As innocent as some things in your household could look, it might be serving as a “welcome home” mat to pests. From your lovely Christmas decorations to your heater, it’s just hard to guess what attracts termites. But not if you read this post. Here, I’ll list some of the most overlooked risk factors of every homeowner.
A termite infestation can happen for a variety of reasons. It could already be present in the house for decades or the area has a notorious history of termite infestation. These are just some of the possible causes, but sometimes, these termite-magnets are self-inflicted. You might be doing things or placing stuff inside your abode that the pest finds cozy to stay and munch at. The following are just some of the possible culprit on the infestation happening in your house right now:
How lovely your Christmas decors look like! But what you don’t know is that behind every tinsel and garland are trails of termites. This isn’t the case for all decors as some homeowners are diligent enough to do some dusting and moving on the displays they have. But if you have a fixed decoration on your home, you should remove it at least once a month to check if there are insects hiding behind.
If you’re too busy to do a full-cleaning, you just have to shake the décor to disturb it. Termites harbor on undisturbed spots so moving the decorations from time to time would make a difference. You can actually wipe essential oils to the décor like orange oil or neem oil as long as it won’t damage the material.
2. The stack of papers and cardboard
Cellulose is the life of termites and no exception to this is your stack of newspaper, cardboard, or even your prized books. What you should know about termites is that they have no mercy and they would munch on anything that has cellulose in it. So if you have old piles of paper, you might as well recycle it or sell it to a junk shop. Storing this inside your house increases your risk of acquiring termite pests.
I’m not saying that all paper material should go out of the window. If you store it dry and clean, the termites are unlikely to harbor on it. Putting some naphthalene balls on the storage boxes would actually help to ward off the insects. Moisture is what attracts termites but you can control it, so make sure that these precious sheets won’t accumulate dampness over time.
3. Dark spaces
There’s more to ghosts on what’s to fear on the dark areas of your house. The unexposed areas are favorite spots among termites, as these don’t receive light that could dry the pests up. Also, dark places are usually undisturbed and far from predators. This is also the same reason why termites create mud-tubes on their trail.
So do you have to light up the whole household? Nah. Aside from being too power-consuming, it won’t be comfortable for you. What you have to do is to open those windows and doors from time and time and let the sunlight come in. This will dry up the dampness and the sunrays will creep into the tiny dark crevices of your home. If you’re lucky, you might expose the affected area to the heat that will dry up the termites.
4. Warm temperature
Although termites hate too much heat, it still needs enough warmth to survive. In fact, the termites huddle to maintain the temperature of their bodies, especially if the temperature is dropping. So how does this relate to your house? Well, as you know, termites are also active in winter. And during the cold season, your house is equipped with heaters that keep you cozy. These are what attracts termites the most.
Turning off the heaters or setting your air-conditioner in full blast isn’t the solution. Sometimes, you just don’t have control over this. You just need to practice some preventive measures like applying pesticides to ward off the mites.
5. What Attracts Termites: Piles of wood
Many homeowners have been warned about this but piles of wood still count as one of the most overlooked termite risk factors. There’s really no problem about stacking wood inside or outside your house. It’s necessary for your fireplace or if you’re cooking on a wood stove. However, the concern arises when you don’t keep it well.
Chopped wood should be placed at least a foot and a half higher from the ground and the wall nearest to it. If you’re storing it in your yard, see to it that the pile would be 20 feet away from your house. This is so the termites won’t spread fast in the event of an infestation.
If you have a small place and have no choice but to keep those wood against the wall, make sure to shake it once in a while.
Mulch is usually used as an aggregate to a flower bed or just to stuff the house foundation. Although it looks harmless, the moisture it contains is a strong magnet for termites. It’s not necessary to have wood content on it because the moisture is enough to sustain the mites until they find the nearest food source. Try digging a few inches down your mulch and you’ll see a bunch of insects harboring beneath.
Even if the termites don’t inhabit your mulch right away, the pests can find it once they expand their underground network. It might not be a massive sustenance but it will still give the pest enough dampness to keep their vulnerable exoskeleton from drying up. This is exactly what attracts termites.
One thing you can do is to tone down the aggregates you toss on your mulch as well as the watering you’re doing.
7. Unkempt foliage
Sure, lush trees give a cool shade during the summer (Florida people would know) but it can also be the easy way for the termites to enter your home. Branches that touch the house should be cut as well as the thick foliage surrounding it. Termites have the ability to build arboreal nests if the ground is a bit threatening for the colony. This is harder to detect especially if you’re not regularly checking the tree or it’s too high to be visible for scrutiny.
Aside from being the bridge to your house, too much shade may reduce the evaporation of the moisture on your roof and walls. That’s damaging to the material and inviting for termites too. It also blocks sunlight that can be helpful in drying out dampness inside your home.
8. What Attracts Termites: Wet bathroom floors
Habitually leaving your bathroom floor or laundry area soaking with water increases the risk factor of termite infestation. It’s not that the termites will congregate on the site of dampness but the still water on these places can seep through the carpet or walls. If you have wooden furniture nearby, that could mean one thing: a possible infestation.
The good thing about this is that the bathroom is likely sealed with tiles and laundry area is saturated with soap residues. But this only reduces the risk a bit. Walking through the wet floor is also the concerning part as it acts as the distributor of the dampness around the house.
Maintaining the dryness of these areas isn’t a requirement but it will make a difference in the neatness of your house.
9. Overused humidifier
Humidifiers are helpful in balancing the humidity in the air that dries the skin, lips, and throat among others. You can even load it with aromatic oils to serve as a deodorizer in your living room. However, overusing it could cause a series of health problems and too much dampness in your house.
Overused humidifiers can cause respiratory issues as well as a friendlier environment for termites. A little moisture is all it takes for the pest to survive and with your endless use of humidifiers, you’re feeding the destruction.
If you want to be a little technical, get a hygrometer to check for the humidity levels of the house. The safest bet is around 30 to 40 percent. In case you went beyond the suggested limit, you can use a dehumidifier to counterbalance what attracts termites.
10. Undisturbed basement
Of all the places in your house, the basement has the highest risk of being infested not just of termites but also of all kinds of households pests. This becomes even more close to that when you leave the space undisturbed for a long period of time. You should keep in mind that termites thrive in darkness, dampness, and cellulose. All these are commonly present in basements used as a storage room for the household.
So what can you do about this? You don’t have to play loud music just to “disturb” the place. You just have to clean it regularly and check for the signs of termites. Applying pesticides would also be a good thing. You should also check for holes that the termites could use as entry points to your house.
11. What Attracts Termites: Full-blast air-conditioner
Earlier, it’s warmth, now it’s too much cold. This isn’t meant to confuse you but it’s just that setting your air-conditioner in full blast almost all the time is like overusing a humidifier. It increases the moisture in the air more so if it’s directed toward a wooden surface. The cold temperature would seep through and will create moisture.
All you need to do is to set the temperature in the cool level that’s not too hot or too cold. This will stabilize the moisture in the air without sacrificing your comfort, of course. Placing your air-conditioner far from the wooden material would be a wise move too.
Knowing what attracts termites is the first step in preventing an infestation. What you need to do now is to look around your house and check for the mentioned things. That way, you can start the prevention fast and easy. If you found signs of infestation, don’t hesitate to call for help. We would also be glad to discuss it with you below.