What You Need to Know About Termites in Georgia

Georgia is home to two species of destructive termites, meaning regular inspections for infestation are recommended to minimize structural damage.
Written by Andrew Biro
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Due to its warm, wet climate, Georgia has a high risk for potential termite damage, especially during the first half of the year.
If you’re a homeowner living in Georgia, you’ll need to know the basics of termite identification, when to expect swarms, how to recognize potential infestations, and what to do if termites decide to make their home in yours.
Failure in any of these categories can result in a full-blown infestation, leading to thousands of dollars in damage to your home. Fortunately, the
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has put together a guide on everything you need to know about termites in Georgia.

How to tell if you have a termite infestation

Despite the amount of damage they’re capable of causing, termite infestations can be hard to spot, making them all the more dangerous. Large colonies are able to consume an astonishing one pound of wood per day, and can seriously jeopardize your house’s structural integrity if left unchecked.
In order to minimize the risk of potential termite damage, regularly check for these common signs of infestation:
  • Droppings: Termite droppings, referred to as frass, look like small piles of sawdust
  • Hollow-sounding walls: Knock on walls and other wooden structures of your house. If an irregular or hollow sound is produced, you may have termites
  • Discarded wings: Though worker termites don’t have wings, the colony’s reproductive termites do. If you notice a lot of discarded wings—especially on window sills or below them—it’s safe to say you probably have termites
  • Mud tubes: Subterranean termites construct thin tunnels of mud that they use to enter your home. If you start finding these along your foundation, call a professional
  • Damaged wood: Termite-damaged wood often has a hexagonal pattern
Warped window and door frames, swollen floors, peeling/bubbling paint, and tiny round holes in drywall are a few other common signs indicating a potential termite infestation.
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Are termites a problem in Georgia?

Unfortunately, termites are a problem across all of Georgia, and the state is considered a Termite Infestation Probability (TIP) Zone #1 location, meaning the potential for termite damage is very high. It’s estimated that Georgian residents spend between $200 and $300 million each year to treat and repair damages caused by termite infestation.
If you own a home in Georgia, learning about termites is a necessary task, and will likely save you headaches in the long run. Here are the two most common types of termites in Georgia and when to look for them.

Subterranean termites

As the name suggests, subterranean termites—including the Formosan “super-termite”—build vast underground colonies in moist soil, from which they can then burrow into your home’s foundation almost undetected, making them extremely dangerous.
Subterranean termites, especially the Formosan, are the most destructive type, which means you’ll want to keep a sharp lookout for swarms. The eastern subterranean termite swarms during daylight from February to May, while the dark southeastern subterranean termite usually swarms in daylight between March and June. Formosan termites typically swarm at night during the late spring.

Drywood termites

Drywood termites, on the other hand, are drawn to hardwood and do not require the same levels of moisture as their subterranean or dampwood cousins. These types of termites frequently enter homes through wood furniture or some other accessible outdoor wood.
Expect swarms during the first six months of the year. Southeastern drywood termites typically swarm at night during the spring, while the tropical rough-headed drywood termite usually swarms at night from late spring to mid-summer. 

What to do if you have termites

If you think your home is infested with termites, there are both amateur and professional solutions you can employ:
  • Natural remedies: While not recommended for active or large colonies, there are a few natural treatment options you can use if you want to avoid chemical pesticides. Clove oil, warm water mixed with salt, lemon juice mixed with vinegar, and paraffin oil have all succeeded in deterring termites when sprayed on active areas.
  • Bait stations: As one of the least invasive—but also the most time-consuming—approaches to termite removal, bait stations are a treatment option you can do yourself, if necessary. Traditionally, however, exterminators will set up a series of small plastic containers around the edge of your home, in order to attract and kill termites.
  • Fumigation: If you’re dealing with a large infestation, fumigation is a tried and true method of remedying it. This process involves exterminators covering your entire house with a tent, into which they’ll pump a gas that kills all termites in the structure. You, your family, and any pets will have to leave the property for at least 24 hours, if not longer.
  • Liquid pesticide barrier: In dealing with subterranean termites, pest control companies will dig a moat around your home, into which a chemical termiticide is applied. This will kill any termites who attempt to cross the trench.

Termite prevention

The best any homeowner can do is attempt to prevent infestations before they happen. This can be achieved in a number of ways:
  • Don’t store scrap wood or mulch near or under the house
  • Install termite bait monitoring stations
  • Seal small gaps and expansion joints
  • Check underneath carpets and rugs for damaged or hollowed-out wood
  • Repair or replace screens on windows and doors
  • Trim trees and shrubs back from the house
  • Don’t let water accumulate next to the foundation
  • Routinely check for termite droppings, wings, and mud tubes
Though they aren’t foolproof, these methods can help stave off serious damage to your home, saving you time and money.
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How to save money on homeowners insurance

Unless you have a unique policy, standard
homeowners insurance
will not cover damages caused by termite infestations, meaning it’s up to you to identify the warning signs before the worst damage is done.
That being said, you can rely on your homeowners policy to cover most other common perils (such as  storm, wind, or fire damage), which means finding the right plan is incredibly important. Fortunately, home and
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As termites are found throughout the state, most homes—but especially older homes—in Georgia will likely have experienced termite damage at some point in their history. For this reason, it is recommended that new homeowners consult with termite control experts to set up a termite prevention and control program.
It is recommended that homeowners in Georgia have their homes professionally inspected for termites each year, in order to determine whether or not they need to be re-treated. Most treatment solutions last between a few years and a decade, but it’s best to have a pest-control expert give their opinion on your current situation.
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