The Easy Storage Mistake That's Attracting Termites To Your Home

A homeowner's worst nightmare is finding out they have a termite infestation. These creepy crawlies can invade your house and start eating everything from your wood furniture to your home's wood foundation, but, contrary to what you might think, it's not necessarily wood the insects crave. Instead, it's cellulose, an organic substance found in wood — and wood pulp, which means termites will eat anything paper (and cardboard), too. This revelation brings us to the storage mistake you need to take care of ASAP if you want to discourage a termite infestation, and that is to remove any type of paper clutter in your house.

Paper clutter seems to sneak up on us, even in this digital age. But if your house is susceptible to having termite issues — or you currently have a minor infestation you're trying to eradicate — the first thing you should do is remove any paper clutter from your house. And no, we're not just talking about the junk mail gathering dust in your kitchen's command center. Here's what to look out for so you can drive termites away from your house.

How to remove paper clutter to get rid of termites

When tackling paper clutter, including cardboard, you should remove anything that could be tossed into the paper recycling bin. For example, one spot homeowners tend to miss is the cardboard pile in their garage or basement. Perhaps you moved recently and have a pile of moving boxes collecting dust in the basement until you break them down and throw them out. Or maybe you have a pile of Amazon packages you haven't recycled just yet. Any such delay could prove a costly storage mistake and a potential feast for termites, so throw them into your recycling bin as soon as you can.

You also want to avoid having large stacks of paper out and about. This can include piles of magazines, your kids' past homework you're not sure you should toss or file, or art projects gathering dust on a table. It can also be stacks of newspapers or papers you need to file but are sitting loosely in boxes. Termites can burrow into those, finding a delicious meal for days if not weeks.

Instead, store these papers inside of metal filing cabinets or plastic, air-tight storage bins, preferably on the second level of the house where termites don't typically venture (unless they have already compromised your first floor considerably). This also includes any books on first-floor bookcases. Even if you're not sure if you want to keep or toss a paper stack yet, put it into a plastic "get to later box" that has a lid, which will prevent termites from entering.