Dealing with any kind of pest invading your home is unpleasant, to say the least. However, few critters are as detrimental to your belongings as termites. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), termites cause approximately $40 billion in damages globally each year and destroy parts of more than 600,000 homes annually in the United States alone.
The good news is that pest infestations are not inevitable - there are ways to prevent them. One of them is knowing what could be attracting these destructive bugs into your home. These are the items that could be making your house a target for a termite infestation.
Termites feed on the cellulose found in wood, and they aren't picky. No type of wood is invulnerable to termites. This includes oak, maple, and mahogany - three of the most popular choices for hardwood flooring. While a new hardwood floor definitely looks good, it’s important to proceed with caution. Many times wooden products introduced into our homes are already infested with dry wood termites.
Before having any flooring installed in your home, inspect it closely to make sure there are no signs of termites, including live bugs or dirt tubes.
Termites tend to seek damp and humid spaces. Moisture accumulation from poor drainage, leaks, condensation, or poor ventilation around your house could lead to a termite problem. Double-check all your water systems for clogged gutters or drainage that could create pools of water and make the insulation vulnerable for termites.
Related: Safe Ways to Get Rid of Termites
One of the most common ways for termites to enter a home is through antique furniture, according to entomologist and pest control expert Mike Duncan. As we said, termites are usually found where wood is, and a great majority of antique items are made of wood.
So before you buy that beautiful antique piece, look for termite damage. Always check the bottom of a piece, as it’s usually where a termite infestation starts on furniture. Push the wood to feel for areas that are soft to the touch, look inside drawers, and tilt the items from side to side to see if any sawdust comes out. Another sign of termites is a hollow sound when you knock on what’s supposed to be a solid piece of wood. For more tips on shopping for antiques, check out our previous article 5 Crucial Things to Consider When Buying Used Furniture.
Relaxing in front of a crackling fire is undeniably cozy. The problem is, firewood and lumber (especially ones that already started to decay) are the perfect habitats for termites. Unfortunately, even storing firewood outdoors can contribute to an infestation.
We understand that firewood is a necessity in some households and can’t completely be done away with. Specialists recommend keeping the firewood at least 20 feet (6 meters) away from your home and keep the wood at least 5 inches (13 cm) above the ground.
Mulch is a great resource for gardening. It is especially helpful if the soil’s fertility is low. However, this thick layer of small dry pieces of wood is practically an invitation for termites.
To prevent an infestation, make sure the mulch is at least 15 to 20 inches away from your home’s main walls. If termites get into your mulch while it’s touching the foundation of your home, they can easily find cracks and crevices to dig through, and they could get into your home.
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