The eastern subterranean termite is abundant in all areas of Massachusetts, including the coastal islands of Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod and Chappaquiddick. Termite swarms occur during the spring season with a few swarms lasting into the early summer months. On occasion, termite swarms occur on residential properties or even within homes in Massachusetts. Indoor swarming events often prompt residents to contact a pest controller or a nearby extension office, as indoor swarms can be quite dramatic and disruptive. Contacting a professional in these cases is a good idea, as indoor swarms indicate that a termite colony exists nearby. With the exception of residential termite swarming events, it is difficult to know if a home is at risk of becoming infested with termites. In many cases, residents living in an infested home are not aware of the insects eating away at the structural wood. However, subterranean termite infestations can usually be spotted if a homeowner knows which signs to look for.

The presence of mud tubes tend to be the most conspicuous evidence of a termite infestation within a home. These mud tubes protrude from the ground and into the foundation of a home, and they provide termites with protection from the dry outside air. Many Massachusetts residents recognize mud tubes as an alarming indication of a termite presence, but few recognize the small dots of mud that termites leave on drywall inside of homes as a sign of a termite infestation. In addition to outdoor mud tubes and indoor mud dots, termite infestations should be suspected when homeowners find areas of split or raised flooring. Of all the areas of a home, bottom floors are the most susceptible to termite damage due to this area’s close proximity to the soil where termites dwell. Termite-damaged floors may sound hollow, and in these cases, subfloors and baseboards should be checked for termite damage.

Have you ever found mud tubes within your home’s crawl space?