a crack the thickness of two sheets of paper to enter a home.
Do termites eat plastic?
Termites do not eat plastic. Termites may use their serrated jaws to break through plastic in search of food or a place to colonize. Termites will stop at nothing to get to cellulose!
Does boric acid kill termites?
Yes! Boric acid effectively kills termites by dehydrating their bodies. That said, termites must ingest the boric acid for it to kill them.
How to Get Rid of Termites
If you are still suspicious of a termite infestation after removing common attractants, you should call the professionals. Stampede Pest Control can help! We’ll come out for a termite inspection and identify and treat the source of the problem. Give us a call today!