Termites make up a diverse group of important insects that feed on cellulose, the material that substantially makes up wood. California contains at least 23 distinct species of termite, but is dominated by drywood, subterranean and dampwood termites. While termites prove their benefit in desert and forest areas by helping transform wood into nutrient-rich soil, as well as providing an excellent food source to a variety of predators. However, their presence can be disastrous for home owners. Termite infestations in homes are generally caused by moisture, wooden structures touching your home, openings in foundations or walls or geography.
Moisture or Standing Water
Those leaky pipes or standing water under your San Jose area home are not just a plumbing problem; they can also be one of the key ingredients driving a termite invasion. Subterranean termites are attracted to moisture and like to build their colonies in the soil, which can be softened up by the addition of water. Ensure that your gutters are clear and that water is draining completely away from your home; also check your foundation ventilation and pull woody landscaping away from your home’s crawl space.
Wood or Wooden Structures
Termite treatments can only do so much, but if you have wood or wooden structures that are a ramp between the ground and your South Bay home, you may be asking for trouble. These wooden ramps can serve as a bridge for termites when they start to seek out food sources above the ground if their current food supplies grow slim. Never stack firewood close to your home’s foundation. Wood siding, vines, mulch, trellises and hanging tree limbs could all provide an entry point for termites to get in through the roof or even through your eaves or window frames.
Openings in Roof, Walls or Foundation
Keeping your home safe from termite infestation requires constant vigilance. Make it a point to regularly check around doors and windows, reapplying caulk as needed to keep everything tight. Cracks in your foundation can also become a point of ingress for termites—get those plugged up quickly. Termites are hard-wired to take advantage of any breach in your home’s integrity, even defective seals and electrical conduits. Examine and repair eaves, fascia boards and shingles as needed. Simple fixes can make a big difference in the fight against termite infestation.
Possibly the biggest factor in whether your home will be invaded by termites is the part of the country that you live in. Termites love warm, wet environments so Southern and Gulf Coast states are more likely to be affected. Northern California also tends to be damp a good deal of the time and the moderate temperature makes it an ideal breeding ground for termites.
If you see any sign of termites, do not hesitate to call your local extermination service. Once you see signs of the little pests, they have likely already taken a strong hold within your home. Termites are known as “silent killers” just for this reason—by the time you see them, it is almost too late.