Several common construction practices when building a home contribute to subterranean termite infestation either by providing the termites with access into the structure or by creating moisture conditions ideal for termite colonization.
Construction and landscape practices that lead to subterranean termite infestation:
- Wood to soil contact – provides termites with a direct highway from the colony in the soil to the structural wood.
- Form boards not removed after construction – form boards, grade stakes, tub trap boxes, and spacers left in the slab allow termites to eat their way into the structure.
- Wooden debris left inside concrete masonry units – filling the cavities in concrete masonry units with wood scraps allows termites to forage through the concrete voids.
- Wood refuse buried under the slab or stoop – burying construction debris under a porch, stoop or slab causes large numbers of termites to congregate directly adjacent or under the structure.
- Stucco below grade – stucco, brick veneer or EFIS below grade provide the termites with hidden access into the structure. The infestation will typically go undiscovered until damage becomes obvious.
- Improper drainage – some structures are built in a depression. Others may have insufficiently extended eaves, or have short downspouts. These characteristics will result in moisture accumulation at the base of the foundation. This moisture provides an ideal habitat for subterranean termites.
- Landscaping – landscaping, including the spreading of mulch or gravel against the foundation, causes moisture to be retained at the base of the structure. Because moist soil is prime termite habitat, the area immediately adjacent to the foundation should be kept as dry as possible so that termites will prefer to live and forage elsewhere.