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Termite damage

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Munch munch. Crunch crunch. Termites are invading Alabama homes.

Xing Ping Hu, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System entomologist, said 2021 has been an active year for termites.

“Alabamians are seeing an increasing number of property infestations caused by subterranean termites,” Hu said. “While people are seeing both Formosan termite and native termite species invasions, the Formosan subterranean termites are the most dreaded species.”

Expanding Their Zone

Unfortunately for homeowners, Alabama has the perfect climate for termites to thrive. Because of this, they are active in most parts of the state all year.

The Formosan termite species is usually most active in the coastal counties of Alabama, where it is hot and humid. However, Hu said these termites have expanded their normal zone this year.

“We are seeing more and more reports of serious infestations in the central parts of the state,” she said. “With this increase, it is even more important that homeowners be proactive in looking for infestations and catching them early.”

Prevention

There are some options to help reduce the risk of a termite infestation. One extremely important step is to remove any conditions that might aid termites in their quest to invade the home.

“Termites love two things: water and cellulose,” Hu said. “Property owners need to make an extra effort in eliminating conditions that are conducive to current and future termite activity.”

Homeowners can take the following steps to reduce the risk of termites:

  • Keep the home and surrounding areas dry and clean.
  • Remove tree stumps, fallen logs and any other wood debris away from the house.
  • Make timely repairs to leaking roofs and pipes.

It is also advantageous to set up a contracted pest service to provide an annual inspection for termites.

“These seemingly invincible wood-devouring insects are silent invaders,” she said. “Homeowners probably won’t even notice them before it is too late. That is why it is important to stay vigilant about inspecting the home and property on a regular basis.”

Control

Once an infestation has been found, the next step is to eliminate the problem. Treatments for termites will differ from one situation to another. In general, there are both bait and liquid control applications available.

“The two most common treatments for subterranean termites are baits and liquids,” Hu said. “They each have different methodologies, and there are different times in which homeowners may want to deploy them.”

People should work with a licensed termite control service to decide what is the best method for treating their specific situation. More information about the uses of these applications is available in Termite Territory is Expanding in Alabama – The Basics of Termite Control.

More Information

Alabama Extension has several termite resources available at www.aces.edu, such as the publication Subterranean Termite Control Products for Alabamians. For further information, contact an Extension entomologist or the local Extension office.

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