A termite infestation can be costly, and sadly, many homeowners don’t discover there’s a problem until these wood-eating pests have already caused a great deal of damage to a home or an inspection uncovers it during a home sale.

“Termites are referred to as the hidden enemy,” says Mike Duncan, an associate certified entomologist and eastern region trainer for Truly Nolen, a pest control company. The damage can reach $7,900 or more before they’re found, Duncan told®.

Some homeowners may be unknowingly attracting termites to their homes. An article at® recently flagged some ways owners may be creating a termite spot, beyond just rotting wood.

For example, even the tiniest bit of moisture, such as from poor drainage, leaks, or poor ventilation, along with wood can be a big draw for termites. “Because they consume the cellulose in wood for nutrition, they require high moisture so that they don’t dry out,” Natasha Wright, a board-certified entomologist and technical director for Braman Termite & Pest Elimination in southern New England, told®. Soggy soil near your foundation can also be a big draw to termites.

Don’t assume stucco houses are safe either. Termites are drawn to the protection from foam board insulation and exterior wall solutions, like Dryvit, a synthetic version of cement siding, Wright says. “They will chew through and travel in these sheltered areas until they stumble upon wood,” Wright says.

Cracks in a foundation can be another way termites can enter. “Should they find cracks or gaps, termites may investigate and enter,” says Mike Deutsch, an urban entomologist for Arrow Exterminating Co. in New York. “They may eventually intercept wooden members of the structure and begin to feed, causing damage.”

Be on the lookout for mud tubes, soft or hollow-sounding wood, and visible piles of wings, experts say. “These are signs that you have a termite problem,” says Erin Richardson, president of All-American Pest Control in Nashville, Tenn.

Call in a professional to investigate further and to remedy the situation if you suspect termite problems.