How do termites get in?
Termites don’t need much room to migrate. In fact, they can enter a structure through a space as small as 1/32nd of an inch. Subterranean termites usually enter a building from the soil along its foundation or through cracks in the slab, expansion joints or hollow bricks around plumbing. Decks, porches and other wood structures in direct contact with the ground are also easy access ramps for termites.
While most subterranean termite infestations can be traced to a colony living in soil outside the structure, some infestations actually begin above the ground. This occurs when a termite king and queen begin a new nest within a structure or when foraging termite workers become isolated and cannot return to the parent colony. Such conditions are most common in high-moisture areas. Structures with flat roofs or chronic leaks can also be at risk because the structure can retain enough moisture for a termite colony to establish itself. Constant moisture allows a termite colony to survive even without a connection to the soil. In such cases, the structural moisture problems may be as damaging to the home as the termite activity.
Common construction practices can also contribute to termite problems by providing termites admittance into a structure or creating ideal damp conditions for colonization. Some examples of these practices include wood to soil contact, form boards not being removed after construction is completed, wood refuse buried under the slab, improper drainage and stucco below grade. Spreading mulch soil to the area adjacent to a structure’s foundation can also provide an inroad for termites to creep into a building.