What You Need to Know About Termites in Virginia

Termites are a problem in Virginia year-round and can pose major risks for your home.
Written by Kara Vanderbeek
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
The warm climate in
draws in many visitors throughout the year. However, some visitors are less than welcome than others, including those of the subterranean termite variety.
If you own a home in Virginia, it's crucial to understand how best to respond to a termite infestation and avoid the millions of dollars of damages caused by these pests each year.
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How to tell if you have a termite infestation

Despite their ability to cause major damage to your home, these pests are easy to miss and often go unnoticed for extended periods of time.
Know the warning signs of a termite infestation so you can detect and treat the problem before serious damage has been caused. 
Signs of termite activity include:
  • Discarded wings: Once a colony has found a place they like, they will begin to shed their wings around your windows and doors
  • Thin, brittle wood: If the wood in your house appears brittle or sounds hollow when tapped, termites have likely excavated the interior of the wood
  • Sagging walls, ceilings, or floors
  • Mud-tubes: Termites use these tubes to travel to a food source and will often be found stretching from the floor to the ceiling 
  • Tiny holes or bubbling paint
While knowing the signs of an infestation can prevent further damage, you can avoid an infestation entirely by eliminating termite’s access to water and food in your home:
  • Eliminate any sources of moisture from the perimeter or interior of your home 
  • Divert sources of water away from your home
Divert tree branches and plants away from your home
  • Keep trash containers sealed and cleaned
  • Stack firewood away from your home and inspect it carefully before bringing it into your home

Are termites a problem in Virginia?

Yes, termites are a year-round problem in Virginia. 
Two main types of termites are commonly found throughout the state: subterranean termites and Formosan termites. 

Subterranean termites

The most common termite species, subterranean termites build their colonies underground and need soil contact to survive. These termites are also the most destructive and can cause homes to weaken and collapse. 
Swarms of this species typically occur on a warm day after a rainfall between March and May. These termites infest homes by building mud tubes to access untreated walls, doors, or trims

Formosan termites 

A single colony of Formosan termites can contain up to several million termites and can quickly chew through any type of wood in your home. 
These termites are extremely aggressive and destructive, and quickly expand their colonies through the use of underground tunnels

What to do if you have termites

If you suspect you have a termite infestation, call a professional pest control company to exterminate the population. Depending on the infestation, termite treatments may include:
  • Non-chemical treatments: To keep termites out of your home without the use of insecticides, a physical barrier of steel mesh or sand may be used to block the insect's entrance. Biological control agents, such as nematodes and fungi, are also effective at eliminating infestations.
  • Chemical treatments: Chemical treatments must be applied by a pest control professional, and may involve the use of liquid soil-applied termiticide, termite baits, termiticide impregnated building materials or wood treatments.

How to save money on homeowners insurance

Unfortunately, termite damage is not covered by most home insurance policies
However, knowing the warning signs of an infestation may save you thousands of dollars in repairs. 
To protect yourself from situations that are covered by insurance,
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Yes. It is estimated the subterranean termites will attack more than 1 in 5 homes in high activity areas of Virginia.
The frequency of treatments is dependent on the type of treatment you’re using. Bait stations should be monitored by a professional every few months, while liquid termiticide can last for up to five years.
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