preventing termites: termite on a stone for display

Preventing Termites at Home

In Virginia, preventing termites can mean saving you, your home, and your family from a devastating tragedy.

Significant damage is done by these wood-eating insects costing billions in repairs every year. However, not everyone is lucky enough to discover an infestation early and avoid irreparable destruction. Often, a termite infestation results in the loss of an entire structure, like a home or business.

If you haven’t got the first clue on preventing these pests, you’ve come to the right place.

In this blog, James River walks you through all you need to know about protecting your home from the termites in Virginia. Continue on to know what species dwell in our state, what makes a home at-risk, and how to prevent termites from destroying your home or property.

Termites in Virginia

Scientists recognize over 2,000 species of termites on our planet, all varying in appearance, habitat, and behaviors. There are three species you want to be familiar with when preventing termites from invading your Virginia home- Subterranean, Formosan, and DryWood termites.

1 | Subterranean Termites

The Subterranean species can be found all over North America. In fact, they are the most common termite to be spotted in Virginia homes and houses throughout the country. Unfortunately, they are also the most destructive termite species in the United States.

The species lives in colonies underground or in moist aboveground areas. Additionally, a notable habit of the Subterranean termite is its construction of mud tubes.

Color- white, dark brown, or black

Size- 1/8 inch

Shape- long and narrow body with a rectangular head

2 | Formosan Termites

The Formosan species is the most aggressive type of termite and challenging to control once they’ve infested a structure. Not only can they destroy entire homes, but these termites are known for taking down boats, utility poles, and even living trees.

Formosan termites can be seen in several states, including Virginia, Florida, Georgia, and Hawaii. Typically, they reside underground in large colonies but may create a second home above ground.

Color- Creamy white or brown

Size- ½ inch

Shape- long and narrow body with a round and slightly tapered head

3 | DryWood Termites

DryWood termites are the least common of the three major termite species dwelling in Virginia. They are particularly active when temperatures warm. And unlike many termites, they do not need moisture or soil to survive.

The DryWood termite infests roof materials, wall structures, and dry wood surrounding the home. Furthermore, this species is known for destroying wooden furniture.

Color- cream-white or light brown

Size- 3/8 to 1 inch

Shape- long and narrow body with a round head

Preventing Termites

Preventing Termites from Infesting Your Virginia Home

Preventing termites can save you and your family from losing your home. And at the very least, it can save you a major life interruption and a hefty damage repair bill.

Is my Home At-Risk?

Certain buildings or properties may have a higher risk of an unfortunate termite infestation. The following characteristics may cause your home to be more attractive to termites:

  • Damp soil
  • Rotting wood
  • Fallen trees and tree stumps
  • Living near a naturally wooded area
  • Non-treated wood

Nevertheless, all Virginia residents should be proactive in preventing termites. Adopt the following tips to ensure you are preventing termites from wreaking havoc on your house.

Routinely Inspect Your Home.

Aside from checking for clear evidence of termites, like mud tunnels, the following are the most important areas to inspect and keep up with regularly:

  • Trees: If your home is shaded by large trees, consider trimming the branches to allow more sunlight to come through, keeping your yard from becoming damp and, in turn, preventing termites.
  • Spare Wood: Remove all wood debris surrounding your home, including fallen branches, logs, and tree stumps. Subterranean termites are especially attracted to rotting wood. For firewood, it is best to keep it high above the ground to prevent infestation.
  • Outside Lighting: Swarmer termites are attracted to lights. So, in the evening, keep the lights outside turned off or install insect-resistant lights.

Eliminate Excess Moisture.

Termites are highly attracted to damp conditions. In fact, two of the three species commonly invading Virginia homes require moisture to survive. The following areas should be inspected to avoid excessive moisture and prevent termite infestations:

  • Crawl Space: Particularly during spring, underneath your home can become damp. Ensure the crawl space is sealed and free of moisture.
  • Pools of Standing Water: Make sure your drainage system is working effectively. This will help avoid stagnant water collecting on your property when preventing termites.
  • Gutters: Ensure your gutters are intact and free of obstructions to keep the area around your home as dry as possible.

Looking for Signs of a Termite Infestation

Prevention wouldn’t be complete without knowing the signs of a termite infestation. However, the warnings are more often missed or nonexistent even when termites are present. So, no matter what, you want to make sure you are preventing termites, not only looking for the rare evidence.

Keep an eye out for the following signs when preventing termites from getting into your home:

  • Stuck doors and windows
  • Visible damage underneath paint or wallpaper
  • Swarmer termites or their discarded wings
  • Mud tubes from the Subterranean termite
  • Droppings from DryWood termites

Why Are Termites So Destructive?

You’ve heard the stories. Termites have been known to destroy an entire house before the paint even dries.

But, all tales aside, how much damage do they really do?

The answer to this question is not so simply put. There are many types of termites, and they all have their differences, especially when it comes to the chaos they can cause.

By far, the Subterranean termite is the United State’s- and Virginia’s- most threatening species. Each year, this species causes damage costing the country billions of dollars.

This brings us to our next question- What do termites do to cause so much destruction?

Automatically, you may be thinking termites consume every wood fiber of a home to cause its fatal collapse. However, this is not typically the case with these pests. What really happens is the termites will consume several parts, weakening the structure as they go. Gradually, floors will sink, ceilings will dip, walls will bulge, and so on.

When undetected, termites can sabotage an entire structure. The impact is often not repairable, and people lose their cherished homes and businesses.

Nevertheless, this tragedy can be avoided by adequately preventing termites and identifying early signs of infestation.

Termite Season and Swarmers

Truly, termites are active all year long. So, in the traditional sense, there is no “termite season.” However, many consider spring to be their season due to the presence of swarmer termites. These termites are the reproductive individuals in a colony.

People will spot these colony members in the springtime when they come out of hiding to mate. They’re the only termites with wings. Though, their wings are shed after mating when they return to their dwelling to create a new colony.

When it comes to eliminating and preventing termites, swarmers play a crucial role. Often, people don’t realize they have a termite issue until they catch sight of one of these buggers.

termites in Virginia

Preventing Termites with James River Pest Solutions

The bottom line is that if termites are in your area, like in Virginia, prevention is a must. That is if you want to keep your home or avoid high structure repair costs.

If you suspect a termite issue on your property, know that you can call on the trusted professionals at James River Pest Solutions.

We will provide a thorough inspection at no cost. And in addition to looking for signs of termites, we will also inform you of any conditions conducive to termites and where they may thrive.

There’s no time to lose when termites are present. Reach out to us to get the pests removed, and the area cleaned out. But that’s not all. We also repair the damage to your home and work to prevent termites from ever returning.

Give us a call at James River for a free crawl space inspection.

We’re Licensed through the State of Virginia and certified by The Department Of Agriculture.



Serving Metro Richmond, Glen Allen and Central VA
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