a termite crawls on wood trim near a tennessee home

You would think that an insect that eats wood wouldn't need an entry point to get into your home. But not all termites eat wood. In fact, only one kind of termite eats wood. It is called a worker. All other termites get their food from the workers through a sharing of fluids called trophallaxis. That means the male and female flying termites we call swarmers don't chew their way into your home as they search for locations to establish nests. They look for nooks and crannies to get into. Today, we're going to look at some of the entry points swarmers may use and why you should be more worried about the locations workers will use to get into your home.

The subterranean termites we have in our region don't prefer to create their nests in our homes. They establish ground nests. But, under the right conditions, they may create a colony in a home. If they find a crack in a cellar wall and a dirt floor in the bottom of that cellar, they can create a colony near the surface of the ground and do a lot of damage to the home. If they find a hole in rotted wood that was created by a rat or mouse, a king and a queen may enter into the moist interior and create a nest as though they were making a nest in a damp log. High humidity, access to food, and exposed ground underneath a home are key factors for the establishment of a subterranean termite colony in a home.

Most of the time, termites go in and out of a home from a ground nest. Worker termites dig tunnels to the surface, acquire food, and bring it back to their colony. While they are able to feed on a wide range of materials with cellulose, they prefer soft wood. And, since they require a lot of moisture to survive, they prefer water-damaged wood. This is important to understand if you want to protect your Knoxville home from significant subterranean termite damage.

There are many problems that can arise when you own a home. Water damage is one of the worst. When water gets into a home, it can create mold and lead to sickness. It can damage building materials and weaken the structure of your home. It also attracts wood-damaging pests like the subterranean termite. The areas where water damages your home are key locations for termite workers to enter.

  • They can get in through a rotting sole plate (also called a sill). Your sole plates are the horizontal timbers that sit just above your foundation wall. Obstructed gutters can allow water to flow down the side of your home and saturate a sole plate. When this happens, spores attach to the dampened wood and begin the process of wood rot. Over time, carpenter ants, mice, rats, termites and other pests that chew on wood will come and create holes, allowing for even deeper entry into your home.
  • They can get in through gaps around pipes. Sometimes pipes aren't properly sealed after they are installed. This can let many pests into your home. Worker termites sometimes build shelter tubes up the sides of foundation walls and enter in through pipe gaps. Once inside, they look for areas of high humidity and feed on the wood grain of most timbers.
  • They can get into door or window frames. These are usually points of high humidity in a home. While subterranean termites don't prefer the hardwood of a door or window frame, they will enjoy the 2x4s within the frame void.
  • Inside a home, workers will find locations of moisture and high humidity within your walls and floors.

Since termites come up from the ground and feed on the inside of wood, it can be extremely difficult to detect them, and most homeowners are not equipped to do the kind of inspection necessary to reveal the presence of termites. If you live in Knoxville, reach out to Russell's Pest Control. We can assist you with a termite inspection. We also provide industry-leading termite control for homes and businesses in the Greater Knoxville area. You don't have to let termites make a meal of your home. We can give you the support you need to protect your property.


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