My termite treatment company found termites in the house but said they only needed to treat the ground, since the termites always return there. Is that true? -Dana
Treating the ground is all that’s needed to eliminate common subterranean termites; but it may not work on Formosan termites, since they can also build their nests above ground.
Subterranean termites (such as Reticulitermes flavipes, Reticulitermes hesperus, Reticulitermes virginicus, Reticulitermes hageni, and Reticulitermes tibialis) build their nests underground and construct shelter tubes to travel back and forth from their food source in your house. Since these types of termites must return to their nest, treatment of the ground where the nest is located will kill the entire colony and eliminate the infestation (though not the damage they may leave behind).
Formosan termites (Coptotermes formosanus) also usually build their nests underground, but they can construct nests above ground near their food source as well, making them more difficult to treat. Check with your termite treatment company to make sure they identified the particular termite species in your house and have taken the appropriate action. If the termites are anything other than Formosan, you should be OK with their ground only treatment plan.
The good news is that Formosan termites require warmer temperatures to survive than other termites, so they’re rarely found above 35° North latitude (the southern border of Tennessee and Nevada). In the U.S. if your house isn’t in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Texas; the termites are probably not of the Formosan variety.
Good luck with your project,
- Formosan Termites: A Growing Threat (article)
- Termites 101 (sponsored by Orkin)
- Dealing with Termite Damage in the Kuppersmith Project House (video)