Moisture & Termites

Moisture can be a home danger zone for termites.

The type of termite which causes the most damage in North America is the subterranean termite.

subterranean termite

It is important to understand home danger zones for termites. These are areas more likely to be vulnerable to infestation by these termites. Homeowners who understand the home danger zones can take corrective action to reduce chances of infestation by termites.

Since the subterranean termites require ample moisture in order to thrive, areas of proven moisture are more hospitable to these termites. Couple that with a food source which contacts moist areas or the soil, and there are ideal conditions for infestation. In order to reduce the chance of infestation, homeowners can know the home danger zones for termites and can take corrective action so that conditions are not ideal for termites.

Earth to wood contact
Probably the most common danger zone for termites is earth/wood contact. Some people call this moisture to wall contact. This condition is where non-pressure treated wood material is in direct contact with the soil.

When this condition is present, there is adequate moisture, adequate food, and adequate protection for the termites. This is a condition conducive to termite infestation.

Lumber & Wood
Sometimes it is difficult to determine if the lumber used for supports is pressure treated. Generally pressure treated lumber is marked with the type of treatment received at the mill. If the wooden material is not marked, assume that it is not treated. Wood goes beyond lumber; critical materials can be wooden siding or composite materials and these are just as palatable to termites as lumber.

Excessive moisture pooled around wood based materials can also be a condition which leads to termite infestation. Moisture around the foundation of a home might be due to poor grading, bad drainage, or faulty gutters.

Both earth/wood contact and excessive moisture should be corrected to reduce chances of infestation. Homeowners should periodically inspect areas for these defects.

Termite Moisture Meters
When determining if a structure has subterranean termites or whether there is a potential for subterranean termite infestation, moisture meters are commonly used. Moisture meters provide a moisture reading of building materials so that the inspector can determine if there are conditions which might lead to termite infestation. Subterranean termites thrive in conditions where the moisture level in the building material exceeds that of the levels commonly found in these materials.