Mosquitoes flying around

What Causes a Termite Infestation?

June 05, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Termites’ primary food source may be the cellulose in wood, but many other factors and circumstances can lead to a termite infestation in the home. 

These tiny pests are difficult to see, hiding in dark spaces, behind walls, and in cracks and crevices. While they hide, they can chew through the structural wood in your home at an alarming rate, leading to costly repairs and complicated replacements. Read this guide to discover everything you need to know about the cause of termites and how to prevent them from destroying your home.

Close up of termites

What causes termite infestations? 

Termites constantly search for food, water, and a safe place to feed, just like all pests. These wood-destroying insects can go undetected for long periods, damaging your home’s structural integrity and leaving a wake of destruction in its path. Below are some of the most common causes for termites to invade your house:

  • Climate: Some areas of the U.S. are more prone to termite infestations because of the local climate. For example, Arizona is one of the most common places for termite infestations due to its year-round warm temperatures and very wet monsoon season.
  • Firewood: Stacking firewood, especially directly against your home, can invite termites to migrate from the firewood to your interior. Stack firewood away from your home and keep it as dry as possible.
  • Gaps & openings: Termite species like to nest under concrete foundations. What attracts termites to this area is primarily darkness and moisture. These spaces provide easy access to wood inside your home. If you notice gaps or cracks in your foundation, get them repaired and sealed immediately.
  • Leaky pipes: Because termites are attracted to water, leaky pipes—in particular in unfinished areas like basements or attics—are another major factor that leads to infestations. Repair leaking pipes, blocked drain spouts, and ventilation issues as soon as you notice them.
  • Untreated wood: Use treated and sealed wood when tackling household projects like decks, patios, or pergolas. Using untreated wood can make it much easier for termites to get into your house and set up shop, taking over the various wood structures in and around your home.

Where do termites come from? 

Different types of termites come from different sources. Subterranean termites come from underground colonies (hence the name) in search of food, while drywood and dampwood termites are probably migrating from colonies they’ve formed inside other wood. These termites can travel into homes from already infested wood or untreated wood, as well as via spots where your home comes into contact with the ground—think door frames, wooden foundations, or even cracks in brick and cement.

Can termites nest in walls? 

Yes, termites can create nests within walls. They can easily burrow into walls and live within them, going undetected for months. Sometimes termites will travel just under the surface of drywall or plaster to get from one area to another. When this happens, you may notice blistering paint on your drywall. You may also see tiny pinholes in the wall created when they exit walls and move out of their colonies.

How to get rid of termites 

Termites are incredibly difficult to remove without professional assistance. If you notice any common signs of an infestation in your home, contact your local pest control company like Hawx. We have extensive knowledge about termite habits and will complete a thorough examination of your home.

We offer safe and affordable extermination for your current termite problems, as well as preventative treatments to address potential threats before they happen. Using a three-fold process and the highest quality tools and products, our friendly and knowledgeable team creates a treatment plan to suit your needs and your budget. Call us today for a free estimate to get your termite problem under control before it does serious damage.

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