What Causes Termites: Understanding the Root of the Problem

Termites are one of the most destructive pests that can invade your home. They can cause significant damage to the structure of your house, and if left untreated, can lead to costly repairs. Understanding what causes termites is essential to prevent an infestation. In this article, you will learn about the environmental factors and human activities that attract termites to your home and how to prevent and control an infestation.

Environmental factors play a significant role in attracting termites to your home. Termites thrive in a warm, humid environment, and they need moisture to survive. Any area in your home that is damp or has a water source can attract termites. Leaky pipes, clogged gutters, and poor drainage can lead to water accumulation and create an ideal environment for termites to thrive.

Human activities can also contribute to termite infestations. Storing firewood, lumber, or other wood-based materials near your home can attract termites. Landscaping and gardening can also provide a food source for termites. If you have mulch, wood chips, or other organic material around your home’s foundation, it can provide an easy pathway for termites to enter your home.

Key Takeaways

  • Environmental factors like moisture and humidity can attract termites to your home.
  • Human activities like storing wood and landscaping can also contribute to termite infestations.
  • Preventing and controlling termite infestations requires addressing these environmental factors and human activities.

Environmental Factors

Termites are highly dependent on their environment to survive and thrive. While they can invade almost any structure, certain environmental factors can make a property more attractive to them. In this section, we will explore the climate, humidity, and wood availability factors that contribute to termite infestation.


Termites are found all over the world, but they thrive in warm, humid climates. They are most active between 70 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that properties located in areas with hot and humid summers are at a higher risk of termite infestation. However, even in cooler climates, termites can still survive and cause damage.


Termites need moisture to survive, and they are attracted to areas with high humidity levels. Leaky pipes, improper drainage, and poor airflow can all create moisture issues that attract termites. Dampwood and subterranean termites, in particular, thrive in humid environments. While dampwood termites prefer water-damaged wood, subterranean termites are unable to live unless surrounded by enough moisture.

Wood Availability

Termites primarily feed on wood they find in their environment. This means that properties with a lot of wood, such as those with wooden decks, fences, and furniture, are at a higher risk of termite infestation. Additionally, properties located near wooded areas or with piles of firewood or mulch nearby may also attract termites.

To prevent termite infestation, it is important to address these environmental factors. This can include fixing leaks, improving drainage, promoting airflow, and removing or treating wood that is in contact with the ground. By taking these steps, you can reduce the risk of termite damage to your property.

Human Activities

Termites are attracted to human activities that provide them with food, moisture, and shelter. Understanding the ways in which human activities can contribute to termite infestations can help you take measures to prevent them.

Construction Practices

During construction, certain practices can create conditions that attract termites. For example, using wood that has not been treated to resist termites, or placing wood directly on the soil can be an invitation for termites to invade. Additionally, leaving wood debris or scraps on the ground can provide termites with a food source.

To prevent these issues, it is important to use termite-resistant materials and to ensure that wood is not in contact with soil. Additionally, construction sites should be kept clean of wood debris and scraps.

Landscaping Choices

Landscaping choices can also contribute to termite infestations. For example, planting trees or shrubs too close to your home can provide a pathway for termites to enter. Additionally, using wood mulch in landscaping can provide termites with a food source.

To prevent these issues, it is important to maintain a clear zone around your home, where trees and shrubs are not planted. Additionally, using non-wood mulch options, such as rock or rubber, can help prevent termites from finding a food source in your landscaping.

By being mindful of your construction practices and landscaping choices, you can help prevent termite infestations in your home.

Prevention and Control

Prevention is key when it comes to termite control. Regular inspections of your property for signs of damage or infestation can help identify and address any issues early on. Here are some prevention and control measures you can take to protect your property from termites:

  • Keep wood debris and cellulose materials away from the foundation of your home. This includes firewood, lumber, and even paper products. Termites are attracted to these materials and can use them as a food source.
  • Make sure your home’s foundation is dry and well-ventilated. Moisture attracts termites, so repairing any leaks or water damage can help prevent infestations.
  • Seal any cracks or openings in your home’s foundation, walls, and roof. Termites can enter through even the smallest openings, so it’s important to seal them off.
  • Use termite-resistant materials when building or renovating your home. Some materials, like pressure-treated wood and concrete, are less attractive to termites than others.
  • Consider using a termite control service to inspect your property and apply preventative treatments. Professional pest control services can help eliminate existing infestations and protect against future ones.

By following these prevention and control measures, you can help protect your property from termites and avoid costly damage.


In conclusion, understanding the causes of termite infestations is crucial in preventing and controlling them. Termites are attracted to moisture, wood decay, and cellulose-based materials. By addressing these factors, you can reduce the risk of termite infestations in your home.

Leaky pipes, standing water, and damp soil are all sources of moisture that can attract termites. Regularly inspecting and repairing any plumbing issues can help prevent moisture buildup. Additionally, ensuring proper ventilation and drainage around your home can reduce the likelihood of moisture accumulation.

Wood decay is another factor that can attract termites. Rotting wood provides an ideal environment for termites to thrive. Regularly inspecting and replacing any damaged or decaying wood around your home can help reduce the risk of termite infestations.

Cellulose-based materials, such as firewood, can also attract termites. Storing firewood away from your home and keeping it dry can help prevent termites from being attracted to your property.

Overall, preventing termite infestations requires a combination of proactive measures and regular inspections. By addressing the underlying causes of termite infestations, you can protect your home and property from costly damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do termites start infesting a house?

Termites can infest a house through various ways. They can enter through cracks or gaps in the foundation, walls, or roof. They can also enter through wooden structures that are in direct contact with the soil, such as porches, decks, and fences. Once they find an entry point, they will start to build their nests and colonies in the wooden structures of your home.

What can be done to prevent termite infestations?

There are several ways to prevent termite infestations. Regularly inspecting your home for signs of termites is the first step. Keeping your home dry and well-ventilated can also help prevent infestations. Additionally, removing any sources of wood or cellulose from around your home can help prevent termites from being attracted to your property.

What attracts termites to a house?

Termites are attracted to moisture, warmth, and sources of wood and cellulose. They are particularly drawn to damp or moist areas, such as leaky pipes, attics, and basements. They are also attracted to wood that is in direct contact with the soil, such as wooden fences, decks, and porches.

Why do termites cause damage to wood structures?

Termites cause damage to wood structures because they feed on cellulose, which is found in wood. They can chew through wood, flooring, and even wallpaper undetected. Over time, this can weaken the structural integrity of your home, leading to costly repairs. It’s important to take steps to prevent termite infestations and address them promptly if they do occur.

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