What to Know About Termites in Michigan

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Termites prefer warmer climates, so termites in Michigan are less common than they are further south. But make no mistake: you can still encounter termites in Michigan, especially if you live in the southern regions of the Great Lakes State.
As a homeowner, you’ll want to know how to identify and prevent these pests—hopefully before they start snacking on your foundations.
Home and car insurance broker app Jerry wants to save you time and money on all aspects of home ownership. That’s why Jerry has compiled this guide to explain what you need to know about termites in Michigan.
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How to tell if you have a termite infestation

The scariest thing about termites is that they can do significant damage to your home without you knowing before it’s too late. They’re not as easy to spot as most other pests, so you’ll need to stay vigilant and keep an eye out for the warning signs.
Subterranean termites are native to Michigan. The type you should keep an eye out for is the eastern subterranean termite, which swarms between March and May on warm, rainy days. But they can show up any time of year, even going after insulated homes in winter.
Here are some of the telltale indicators of a termite infestation:
  • Blistering wood flooring. Eastern subterranean termites go after subflooring, which leads to wood flooring looking blistered and uneven.
  • Discarded wings. When termites are ready to start mating and settle a new colony, you’ll find shed wings near windows, doors, and other access points.
  • Mud tubes. These can be difficult to spot and sort of look like mud is leaking out of your home near the foundations.
  • Long grooves of damage are left behind when termites snack on your home. Look for grooves and pocks in walls, floors, roofs, and anywhere else that’s wooden.

Are termites a problem in Michigan?

The US Forest Service’s map of termite infestation probability zones places Michigan in Termite Infestation Probability Zone 3: “slight to moderate risk.”
Termites are more common in the southern half of Michigan, including small towns and big cities like Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Detroit, and Ann Arbor. Termites are less common the further north you go, especially north of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
There are two types of termites you may encounter in Michigan, one far more prevalent than the other. Let’s take a look at them:

Subterranean termites

The most dangerous type of termite is, unfortunately, the type you’ll encounter in the Wolverine State. Subterranean termites are the hardest to detect, sneaking out of underground colonies to chew their way into (and through) your foundation. They look whitish-yellow, so it’s not always easy to spot them.

Drywood termites

Drywood termites aren’t native to Michigan, and encountering them is extremely rare. If you do find drywood termites, they likely hitched a ride via transported furniture or another wooden object. They leave behind droppings that look sort of like salt and pepper and tend to gravitate toward dry wood in attics and bedrooms.

What to do if you have termites

You may be tempted to run out and buy termite solutions over-the-counter, but these don’t always work and are very dangerous to children and pets. Your best bet is to contact a pest control company as soon as you know you have termites. 
Here are three solutions a pest control company can try:
  • Bait stations work similarly to ant traps. Termites are attracted to the stations and bring poison back to the nest. This method is the least invasive option, but it could take weeks or months to have an effect.
  • Soil treatments are like small trenches dug like a moat around your home, filled with pesticide, and then refilled. Some are alternatively sprayed onto the foundation and the lowest-level wood in your home. Termites will cross that barrier without detecting it and die.
  • Fumigation is only used to combat major infestations. This method involves putting a massive tent over your home and filling that tent with gas, which eradicates the infestation and kills every other creepy-crawly that’s taken up residence in your home. Make sure to remove all people and pets from the home for at least 24 hours.

How to save money on homeowners insurance

Now for the bad news: homeowner’s insurance doesn’t usually cover termite damage. And that damage can get extreme if you don’t identify the threat early and take every measure possible to stop those termites in their tracks.
However, you still need a dependable, affordable home insurance policy to protect you from all of the perils insurance does cover. And that’s where Jerry can help.
Jerry is a revolutionary shopping and licensed broker app that finds you competitive quotes to compare and helps you switch policies in-app. Jerry can even help you cancel an old policy upon request! 
Jerry can save you money by bundling your car insurance with your home or renters insurance, too.
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FAQs

Yes. Termites in Michigan are typically found south of the Great Lakes, usually in springtime. The subterranean termite is the most prevalent species, though you’ll rarely encounter drywood termites too.
The eastern subterranean termites in Michigan look sort of like ants, but they’re usually whitish-yellow with a bulbous “neck” area near their heads. They’re tiny and not always easy to spot.

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