What You Need to Know About Termites in Utah

Termite activity is widespread throughout 75% of Utah, putting homeowners in the state at high risk of costly damages.
Written by Kara Vanderbeek
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Termite activity in
is widespread throughout more than three-quarters of the state. Knowing strategies for infestation prevention may save you thousands of dollars in damages down the road.
There are two main types of termites that feed on the wood of Utah homes: drywood and subterranean termites. While they’re not dangerous to humans or pets, they do pose a major inconvenience when found feasting on the foundations of your home.
To help you stay protected from these pesky creatures,
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How to tell if you have a termite infestation

The damage of a termite infestation may appear as if out of nowhere. However, if you understand the tell-tale warning signs and pay close attention, you may be able to catch an infestation before it causes too much destruction.
To detect termite infestation, keep an eye out for the following signs:
  • Mud tubes: Mud tubes appear as a clay-like, hardened coating over surfaces. Termites construct them to conceal and protect themselves. You may find them along basement walls or your home’s foundation.
  • Discarded wings: Wings littered around window sills or your home signify that reproductive termites have swarmed, meaning that your colony is mature and looking to spread. 
  • Loosened or sagged hardwood floors: Loose or saggy-feeling hardwood floors can indicate the presence of subterranean termites.
  • Hollow-sounding walls: If you tap the wood structures in your home and hear a hollow sound, termites have likely formed internal tunnels within the wood.
You might also notice bubbling wall paint or clumpy debris near decorative or structural wood.
Any moist or humid environment can act as a breeding ground for termites, as they need moisture to survive. Take care of any leaks or areas of moisture in your home that will attract termites.

Are termites a problem in Utah?

According to the US Forest Service’s map of
Termite Infestation Probability Zones
, the southern part of Utah is the most likely to have termite damage and is located in the moderate to heavy probability zone.
Termites are less likely to infest the northern part of the state, which is located in a slight to moderate probability zone.
Regardless of which area of Utah you call home, it is important to understand the types of termites that may infest your home to protect yourself from costly damages. The two types of termites in the Beehive State are subterranean and drywood.

Subterranean termites 

Subterranean termites build extensive underground colonies with mud tubes up to 100 yards long. They can live up to 25 years and feed on their main food source of cellulose.
Eastern subterranean termites swarm during the day throughout March and May, and arid-land subterranean termites swarm during the day throughout spring and fall. Swarms typically occur on a warm day after a rainfall.

Drywood termites 

Less common in Utah, drywood termites create their nests inside dry wood structures such as roofs and walls. These termites typically swarm in the daytime throughout the fall and tend to enter homes through exposed wood or infested items, such as furniture.
A distinct sign of a drywood termite infestation is the appearance of frass, or hexagonal fecal pellets about one millimeter long.

What to do if you have termites

There are a few steps you may take to prevent or control a termite infestation:
  • Remove any wood that a termite colony may infest from your property
  • Check for any leaks or areas of high moisture within your home
  • Pay attention to any signs of mud tubes or hollowed wood
If you notice any signs of infestation, seek help from a pest control professional immediately to complete a thorough inspection of your home and exterminate the colony. 
Different types of termite treatment that a pest control professional may use include:
  • A physical barrier made out of steel mesh or sand
  • A biological control agent, such as fungi or nematodes
  • Liquid soil-applied termiticide
  • Termite bait traps
  • Wood treatments
The treatment for severe infestations is often fumigation. This requires draping a tent over the entirety of your house and spraying toxic gasses inside that will kill all termites in the building. Make sure to remove all pets and children from the house for at least 24 hours.

How to save money on homeowners insurance

Damage to your home can be expensive. The USDA estimates that American homeowners spend at least $1 billion a year on controlling and repairing Formosan termite damage.
While termite damage is not covered by most insurance companies, having the right insurance coverage will protect you from other unexpected home incidents.
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Over 75% of Utah is vulnerable to termite activity, making it very likely that any Utah home falls victim to a termite infestation.
Utah homeowners should have annual termite inspections. If a home is using a bait station, it should be checked every few months to ensure it is functioning appropriately. A liquid treatment should last approximately five years.
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