Most homeowners have heard of termite infestations in the wooden structures of a home, such as floors, attics, support beams and the wood frames behind drywall. But did you realize termites in trees can also be a real problem, especially if termites make their way from trees on your property onto your home and other wooden structures?
Termites in Trees
Read on to find out about signs of termites in trees, including termite holes in trees’ trunks and branches, and learn what to do if trees on your property are home to a termite infestation.
Types of Termites
There are two main types of termites that can cause problems to people’s homes and other parts of their property: subterranean and drywood.
True to their name, drywood termites don’t require much moisture to survive, and thus can thrive within the drier woods found in hardwood floors, attic spaces or higher-up areas of a home. While still an undesirable housemate, this variety of termite tends to live in much smaller colonies and cause far less invasive damage than subterranean termites. Drywood termites can also make their homes outdoors in dead trees or other sources of dry wood.
Subterranean termites, by contrast, live in enormous colonies that number in the hundreds of thousands or even millions, and can cause extensive damage as they eat their way through a house, garage, fence or other structure. Americans spend an estimated $1 billion a year on control measures and repairs due to the damage caused by subterranean termites. That’s an expensive problem!
What Are the Risks of Termites in Trees?
Termites in trees can actually be beneficial in certain settings, since they can “recycle” fallen or decaying trees and stumps, creating room for new growth. In a wild forest setting, for example, termites are simply a part of the natural cycle of life, death and re-growth.
In an urban setting, however, termites can infest a tree on your property, which also provides them with a pathway to your home, garage or other wooden structure. As the colony attacks an otherwise healthy tree, the termites destroy a valuable source of beauty and shade, and also create the danger of falling limbs—or even an entire tree that could fall—possibly harming you or your family, damaging other parts of your property or creating liability issues with nearby neighbors. Once these destructive pests finish consuming the tree, the termites can easily move on to your fence, garage or house.
So how can you tell if you have termites in your trees?
Signs of Termites in Trees
One of the telltale signs that you might have termites living in the trees on your property is if you see termite holes in trees. These are just what they sound like: small holes where the insects have tunneled into the wood of the tree’s trunk or branches. You might also be able to spot wood shavings at the site of the holes or fallen around the base of the tree.
To check for termites, use a shovel or spade to dig around the tree’s roots and look for the insects, which look like large, winged ants. You won’t have to dig deep; subterranean termites live just beneath the surface of the soil.
Other signs of termites in trees include:
- Discarded wings or the carcasses of dead termites in the soil around the base of a tree
- Clusters of small, white eggs in the soil around a tree’s base
- Tubes of mud on the trunks or branches of a tree
What to Do if You Think You Might Have Termites in Your Trees
If you spot any of the warning signs that might indicate a termite infestation in your property’s trees, it’s time to call an experienced termite professional. Time is of the essence. The sooner you can have your termite infestation removed, the less risk there is of damage to your home, garage or other areas of your property.
How to Prevent Termites on your Property
To prevent termites from moving in or returning to your trees, it’s important to keep up with regular tree maintenance. Always have dead or decaying limbs, trees and stumps on your property removed in a timely manner, and be sure to have the wood hauled off, burned or otherwise destroyed to ensure the termites are gone. Annual termite inspections are also a wise idea, especially if you’ve dealt with termite infestations in the past and know that your trees or other portions of your property are prone to these invasive pests.
Trust ABC for your Termite Control
If you suspect a termite infestation in your trees, trust the termite specialists at ABC Home & Commercial Services to make a thorough inspection, properly diagnose the problem and then determine the best solution for getting rid of the colony. Whether termites are in your trees or in your home, ABC can take care of the problem and take measures to prevent future infestations.