What You Need to Know About Termites in Maryland

Subterranean termites can wreak havoc on your Maryland home all year long.
Written by Heather Bernhard
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Native subterranean termites are active across
. If you live in an older home or have wooden structures on your property, you may already have an infestation. 
Unfortunately, these tiny insects are only the size of a grain of rice. And since they live deep underground, you may not know you have a problem until it’s too late.
, we like our users to be as informed as possible about everything insurance-related. So, we’ve compiled a guide to everything you need to know about termites in Maryland. Keep reading to learn more.
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How to tell if you have a termite infestation

You can have a termite infestation in your walls for years before you start to notice any damage. Still, if you live in a predominantly wooden structure, it’s wise to look for warning signs proactively. 
These tiny insects can cause millions of dollars in damage and may literally eat you out of your house.
You can stop an infestation before it’s too late by looking for the following signs: 
  • Discarded wings: you may find discarded wings around your home in mid to late spring when swarmers are active. They are most likely to be located near doors or windows.
  • Unknown insects: termite swarmers are often mistaken for flying ants. To tell the difference, look for a pinched-in waist: ants have one, while termites do not. 
  • Noises in the walls: if a large termite colony is active in your home, you may hear clicking noises or banging inside the walls as they move around.
  • Doors and windows that are difficult to open: when doors and windows that previously functioned well become difficult to open, it may be because termite damage has warped the wood.
  • Damaged wood: an active termite colony will typically leave signs like blisters on the floor, cracks in internal walls, or tunnels in wooden structures. 
  • Mud tubes: mud tubes serve as roads between a termite colony and the wood they consume—like your home. Look for “veins” that run along your foundation or in crawl spaces. 
Key Takeaway Termites can live undetected in your house for a very long time. Be proactive with inspections to avoid unnecessary damage to your home.

Are termites a problem in Maryland?

Maryland sits in the moderate-to-heavy termite risk zone, the second-highest risk zone in the US. This means that most homes in Maryland should be on high alert for termites. Here are the two species you can encounter in the Old Line State: 

Subterranean termites

This termite species is native to Maryland and most likely to be found in your home. As the name implies, these insects live below ground. They are highly social and live in colonies of millions of individuals.
Each colony includes a queen, soldiers, swarmers, and workers. The swarmers may drop tiny wings that you find around your home and are often mistaken for flying ants. 
It is important to note that the termites can travel up to 200 feet from their headquarters to feed on your house.

Drywood Termites

Although drywood termites are not native to Maryland, they are not uncommon in the state. Like many insects, they can travel about the country via shipping containers, wooden crates, and even furniture. 
At up to an inch long, drywood termites are larger than their subterranean counterparts. In addition, they live in smaller colonies (up to 2,500 insects) and prefer to swarm on warm, sunny days. They are more likely to be found in bedrooms, attics, and other dry spaces.
Key Takeaway Be on the lookout for subterranean and drywood termites in Maryland. 

What to do if you have termites

If you suspect you have an active termite infestation, time is of the essence. To mitigate any destruction, act as quickly as possible.

Schedule an inspection

If you see any telltale signs of termites, such as wings or mud tubes, it’s time to call in a professional. An inspector can tell you if you have an active infestation or remnants from an old colony. 

Have your home treated for termites

If you do have an active colony of termites, the inspector can help determine how they’re entering your home and—more importantly—come up with a treatment plan. Termites are notoriously difficult to eliminate, and a DIY plan likely won’t cut it. 
Professionals have the tools and treatment options necessary to eradicate the pests. These typically include: 
  • Liquid barriers: barriers come in chemical and non-chemical forms. They kill termites who attempt to cross them.
  • Bait stations: termites feed on these wooden traps like any other food source. They pick up a chemical insecticide and carry it home to their colony upon entering. This is a slow process that takes months to complete.
  • Fumigation: professionals enclose your home in a special tent, then fill it with insecticide. The chemicals penetrate all the hard-to-reach places in your home, eliminating all termites. Remove all people and pets from the house for 24 hours.

Protect your home from future infestations

It’s essential to take steps to protect your home from termite infestation, regardless of whether you currently have a problem. 
Your inspector can give you tips for home repair and other actions to protect against future issues, but these are some of the most common preventative measures:
  • Don’t let water accumulate near the foundation
  • Keep door and window frames, latticework, and other wood features at least six inches above the ground
  • Never store firewood against walls or in crawl spaces
  • Keep crawl spaces free of moisture and humidity
  • Consider using crushed stone or pea gravel instead of mulch  
Key Takeaway If you suspect you have a termite infestation in your home, it is essential to get treatment as soon as possible.

How to save money on homeowners insurance

Most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover termite damage or removal because the issue is considered “preventable.” There are only two exceptions:
  • Your home completely collapses due to damage
  • A
    covered peril
    directly causes the problem
Even so, it’s important to have a protective home insurance policy at all times.
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Termites are common in Maryland, especially in the central and southern regions. That’s why inspections are vital before purchasing a new home, or before you notice signs of damage in your current home.
To avoid infestation, homeowners in Maryland should have their homes inspected for termites once a year. Liquid barriers can last up to five years or more, while bait stations should be inspected quarterly.
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