Everything You Need to Know About Termites in Tennessee (2023)

When you’re a homeowner, it’s natural to worry about termites. These pests may be small, but they can have a big impact on your home and cause extensive structural damage, leaving you to foot the bill. In fact, termites are so destructive that they cause over $5 billion in damages to homes across the US every year. That might sound overwhelming, but we’re here to teach you everything you need to know about termites here in Tennessee.

How Common are Termites?

The US Forest Service created a map of zones across the United States as an estimate of overall termite activity. Pest experts use this map to determine whether inspection or prevention is required for protecting homes against termites. Tennessee is in Termite Infestation Probability Zone (TIP Zone), #2: moderate to heavy. This means the potential for your home to experience termite damage is considered significant.

(Video) Pests to Expect in Tennessee- Termites

Experts have estimated that 1 in 5 homes in high-activity areas, like Tennessee, have been or will be attacked by termites at some point. In fact, termites are responsible for 90% of property damage and cause $5 billion in damage each year.

Types of Termites in Tennessee

There are over 2,000 species of termites in the world, all with their own unique appearance and behaviors. Luckily, only 50 of these species can be found here in the United States, and they each fall into one of three main categories: subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. The most common termites in Tennessee are subterranean termites.

Subterranean Termites

The most common termite found in North America—and in Tennessee—is the Eastern subterranean termite. Subterranean termites live underground and create mud tubes, a type of tunnel, to safely travel from their nest to their food sources. They have saw-toothed jaws which allow them to bite off small fragments of wood, which is how they inflict damage on structures such as your home. Subterranean termites are active 24/7, which means they’re constantly eating, making them the most destructive type of termite.

Their colonies have several different castes; king, queen, soldiers, and workers.

(Video) It's termite time in Tennessee!!

  • The worker termites are generally small in size, around ⅛” long. For their entire 2-year lifespan, they will spend 24 hours a day working. In addition to their size, you’ll be able to identify them by their creamy, translucent color.
  • The swarmers are a little bigger, around ⅜” long, with a dark brown body. They’ll also have brown-gray wings, whereas the worker termites will not.

The voracious appetite of eastern subterranean termites makes them particularly destructive. Even a moderate-sized colony of these aggressive termites can do substantial damage before they are discovered within walls where they prefer to feed. To find signs of an infestation of Eastern subterranean termites, check the exterior of your home, close to the ground, for tunnels made of wood and soil called “mud tubes.” If the infestation has progressed enough, you may find softwoods within your home that sound hollow when tapped, uneven and bubbling paint, or discarded wings around window sills and doors.

Dampwood Termites

While these wide-ranging termites are most common on the West coast, they are also found in eastern states as far south as Florida. Dampwood termites get their name from their preference for moist, decaying wood, and can be often found in rotting stumps and logs.

At about ½” in length, dampwood termites are larger than other species and while they don’t usually target homes, they are capable of quickly damaging buried fence posts or poles, especially in moist ground.

Formosan Termites

Formosan termites are actually a species of subterranean termites, but are often differentiated due to their ability to cause extreme damage. A typical termite colony houses several thousands of termites, but a Formosan colony can contain several million. While they do live underground, they can also create nests aboveground, allowing them to easily travel as they rapidly destroy a structure.

(Video) Termites in Tennessee - All-State Pest & Lawn

A formosan colony also has a caste system: reproductive termites, soldiers, and workers.

  • The formosan swarmers are around the same size as the Eastern subterranean swarmers, measuring around 5/16”. The main difference is their coloring: pale yellow to brownish-yellow.
  • Formosan soldiers will have a more rounded head that tapers to the front.

To the untrained eye, a swarm of formosan termites might look a lot like flying ants, but there are differences. Termites have straight antennae and longish, flat bodies, where ants have curved antennae and a shorter body with a pinched-in thorax. Ants will have a more narrow waist, whereas a termite will have a more narrow waist. Formosan termites enter homes through any wood contacting the soil and use mud tubes as their highway into structures where they colonize and feed.

Signs That You Have Termites

Termites are small and discreet, making it difficult to spot them before it’s too late. Instead of searching for the pests themselves, it’s easier to keep a lookout for signs of termite activity instead. These include:

  • Uneven flooring, including loose tiles, buckling wood, and warped laminate
  • Stuck windows or doors that used to open easily
  • Maze-like patterns or pinpoint holes on walls, floorboards, or furniture
  • Hollow-sounding wood
  • Flying termites or piles of their discarded wings

If you’re still uncertain whether or not you have an infestation, consult a termite exterminator who can perform a thorough inspection of your home.

(Video) Dickson Tennessee Termite and Pest Control - How to recognize termites in your home

How to Prevent Termites

While there are precautions you can take to help prevent termites, they aren’t foolproof. What works for your neighbor might not work for you and vice versa—it depends on your unique home, the soil around it, and how vigilant you are.

Some steps you can take include:

  • Reduce soil to wood contact: remove plants, wood, mulch, timber, and other materials from your foundation, creating at least a six-inch gap. Store firewood at least 20 feet from your home.
  • Promote soil drainage: ensure drain pipes are turned away from your foundation and there are no leaky fixtures.
  • Remove access: seal the gap between utility lines and where they enter your home to eliminate potential entry points.
  • Inspect new lumber: inspect all pieces of lumber for signs of termites before bringing them onto your property.
  • Reduce moisture levels in and around your home:Crawlspace encapsulation can help keep moisture levels low. Repairing leaking faucets, water pipes, and exterior AC units will also help.
  • Replace broken or missing weather stripping and loose mortar around your foundation, windows, and doors.
  • Where possible, replace landscaping mulch with cellulose-free alternatives.
  • Monitor your foundation for the formation of mud tubes, as well as check windows and doors for discarded wings.

How to Get Rid of Termites

Termites may be intimidating, but that doesn’t mean you need to panic if you discover an infestation. While DIY options may sound tempting, they’re often ineffective and actually give termites more time to do damage, costing you more money in the long run. The three main ways to treat termites are:

  • Soil treatments are best used against subterranean termites because they live in the soil. The treated soil will act as a barrier around your home to keep termites from crossing. A trench will be dug around your home, treated with termiticide, then refilled.
  • Wood treatments can deter termites and prevent further damage, and existing wood can be treated with borate-based chemicals to kill and deter termites. Wood can be treated prior to construction to prevent termites, and some woods like cedar and redwood are naturally resistant to termites.
  • Bait systems, such as the Sentricon® Termite Colony Elimination System with Always Active™ we use in our professional termite treatments, are an effective way to completely destroy a colony. Stations with bait are placed around the perimeter of your home and monitored on a schedule to determine if there’s any termite activity.

Instead of attempting termite treatment on your own, contact Sherrill Pest Control at888-656-3345for professional termite treatment! We’ve been helping neighbors just like you reclaim their homes from termites since 1965, so you can feel confident you’re in capable hands. Our state-of-the-art technology eliminates existing termites and prevents future infestations from taking hold, providing lasting protection for your biggest investment.

(Video) Termite Control La Vergne TN

We offer termite treatment services in the following locations:

  • Beechgrove
  • Christiana
  • Decherd
  • Manchester
  • Tullahoma
  • McMinnville
  • Winchester
  • Shelbyville
  • Woodbury
  • Monteagle
  • Sewanee
  • Lynchburg
  • Murfreesboro
  • Estill Springs
  • And more!


Are termites a big problem in Tennessee? ›

Tennessee is in Termite Infestation Probability Zone (TIP Zone), #2: moderate to heavy. This means the potential for your home to experience termite damage is considered significant. Experts have estimated that 1 in 5 homes in high-activity areas, like Tennessee, have been or will be attacked by termites at some point.

How often should you spray for termites in TN? ›

For liquid termite treatments, you should re-treat roughly every five years, and for termite bait stations, you should monitor every few months.

What kind of termites are in Tennessee? ›

Subterranean termites are the most commonly encountered termite in Tennessee. Subterranean termites create their colonies in the ground and move around trying find food sources for the colony.

Is termite protection worth it in Tennessee? ›

These insects are a 5-billion-dollar-per-year problem in the United States and a serious threat in Tennessee. No homeowner should be without termite protection.

Can a termite infested house be saved? ›

Although termite damage may be reversed through professional repair, homeowners should first call a local termite specialist. Repairs should not be made until a licensed pest professional has confirmed that there are no longer termites present and the risk of further infestation has been eliminated.

What does Terminix use to prevent termites? ›

With the Terminix Bait Defend System®, bait stations are strategically placed around your structure or home. Termites find these stations as they forage, taking the bait and bringing it back to their colonies.

How do you keep termites from coming back? ›

By keeping the infected furniture in the sun, the heat will kill the termites and remove moisture from the furniture preventing chances of re-infestation. The smart thing here would be to dust off the furniture thoroughly and use a termite spray on it before bringing it back into the house.

How do I permanently get rid of termites? ›

While you cannot get rid of termites permanently from the environment, you can help prevent them from taking root in your home and control any active colonies nearby. Although it may be tempting to try termite control yourself, prevention and treatment is best left to the professionals.

What is the best termite prevention system? ›

Here are the 5 best termite killers available on the market right now:
  • Taurus SC: Most Popular.
  • Bifen XTS: Best Fast-acting.
  • Spectracide Terminate: Best Bait.
  • Termidor Foam: Best Direct Chemical Treatment.
  • BioAdvanced Termite Killer: Best for DIY.
Jul 26, 2022

What are flying termites? ›

Flight is an integral part of termites' reproductive process. Flying termites are adult reproductive termites, called swarmers. Every so often, when conditions are right, subterranean termite swarmers develop within the colony and leave their underground nests to mate and start new colonies.

What are termites with wings? ›

Termites with wings, or flying termites, are a sign that the insects are reproducing. Known as “alates,” male and female flying termites leave existing colonies to reproduce, and set up a new shop elsewhere. Seeing a swarm of flying termites near your home could be a tell-tale sign of an infestation nearby.

Where in the US do termites live? ›

Termites live in every state except Alaska, and they thrive in warm climates, meaning they're most active in the South, Southeast, West and Southwest. For American homeowners there are three primary species of termites that pose a threat to homes and property: subterranean, Formosan subterranean and drywood.

Are subterranean termites hard to get rid of? ›

Subterranean termites are the most destructive insect pests in the USA, causing more damage than fires and windstorms combined. They can be tricky to notice, but if you have them in your house then you need to act quickly to get rid of them.

Are there drywood termites in Tennessee? ›

Although drywood termites are not established in Tennessee, it is possible for termites to travel in wooden objects, such as furniture and wine crates, and establish colonies in the state. Drywood termites have been found in areas far from their natural habitats.

Is termite monitoring worth it? ›

The reality is that home termite control is absolutely essential. Termites can quickly cause a devastating amount of damage to your home, resulting in costly repairs. Taking the necessary steps for termite inspection, control, treatment, and prevention can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

How do I know if termites are gone? ›

Evidence of Past Termite Damage

First, if you don't spot any swarmers or live termites, there's likely no current termite activity. Secondly, if you notice mud tubes and break off a section that remains unrepaired after a few days, you have an inactive termite infestation.

Should you walk away from a house with termites? ›

The answer is yes! It is one of the most common times to walk away when a home is under contract. Buyers don't always know what is inside the home or the parts that make up the home until the inspection is complete. This is why an inspection is highly advisable.

How long does it take for termites to do significant damage to a house? ›

It can take anywhere from 3 to 8 years for termite damage to show up depending on the size of the colony.

What do termites hate? ›

A commonly mentioned substance termites hate can be found even in your kitchen. It's vinegar! The problem is, it's difficult to permeate this smell through any interior wood where termites could hide, and the liquid could risk weakening dry wood further.

What can I spray on wood to keep termites away? ›

Pressure treated pine is one of the most common options. A chemical preservative containing insecticide is impeded within the wood through the use of pressure. Two of the chemicals used most often to treat wood are copper boron azole (CBA) and alkaline cooper quaternary (ACQ).

Can you DIY termite control? ›

Termites are heat-sensitive, so heat can be an excellent termite repellent and an easy homemade termite killer. If you can heat up a space to at least 120 degrees F. for at least half an hour, the termites there will die. This is a cost-effective way for DIY termite control without using pesticides.

How do you termite proof a house? ›

Top 10 Ways To Make Your Home Termite-Proof
  1. Remove Standing Water. ...
  2. Repair Water Leaks. ...
  3. Seal Cracks, Gaps & Holes. ...
  4. Properly Store Wood & Cardboard. ...
  5. Maintain The Lawn. ...
  6. Declutter. ...
  7. Regular Inspection. ...
  8. Remove Piles Of Wood.

How do you stop termites from spreading? ›

How Do You Prevent Termites from Spreading in the North and East...
  1. Remove sources of excess moisture.
  2. Fix leaky faucets and broken pipes.
  3. Declutter your home.
  4. Clean up debris in your yard.
  5. Remove any piles of wood in or near the home.
  6. Place infested items in the sunlight.

Do termites come back once treated? ›

Can Termites Return After Treatment? Unfortunately, they can. Termite treatment is very involved and requires ongoing maintenance to keep these pests out.

How does vinegar get rid of termites? ›

Vinegar. Vinegar is the wonder material for your home. Not only can you use it to clean everything from your kitchen counter to shower, but you can also use it to kill termites. Just mix up a half a cup of it with the juice from two lemons, and you've got your termite killer.

What kind of vinegar kills termites? ›

6. Exterminating Termites With White Vinegar. Another successful method for killing termites is the use of white vinegar. All you have to do is combine the juice of two lemons with a half cup of vinegar.

What causes termites to invade your house? ›

Any crack or fissure in home foundations or gaps in siding offer termites the opportunity to come inside. Subterranean species build mud tubes in these imperfections and use these to move indoors. Additionally, cracks around windows and doors allow swarmer termites of all species to get inside and start colonies.

What kills termites naturally? ›

Borax powder, or sodium borate, can kill termites naturally. You just sprinkle the powder on the termites and the affected area, or you make a solution of the powder and water to spray or paint on affected areas. You can also paint the solution on surfaces as a termite repellant.

What is a good bait for termites? ›

Research has since shown that barrier products that are non-repellent and lethal to termites tend to be most reliable. Current examples include Termidor® /Taurus® (fipronil), Premise® (imidacloprid), and Altriset® (chlorantraniliprole).

What chemical kills termites in soil? ›

Termidor - (Fipronyl) is widely used for termite control and is the most popular termiticide in the USA. Termidor is the only Termiticide to show 100% effectiveness against termites and also provides termite colony elimination. It was first introduced in the United States in 2000.

What time of day are termites most active? ›

Subterranean termites swarm during the day, particularly after rainfall. They're most active in the spring. Invasive Formosan termites swarm at night and are generally at their peak in the late spring and summer. Drywood termites are also active at night, especially around lights.

What do termites turn into? ›

Some termite workers will continue to develop and turn into nymphs. These nymphs eventually grow wings and become swarmers capable of reproduction. Depending on the colony's needs, the nymphs may evolve into secondary reproductives that can reproduce but do not have fully developed wings.

What time of year do termites swarm? ›

Most species of subterranean termites swarm during the spring and summer months, typically on a warm day with calm winds after a rainfall. Drywood termites and one particular species of subterranean termite (R. hageni) typically swarm during the late summer or fall months, from August through November.

What home remedy can I use to get rid of flying termites? ›

9 All-Natural Methods to Kill Flying Termites At Home
  1. Make Your Own Termite Bait With Boric Acid. ...
  2. Create Your Own Natural Termite Spray With White Vinegar. ...
  3. Use Rubber Mulch to Keep Them From Entering Indoors. ...
  4. Sprinkle Cayenne Pepper Along the Areas With Termite or Ant Trail. ...
  5. Repel Termites With Beneficial Nematodes.
Oct 31, 2021

Why do flying termites suddenly appear? ›

At certain times of the year, termite colonies produce “swarmers” - the winged adults (Figure 1) that fly away to form their own colonies. Swarming usually occurs during the daytime and is simply nature's way of reminding you that termites are nearby.

How do termite eggs look like? ›

Individual termite eggs are shaped like small, white pellets or tiny jelly beans with a shiny, translucent exterior. Unlike bed bug eggs or other insect eggs, termite eggs have no defining dips or dents on their shells.

Which states have the least termites? ›

Subterranean termite infestations are largely a factor of a region's climate and weather patterns. They thrive in warm locations. That's why southern states tend to have more of a problem, while the only state where termites don't live is Alaska. Termites also thrive in humid and damp environments.

What state has the most termites? ›

Top 9 states for termite risk:
  • California.
  • Hawaii.
  • Texas.
  • Louisiana.
  • Mississippi.
  • Alabama.
  • Georgia.
  • South Carolina.
Nov 17, 2014

Do termites live in the cold weather? ›

Termites in Winter

Termites remain active year round - even during the winter. However, winter brings some changes in the daily routine of subterranean termite colonies. In cooler climates, subterranean termites typically move deeper into the ground during the cold season to access the warmth they need to survive.

Does Memphis have termites? ›

Termites are a big issue for Memphis homeowners due to moderate spring temperatures and moisture. Termites typically emerge from March to May but have been known to swarm as early as February or as late as June. During termite swarm season, these insects become much more visible and are seen in higher numbers.

Is termite a big problem? ›

Termites: they can cause huge problems for your home, and can be among the most troublesome pests to get rid of from your beloved property. They can cause a lot of damage, some of which can be tricky to fix or replace – and you could be faced with a costly repair bill at the end of this experience.

What are termites with wings? ›

Termites with wings, or flying termites, are a sign that the insects are reproducing. Known as “alates,” male and female flying termites leave existing colonies to reproduce, and set up a new shop elsewhere. Seeing a swarm of flying termites near your home could be a tell-tale sign of an infestation nearby.


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