Causes of Termite Infestations in Homes

Termites invade homes and can go undetected for years. Do you unknowingly invite termites into your home?  Here are some common solutions to Termite-Conducive situations that you may want to follow.

Problem: Cellulose (wood, dead plant material, paper, etc.) in contact with soil provides termites with ready and unobservable access to food.


  • Keep all wooden parts of the house foundation at least 6 inches above the soil.

  • Keep mulch levels several inches below the siding and wooden parts of the structure.

  • Avoid or minimize use of wood mulch next to the foundation.

  • Remove dead trees, stumps, and roots near the structure.

  • Never store firewood, lumber, or paper against the foundation or in the crawl space.

  • Remove wood debris and form boards.

Problem: Moisture accumulation near the foundation provides water needed for termite survival.


  • Grade or slope soil away from the foundation.

  • Divert rain water away from the foundation.

    • Maintain clean gutters and down-spouts.

    • Install down-spout extenders and splash blocks.

    • Use drain tiles if site is flat.

  • Divert lawn sprinklers and irrigation water away from the foundation.

  • Promptly repair leaking faucets, water pipes, and air conditioning units.

  • Use mulch sparingly (no more than 2 inches depth is recommended).

  • Keep plants and ground covers 3-4 feet away from the house foundation.

Problem: Poor ventilation in crawl space provides water needed for termite survival.


  • Cover approximately 75 percent of the soil surface in the crawl space with a vapor barrier (4-6 ml polyethylene sheeting).

  • Install 1 square foot of vent opening per 300 to 500 square feet of crawl space area (when using a vapor barrier).

  • Install 1 square foot of vent opening per 150 square feet of crawl space area (without a vapor barrier).

  • Enhance cross ventilation.

  • Remove any vegetation covering vents.

Problem: Hidden termite access.


  • Install trellises and trim plants so that they do not contact the house.

  • Do not build flower planters against the house.

  • Regularly inspect cracks or joints in concrete slabs for evidence of termites.

  • Install metal flashing when attaching porches or decks (even when using "treated" lumber) to an existing house.

  • Remove mulch that contacts siding or obscures a clear view of the foundation.

  • Never install foam board insulation (polystyrene) below grade.

Annual Inspection Checklist

  • Water is directed away from the foundation.

  • Wood and other cellulose materials (including mulch) are away from the foundation.

  • The foundation is exposed around the entire house.

  • The basement (or crawl space) is relatively dry.

Taking your home off of their "dinner list" is an important step as well as contacting your local pest control company and requesting annual termite inspections.

To learn more about termites "Click Here"   or if you live in Virginia and would like to have a Free Inspection "Click Here"


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