In North America alone, there are over 40 species of termites, the subterranean type being the most destructive. While a termite infestation can mean major problems for your home, just how exactly do they start? Termites feed on wood, and the easier access they have to wood, the more likely they are to invade. If the termite has access to a wooden structure or if the conditions are ideal for termite colonization (such as high moisture areas), an infestation is likely to occur.
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Point of Entry
Once a potential place of residence is found, a point of entry into the structure needs to be made before infestation can occur. Termites will generally invade a structure through the soil along the structure's foundation. Any opening along the foundation offers an entry point for the termites. Cracks in the foundation, plumbing connections, even utility conduits are passages through which they will enter. Wood structures in direct contact with the soil, such as decks, patios and porches are especially at risk, since the colony could already be living in the soil near the structure.
Exceptions to the Rule
Not all termite infestation is subterranean. Above soil infestations can occur from time to time as well. If some foraging termite workers get isolated from the rest of the group and are unable to return to their parent colony, odds are they will begin a new colony. Oftentimes, high moisture levels and an abundance of food will allow the termites to colonize where they are not near or connected to the soil. These destructive little critters are nothing if not unpredictable, and infestations can occur easily and often.