Termites in trees are highly destructive little critters. They are one of the most hardworking insects on the planet; so hardworking they can also wreak havoc on any wooden structures.
While termites do us a favour by recycling dead trees and stumps, the risk of attacking your house is always there. They will often start by moving into decaying trees nearby, eating them from the inside out.
Without a solid base to keep an infected tree stable, it can fall and you definitely won’t like to be anywhere near it when that happens. This is why it’s important to perform some precautionary measures to protect yourself and your trees from these pests.
If you see signs of termites in trees near your house they should be treated by a termite control expert as soon as possible.
Get to Know the Culprit
Like ants, a colony (of about 250,000 termites) is divided into a caste system where each group has a different role to play. These include:
- Swarmers or flying termites in search of the perfect place to start a new colony.
- A king and queen to produce the offspring and grow the colony.
- Soldiers to guard the nest entries and exits from intruders.
- Worker termites to keep the colony members fed, tend to eggs and repair the nest.
- Worker termites make up the majority of the population. They rapidly ingest dead and rotting trees to obtain the moisture and cellulose the colony needs to survive.
However, not all termite species feast on dead logs and stumps. For example, subterranean termites often called ‘white ants’ are extremely common and found in living plants and trees.
Signs of Termites in Trees
Termites do leave signs they have entered your trees so here are things to look for.
- Take a close look at the base of the tree. You might see some wood shavings and termite wings around it.
- Moisture is important to termites, so you may see mud tubes on the tree bark they build to keep from being exposed.
- Drill the tree trunk to its middle section. If the trunk is unstable and hollow, the termites could be on their way to colonising it. You may see some termites appear soon after drilling. If not, insert a blade of grass through the hole, pull it out, and see if there are termites on it.
- Get a shovel and dig the soil around the roots. The majority of damaging termites nest in the soil around the tree base.
How to Protect Your Trees from Termites?
Termites in trees can be a nasty problem, so taking action immediately is important.
- Remove dead or diseased parts of the tree and burn it immediately.
- Locate where the termites are coming from and destroy the colony. The nest could be in the base of the tree but also nearby like a woodpile or tree stump.
- Treat the soil around and under the infected tree with liquid termiticides or chemical barriers like fipronil, and Imidacloprid. This will block the termites from entering all potential routes for a certain period of time.
- Spray some termiticides around the perimeter of your yard, including the trunks of other trees.
- Set up termite bait stations in infected areas as well as around the perimeter of your property to intercept termites scouting for new food sources.
Lastly, the use of termiticides is ideally done by a local pest control company to ensure the best application and consideration of your family and pets. Once eradicated, make it your goal to inspect your trees for termite activity on a regular basis.