What Attracts Termites?

Termites are a major hazard to homes here in America, especially here in the Phoenix area. In fact, termites cause billions of dollars worth of damage each year in the United States alone (around $5 billion). That’s a staggering statistic, and it’s reason enough to be cautious about your property. Our advice: Take measures to ensure that termites don’t infest your home. It’s best to prevent a termite infestation, instead of treating it.

Now what’s a good technique for termite prevention? Well, the first thing you can do is to remove or mitigate termite attractants from your property. Termites are attracted to all of the following materials — do your best to keep these materials away from your home!


Keep cardboard off the ground and away from moisture. Termites can devour cardboard, and they’re attracted to cardboard due to its cellulose content. If you do keep recycling on your property, make sure it’s elevated from the ground to deter termites — especially subterranean termites.


Similarly, termites are attracted to newspaper (and other types of paper). Often, homeowners don’t think of piles of newspaper as an attractant for termites, but it may be the first source of food that a swarm notices. The same rules apply here as they did for cardboard: keep newspaper off the ground and away from moisture.


While mulch may be a beautiful addition to your landscape, you should use it with some caution. Since mulch is simply small wood chunks, it’s an ideal food source for termites. Plus, mulch stores the moisture that termites need to thrive. So while mulch may look good on the surface, termites may be making themselves at home below. If you do use mulch throughout your landscape, just be careful. Don’t use too much mulch (an inch or two is plenty), and keep mulch away from the foundation of your home (by at least 3 feet).


If you have firewood on your property, be wary that it can be a home for a termite colony. Again, the rules are simple: Keep your firewood elevated, and keep it dry. If you’re storing your firewood outside, consider putting it on metal pallets, cover your firewood to keep rain out (a tarp will do the trick), and make sure that there’s airflow to keep your firewood dry.

Dead Trees

Dead trees aren’t just an eyesore, they can be a safehaven for termites. A large, dead tree can hold tens of thousands of termites, and once a colony is big enough, they may swarm and target your home next. Cut dead trees down, and remove the stump if you can.


Speaking of stumps, an old stump can also be a new home to termites. The dead wood is an ideal source of food, and stumps are easily accessible for both subterranean and drywood termites. Remove as much of your stumps as possible (stump grinding is good, full stump removal is better).


Termites don’t need much moisture to survive, but a bit of moisture can help termites thrive. Keep humidity levels low throughout your home. Also, be wary that your gutters can accumulate moisture if they’re clogged with debris, and that can attract drywood termites to your attic. In general, it’s good to keep leaves, yard clippings, and other yard waste from piling up around your property. Also, if you have a compost heap, keep it well away from your home.

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