How Termites Get in Your Home

Understanding how termites get in your house - and why they want to come inside - is crucial to preventing an infestation. After your termite inspection, your pest control expert should explain any signs of activity and potential entry points. He or she also should provide prevention and control tips specific to your home's construction type, termite species active in the area, and structural and moisture conditions conducive to infestations.

What Termites Need

Termites need food (cellulose such as wood), moisture and warmth to survive.

Wood building materials in and around homes - from the basement to the crawl space to the attic - can provide the ideal food source for these wood-destroying insects.

Common construction conditions around homes, including areas of insufficient grading that allow puddles to form near the foundation and air conditioning units that create run-off moisture, can offer sufficient moisture for termite colonies.

Through regular inspections, a termite specialist can help identify common hot spots for activity and warning signs for a termite infestation, plus share tips to help keep termites at bay. Termites can fit through cracks as thin as an average business card (1/32 inch) so proper maintenance is crucial to seal up any gaps around the foundation and roof/eaves.

Subterranean Termite Entry Points

Subterranean termite colonies live underground. They typically enter homes at ground level or below, but they can build mud tubes to enter spots several feet above ground level.

One of the most common ways termites get in your home is through wood-to-ground contact, including doorframes, deck posts, and porch steps or supports. Subterranean termites also enter homes through cracks in the foundation and cracks in brick mortar. Sometimes, they even use the holes in concrete blocks to travel through foundation walls.

Subterranean termite prevention focuses on addressing trouble spots, such as water that pools around the foundation, and monitoring for signs of activity. Your pest control expert also may recommend monitoring stations, liquid soil treatments or direct wood treatment.

Drywood Termite Entry Points
Drywood termite infestations typically begin when swarmers (alates) locate a crevice in the wood of your home, dig out a little nest and seal themselves inside. Then, they begin producing eggs to build their colony. Within a couple of years, this colony can grow to a size capable of causing serious wood damage in your home.

It can be difficult to prevent drywood termite infestations because this species can enter the home on any floor (not just near the foundation or soil like subterranean termites). Regular maintenance to keep the exterior wood of your home in good condition, combined with proactive treatment measures recommended by a trained expert, can help reduce the likelihood and scope of an infestation.

Formosan termite nest under a floor:
picture of a Formosan termite nest under the floor of a home