3 Myths You Shouldn't Believe About Termites

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Termites are a group of insects that feeds on dead plant material such as wood and leaf litter. In forests, this is a good thing since they help to break down dead trees and other plants, but in the suburbs, their preferred food source is a big problem for homeowners. The structure of many suburban homes is made out of wood, and wood is also used for siding, shingles, and other building elements. Every year, termites and other wood-destroying insects cause about $30 billion worth of damage. This damage ends up costing individual homeowners about $3,000. There is a lot of misinformation about these destructive pests; here are three myths that you shouldn't believe. 

Termites can eat through concrete

The myth that termites can gnaw right through concrete is widespread, but, fortunately, it isn't true. Termites can easily eat through wood, but concrete will stop them. However, concrete isn't always an impermeable barrier. As concrete ages, it dries out, and when it dries out, it cracks. Concrete can also crack when the soil beneath the slab settles and allows the slab to shift positions. Once these cracks form, termites can enter your house, and if you don't know about the cracks in your concrete, you may think they chewed right through the concrete. 

The cracks in your concrete don't have to be large to allow termites to pass through. The cracks only need to be about as thick as a business card for a termite to squeeze inside! These cracks can be hidden by things like walls or flooring, so it's really hard to find and repair all of them. Your best bet is to have your home inspected by a local pest control company on a regular schedule; that way, when the termites sneak inside, you can find the problem early.

Wood piles will distract termites

You've probably heard that if you leave a big stack of firewood beside your house, termites will be attracted to it and will leave your house alone. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. In fact, the opposite is true! Wood in your backyard attracts termites who are looking for an easy meal. If this wood is too close to your house, termites can easily travel from your wood pile to your house, and when they reach your house, they'll continue eating.

If you want to store wood in your backyard, you need to keep it off the ground and away from your house. Termites may still burrow into the wood, but if it's not directly beside your house, this isn't much of a concern. Entomologists say that as long as you burn the wood immediately after bringing it inside you don't need to worry about a termite infestation.

Termites will destroy your house overnight

Termites eat quickly, but it's not possible for them to destroy your entire home overnight, or even in the first few weeks of an infestation. Even the most aggressive type of termites, Formosan termites, will take about six months to cause serious damage to a home. Other types of termites live in smaller colonies and will take even longer to destroy your home. 

This myth probably got its start by the way that termites damage homes. They start eating on the inside of the wood and then work their way out, and this allows them to go undetected for a long time. By the time the termites eat through to the parts of the wood that you can see, they will have already damaged everything behind it. This can make it look like the destruction happened overnight, but in reality, they were eating for a long time without being noticed. 

Not everything you've heard about termites is true, like these three myths. If you think you might have a termite infestation you need to call a pest control company or go to sites that offer pest control services for help and accurate information.