If I move to a new house, will I bring termites with me from my old one?

A reader e-mailed in this question:

"We've been renting a house for the last couple of years and am moving into a new one that I own. We have recently been seeing all these flying bugs around and we have realized they are termites. There are a lot more recently and they are just everywhere. We are moving in two weeks and are very worried that we will bring the termites with us from the old house into our new one. Can this happen?"
Yes, it is possible - but not the way you think.

The termites flying around are not really a big risk for you.

They don't live for very long after they start their flight, dying within about 24 hours if they don't get to a spot to start a new colony.

To avoid them coming with you, just don't move during a swarm - they only last for about half an hour anyway, so it shouldn't be that much of an inconvenience.

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One thing you do need to be worried about, however, is that it is at least possible that there is a colony in some of your furniture that has wood in it. This mainly depends on the kind of termites you have in your old house. If they are subterranean termites, this probably won't happen. This kind of termite lives in tunnels connected between the ground and the wood in the structure of your home. If you see little lines of mud and dirt around the foundation or wood of your house, that if you break them are hollow inside, this is the type of termite you have. If, however, you have drywood termites, they can start very small colonies even within a specific piece of furniture. This kind of termite is easily moved from place to place because of how small their colonies are. You might want to have the place inspected so that the pest control company can tell you what kind you have and whether you need to have your furniture checked out.

Usually it is not that difficult to tell if a piece of furniture is infested. You will see little tiny dots on it that look discolored, where the termites have dug holes and filled them up with feces. You will also see little tiny pellets around the furniture, where the termites have pushed out waste from the colony and then resealed the holes behind them. If you have a question about termites you want answered, submit it here.

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