Termites Guide




What should I do about termites in a tree?

Jane e-mailed in this question:

"Our house has been inspected for termites and is termite free. However, a pine tree approximately 15 ft. from the house has termites around it 3 or 4 inches underground. We have not seen any swarming. Do we need to take action as to the termites around the pine tree?

Thanks for your help."
You need to call an exterminator and have them come out and get rid of the colony.

This is much too close to your house to let them stay there without doing anything. Some species, particularly Formosan termites, can build underground colonies that range up to 300 feet or so.

Basic Info About Termites

How to Inspect for Termites

Termite Pictures

Ways to Protect Your House

Liquid Treatments

Bait Treatments

Borate Treatments


They live mostly in the South, and they are known to attack trees and could well be your culprit, but fifteen feet isn't far, and most species can dig tunnels that long. If you leave them in the tree, they could eventually build out the colony to the point that they start getting into your house and doing damage. Also, even if they don't, you will see swarming eventually as the colony gets bigger. The swarmers will be looking for a new home, and your house might be the one they pick.

Because you have subterranean termites, your best bet will probably be a bait system. Other kinds of treatment, where you would apply pesticides to the area, might kill or damage the tree.

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