Western Massachusetts Guide To Effective Termite Control

Western Massachusetts' Guide To Effective Termite Control

Have you heard that termites are a problem in Western Massachusetts? Have you wondered: "How could that be?" After all, isn't it too cold for termites to survive here? This is one of the many misconceptions that people have about Massachusetts termites. Today, we're going to give you a quick primer on what you can expect from termites in our state and, most importantly, what you can do to effectively control these insects.

Eastern Subterranean Termites

Massachusetts is home to the most widely distributed termite species in the United States. These termites are, not surprisingly, the termites that do the most damage. Not because they are the most destructive but because they damage properties from Massachusetts to Florida and from the East to the West coast. There are only a few Northwestern states that are spared. 

These insects thrive in tropical conditions such as those found in South Florida, but they find a way to do well even here in Western Massachusetts. One secret to their success is that they create their nests below the frost line. When the air is freezing, termites are comfortably tucked away several feet below the ground. The ground may also be blanketed by a layer of snow to help keep ground temperatures from getting to a termite-exterminating temperature.

Application: If you understand that termites live in the ground and must go in and out of the ground, you'll have a better understanding of where to look for warning signs and activity. It is important to do routine inspections of your foundation walls and underneath any wood sources in your yard.

Moisture Insects

Termite workers dry out when exposed to the air or to the sun. This is why they are so secretive. It is also why they create above-ground mud tunnels called shelter tubes. Along with mud tubes, they use mud to seal breaches in tunnel walls. If you notice a piece of wood that has mud spots on it, there may be termites inside.

Application: Address wood-to-soil contact to make your property less vulnerable. Inspect your exterior for mud tubes or muddy spots on wood structures. Take time to analyze moist conditions around your home and address them. This will create a habitat around your home that is less conducive to termite activity.

Winter Insects

Termites in our area are usually inactive during the winter months, unless they're able to find conditions that allow them to continue to feed. All that is required is temperatures above 50 degrees. If termites can find a path from their underground nests into the wood of your property, through areas that remain above freezing, they can feed all year long.

Application: This knowledge is helpful as you'll know to inspect your cellar, crawlspace, or basement for warning signs of termite activity. Look for interior mud tubes and the presence of mud on wood.

Spring Insects

When it warms up, termites get busy. They often begin the year by releasing male and female winged reproductives from their nests in the spring. The job of reproductives is to create new nests. The appearance of swarmers can tell you two things. 

  • They let you know that there is an active termite colony on or near your property because termite swarmers don't travel far.
  • When they appear inside your home, they are a warning sign of a severe infestation because swarmers exit termite tunnels that are near the nest.

Application: In the spring, look for these black insects with their white wings, or inspect your property for their shed wings.

Wood-Eating Insects

Termites eat wood. You know this. What you might not know is the type of wood subterranean termites prefer. These insects break down rotting wood. They have no interest in living trees. They feed on trees with heart rot, or trees that are dying. They'll also feed on branches, logs, firewood, and stumps. Decaying wood is an ideal food source for termites, and when they come into your yard to feed on these, they can feed on your home at the same time. Inside your home, they can feed on subflooring, 2x4s, sole plates, and more.

Application: Remove wood sources from your yard. Replace rotting wood on your home. Refrain from burying wood in the ground. Move firewood away from your home and elevate the stacks if possible. When you remove food options, you reduce termite activity in the ground around your home.

Complete Protection

You can mitigate the threat of subterranean termites by inspecting your property for warning signs, reducing moisture, and by removing termite food sources. This can give you quite a bit of protection. But, if you're looking for complete protection, control products need to be administered. These will come in the form of bait or liquid termiticides. We strongly recommend having a licensed professional apply termite control products because you won't know when your DIY termite control fails. For guidance or to request service, reach out to American Pest Solutions. We can find the right solution for your specific needs and budget.

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