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Termites in Missouri


Worldwide there are 2,500 species of termites. Most of them are found in Tropical areas. Forty-five of the species are found in the U.S. Most of them are found in the southern states. In Missouri, four of the species have been reported there. All of them are closely related to each other.

Termites in Missouri that are active across the state range from Kansas City to Springfield and Jefferson City to St. Louis, Missouri. Termite problems can cause significant structural damage to homes. A termite problem should not be ignored.

In this article, we will discuss termites in Missouri, tip zones, signs of a termite infestation in Missouri, and when to call a termite control expert.

Let’s get started!

What are termites?

Termites are small social insects that live in colonies; the workers in termite colonies are termites that chew and eat wooden objects, paper, cardboard, and other materials containing cellulose and, therefore, can cause serious damage to wooden structures.

Within the natural ecosystem, termites are beneficial insects because as they eat through dead and decaying wood and other cellulose-containing plant matter, they release nutrients into the soil. We see things differently in human environments; to us, they are pests.

TERMITES DO NOT SLEEP; worker termites can eat wood all day, every day!

The caste system within a termite colony

A Termite colony consists of three main types of members: Winged reproductives (termite swarmers) and the queen, worker termites, and soldier termites. Each has a role.

Winged reproductive termites in Missouri

These termites go through a change known as secondary reproductives and leave a mature colony to swarm and mate with male-winged termites and produce a new colony. The new colonies have new queens who lay eggs.

Soldier termites in Missouri

Soldiers are responsible for colony defense. They do not cause termite damage to wood. They signal to warn other members of the colony of danger by tapping their heads on the wood. This tapping sound can be heard within the wood.

Worker termites in Missouri

Worker termites are pale in color, with soft bodies. Their mouthparts are tough and can chew through wood.

Worker termites eat wood to gain the cellulose it contains to feed to other members of the termite colony. These termites will feed soldiers, reproductive, and the young termites in the colony.

Worker termites are also responsible for grooming other members in the colony and constructing and repairing the nest.

Queen termites in Missouri

The queens live within a nest and have the sole role of laying eggs. Subterranean Termite queens can live for many years; 15 to 17 years is average, although some can live for as long as 30 years.

What termite species are found in Missouri?

The most common termites in Missouri are the Eastern subterranean termites; other different species of termites found in Missouri are:

Eastern subterranean termites in Missouri

The Eastern subterranean termite is found throughout the continental United States and is the most common termite to be found in Missouri. The heat and humidity in Missouri make the environment perfect for these termite colonies.

The eastern subterranean termite lives underground in the soil. The subterranean termites build vast galleries and chambers in the soil and use mud tubes to get to wooden structures.

Eastern subterranean termites cause the most significant damage to properties in Missouri.

Drywood termites in Missouri

The species of Drywood termites are not native species in Missouri. It has been known, however, for Drywood termites to travel within wooden objects like wine crates and furniture and establish termite colonies in a new state.

They live inside wooden objects like baseboards, furniture, fence posts, decks, and porches, unlike Subterranean termites who live in the soil.

Formosan termites in Missouri

There have not been any recorded infestation cases of Formosan termites in Missouri. Formosan termites have been found in the southwest of Tennessee.

Are termites a problem in Missouri homes?

The Termite Infestation Probability Zones (TIP Zones) have Missouri in TIP Zone 2, putting the area of Missouri at a moderate to the heavy risk of termite damage. The chances of you getting them in your Missouri home will be high.

This means under the termite infestation probability zones, Missouri requires more termite control measures to meet the International Residential Code for building standards for new homes.

Signs of a termite infestation and termite damage in a Missouri home

Mud tubes: The tell-tale mud tubes can be found along the walls, crawl spaces, and foundations of a Missouri home. They build mud tubes to keep them moist as they travel from the nest to food sources of wood.

The mud tubes are pencil thick and made from mud, saliva, and termite feces.

Hollow-sounding wood: Termite damage can leave wood hollow; if you tap on wood and it sounds hollow, chances are you have subterranean termite infestations within it.

Damaged wood: In a Missouri home, you might see signs of damaged wood, like blisters in your wood flooring as if it is water-damaged. If left untreated, it can lead to severe damage.

Piles of discarded wings: The piles of wings can be found outside in the yard or inside the home on window sills and near doors.

Sawdust material: Piles of a sawdust-looking material or fecal pellets lying on a wooden object.

How to prevent termites in Missouri

  • Remove dead trees, piles of logs, rotting wood, and tree stumps from the yard.

  • Keep branches, shrubs, and trees trimmed away from the house walls and foundations.

  • Unblock gutters; water can attract termites and lead to termite damage.

  • Keep mulch away from the foundations of the home. Do not overwater the grass and soil near the foundations.

  • Use termite-treated lumber for new constructions.

  • Do not bring used furniture into the home; it could be infested wood.

What to do if you have Termites in Missouri

Please do not ignore a termite problem in Missouri. Termite infestations can be around a while before the termite damage has been noticed. Call the services of a pest control expert.

When do termite swarms occur in Missouri?

When a colony becomes too large and mature, the colony releases large groups of new kings and queens called Alates from the nest. They mate, discard their wings and build a new colony. This termite activity and termite swarms are what most people see and can be mistaken for winged ants who also do the same.

The swarming termite activity takes place at different times in spring, summer, and early fall, depending on the termite species.

The dark southeastern subterranean termites generally swarm in Missouri during the day from March to June.

The light southeastern subterranean termite swarms in Missouri during the day between August and October.

Termites can swarm inside a heated Missouri home in winter!

When to call pest control for termite infestations in a Missouri home

In cases of severe termite infestation and live termites, seek professional treatment for termite pest control. A termite control expert has the knowledge to kill termites and techniques to provide the proper termite treatment. They will discuss the termite treatment suitable.

Pest control professionals will also be able to give advice on the prevention of termites. They can place a termite treatment like bait stations (a toxic food source) which can stop the population of termites. The termite baiting systems are used together with barrier treatments around your home’s foundation.

Pest control experts will come and make an inspection of your property on a regular basis and treat termites with termite control treatments accordingly.

And finally,

Five billion dollars worth of termite damage and pest control is spent in the United States yearly on termite infestations. Most homeowners insurance does not cover termite damage to structural wood. Therefore, it is essential at the first sighting of common signs of termite activity and visible damage in a Missouri home to use termite control before extensive damage is caused to wood structures and other wooden items.

We discussed Termites in Missouri, pest control, and signs of a termite infestation. We hope you have found it 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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