Pest Resources

Termites in Massachusetts


Termite infestations are known for their ability to cause extensive damage to wooden structures, costing property owners large sums of money in repairs to structural damage and wooden objects.

Termites can be challenging to control once the termites have established themselves in an area. The average termite colony in Massachusetts and the rest of the United States contains sixty thousand to more than a million termites. Termites never stop eating wood, and a termite queen is an egg-laying machine; living more than twenty-five years, she can lay up to a whopping two thousand eggs a day!

There are several things that you can do to help prevent a termite infestation from developing in wood sources, and it is also essential to be aware of the signs of termite activity and termite damage so that you can take action with DIY pest control or a pest control professional immediately if necessary.

In this article, we will discuss the signs of Subterranean termites in Massachusetts, what termites look like, and how to prevent termite infestations.

Let’s get started!

What do termites in Massachusetts look like?

  • Termites are winged insects and range in color from white to dark brown. The Subterranean species of termites are around an eighth of an inch. Sometimes they can be mistaken for ants.

  • Termites have two straight antennae, and the ant has bent antennae.

  • Termites have a broad waist, an ant has narrow waist.

  • All swarming Termites have four wings of equal size; an ant has rear wings that are smaller than the front wings.

Most people think of termites as wood-eating pests. However, there are a few termites that eat different cellulose-containing things. Some termites will eat dead leaves, and some eat soil. Nevertheless, the species of termite most likely to damage your home is the wood-eating variety.

Types of termites found in Massachusetts

Termites are very destructive insects. The Eastern Subterranean termite is the most commonly found termite in the U.S. The Eastern subterranean termite is active in Massachusetts, Boston, Worcester, and Springfield, from Southern Ontario and Eastern states, which include Texas. Termites are much less likely to be found in Cape Cod.

Termite Infestation Probability Zones (TIP Zones)

The termite infestation probability zones, state that most of Massachusetts is located within TIP Zone # 2, which is moderate to heavy. This means the potential for termite damage is significant. Areas with a higher rating require more termite control measures to meet the International Residential Code building standards for new homes than areas with less frequent activity.

What types of termites are common in the United States?

The most common is the Subterranean termite; in the States, there are also Dampwood termites, Formosan termites, and Drywood termites.

Subterranean termites in Massachusetts

Subterranean termites are the most difficult to detect. This is because these pests live underground in the soil. They can be found in rotting tree stumps or in wooden structures that are damp and rotting. These termites get into homes from the soil to the structure. They build mud tubes from their own feces, wood, and soil.

Foraging worker termites look for wood, and when they find a food source, they leave a chemical trail, sending signals to other termites to follow the trail to the food, as ants do.

Drywood termite

The Drywood termite is slightly larger than a Subterranean termite and measures around three-quarters of an inch. Drywood termites are dark brown to black.

Formosan Termites 

The largest species of termites in Massachusetts is the Formosan termite. These pests reach up to an inch and are dark brown to black.

Dampwood termites in Massachusetts are around three-quarters of an inch. Dampwood termites are light brown to yellowish-brown. They are commonly found in damp and rotting wood and mulch.

Does Massachusetts suffer from termite infestation and termite damage from Drywood termites?

Drywood termites do not inhabit Massachusetts. Sadly, it is possible for this termite species to inhabit Massachusetts if they were to travel in wooden objects like wine crates, furniture, and other wood. They could then build colonies. A licensed pest control professional will be able to identify a species of termite that is not native to the state.

Professional pest control

It is essential to maintain termite activity and prevention in states like Massachusetts. If you are a homeowner in Massachusetts, speak to a local termite control expert for advice on how to protect your home from termite infestations and damage.

What are the signs of termite infestations?

Like other pests, termites leave signs of activity. Here are some of the significant signs a homeowner should know about:

Wood damage: Tap wood structures, furniture, fencing, decks, door frames, and window frames; if it sounds hollow, it is a sign of termites. If you notice damaged wood surfaces, peeling paint, and crumbling wood, it probably is due to termites.

Discarded termite wings: If you see piles of discarded termite wings indoors or outside, they could be from mating termites.

Sawdust: You might notice sawdust in some cases near wood surfaces. It is a sign termites are present.

Termite droppings: look like small pellets, also known as frass, are an indication of a termite infestation.

Mud tubes: Mud tubes are small tunnels the width of a pencil; termites use them to keep moist when they travel to food sources. If you notice mud tubes on the exterior walls of your home, it is an indication of a Subterranean termite infestation.

How to prevent Subterranean termites in Massachusetts

Your best bet to prevent termite infestation is by making termite inspections of the house and exterior of the house. By checking your home regularly, you can prevent termite damage. Inspect door frames, walls, foundations, window frames, decks, and porches, for example.

Preventative maintenance

  • Make regular inspections of your home. Keep trees pruned and shrubs cut back to avoid direct contact with your home’s siding.

  • Termites like moist environments avoid over-watering plants and grass, especially near the home’s foundation. Also, keep mulch away from the home’s foundation.

  • Chipping and peeling paint on the home’s exterior can attract termite damage, so have it repainted.

  • Cover the soil in the crawl spaces with plastic sheeting.

  • Repair leaking pipes and faucets, and fix cracks and crevices with caulk. Check gutters and roofing for moisture build-up and leaks.

  • Remove firewood away from home, at least twenty feet away. Remove garden debris like leaves and old tree stumps.

When Do Termites Swarm in Massachusetts?

Generally, termites will swarm to reproduce and establish new termite colonies on a warm day after rainfall. Swarms may occur during the winter in heated buildings. The swarming habits of the most common species in Massachusetts are described below.

And finally,

Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover termite damage and damage caused by other insects. It can be costly; if you think you might have termites or have signs of termites, it is essential to call a pest professional right away.

We discussed ‘Termites in Massachusetts’, and how to prevent termites in Massachusetts, what they look like, and the signs of termites. We hope you have found the article helpful.

Good luck!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

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