Are you inviting termites?

If you want to attract termites to feast on your house, there are many ways to do it. Recently, I ran across one that I see all the time. It’s moderately easy to change, but most people don’t bother.

termitesLet’s talk termites:

Termites like wet wood. Wood that stays damp a long time is most yummy.

Termites can’t live in the sunlight.  So, termites prefer wet wood near the ground. (The only exception to this is when termites swarm. This is how they start a new colony. They grow wings and fly to a slightly different place, mating as they go.)

So, what do termites like the very best? Damp wood on the ground.


basement wood embeddedNow let’s talk about basements in New England:

In older construction, many basement had no slab at all, just dirt. This style ended not only because it got dirty and muddy down there, but also because rats got in. The “rat slab” was used to prevent rats from digging their way in. This thin slab is less than an inch thick. It frequently develops thin cracks, which are more than big enough to let termites in. Fortunately, they are not big enough to let rats in.

In older construction, some of the slabs were poured with a wooden board embedded. This board was used as a base for basement walls. The wood sits directly in the dirt.

What’s wrong with having wood on the soil in the basement?

Nothing, if you are a termite. It is a lovely invitation! It’s everything a termite can hope for:

  • Wood that stays damp.
  • Limited sunlight.
  • Wood right on the ground.
  • Sometimes, right near a boiler! Yum! We can eat all year long!

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