No homeowner wants to deal with termites, but many people don’t realize that with improper home maintenance, you may actually be attracting termites to your house. This is because many of the factors that attract termites don’t seem like a problem, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Here are four common home maintenance problems that may attract termites.
1. Improper Drainage
Many homeowners fail to clean their gutters regularly, as minor blockages may not seem to cause any practical problems. However, termites are attracted to moisture and colonies will actively seek it out, which makes clogged gutters and downspouts likely to attract termites. This is because logged gutters can cause water to pool, which will eventually seep into your roof and insulation. Suddenly, the moist wood and insulation will make your house look like a termite paradise. To avoid this, regularly check your gutters and downspouts, and clear them of any blockages caused by sticks, leaves, dirt or other substances.
If your home has a fireplace, then you likely keep a woodpile where you store logs for the colder months. If your woodpile is a good distance from your home, it most likely won’t be a problem, but many homeowners stack logs against their home or a few feet from an entrance for convenience. Because termites love woodpiles, having one stacked near or against your home can attract termites to an easy point of entry into your house. (5 Things You Could be Doing to Attract Termites) If you do keep a woodpile, it’s recommended that you locate it at least 20 feet from your home, and if possible, keep the wood raised above the ground at least a few inches to further deter termites.
3. Wood/Soil Contact
Another common cause of termite infestations is structural wood in your home being in direct contact with soil. This wood/soil contact provides termites easy access to food (the wood) moisture (from the soil and shelter,) as well as easy access into your home. To avoid attracting termites, any wood siding, door and window frames, or other wooden structural components should be at least six inches above the ground, and you should also prevent wood to soil contact as much as possible. (Protecting Your Home Against Termites) This may include pulling back soil from the foundation, cutting away the bottoms of latticework, or using a concrete base to support steps or posts. You may have to cover the cost of some minor home renovations, but it’s worth it to prevent a termite infestation.
4. Overuse of Mulch
Mulch is frequently used in landscaping due to its prowess as a fertilizer, but using mulch consistently on your property can attract termites. While the insects don’t actually prefer mulch as a food source, the moisture and protection from the elements that mulch offers termites often attracts them to your home, where they can find other wood to consume. If your property requires mulch for landscaping, it’s important to use it as sparingly as possible. In addition, never have mulch in contact with wood siding, doorframes, or any other wooden structural components.
To avoid a termite infestation, the most important thing to remember is that excess wood in or around your home, particularly in combination with moisture, will always present a termite risk. If you live in a termite-prone area, you should seriously consider performing some renovations to prevent wooden structural components coming into contact with soil, and homeowners in any location should always avoid letting their gutters or downspouts become clogged or stacking woodpiles against your home. By following these precautions, you can ensure that your risk of termites remains as low as possible.