Termites are the arch-enemy of all homeowners. Although small in size and barely visible to the naked eye, they are responsible for approximately $300 billion in damage to United States crops and property each year. Furthermore, homeowners can expect to pay around $3,000 to repair the damage associated with a termite infestation.
But it’s not uncommon for termites to first attack the trees in a landscape before attacking a home’s structure. When this occurs, it may create a dangerous scenario for the homeowner and any other occupants living inside the home.
Termites survive by feasting on the glucose of trees. Over time, infestations can be so bad that it jeopardizes the integrity of the tree, causing it to become unstable and increasing the risk of it falling over.
In addition to posing a direct risk to you and your family’s safety, this may also open the doors to liability issues should the termite-infested tree fall on your neighbor’s property.
How can you tell if a tree is infested with termites?
Since termites feast on wood from the inside of a tree, it’s not always easy, especially if the infestation is “fresh.”
However, there a few tell-tale signs to look for, one of which is the presence of mud tubes. As shown in the photo, mud tubes are essentially passages that are created with soil and pieces of wood. Termites use them to make their way throughout the wooden structure, as well as to stay hydrated. If you see these distinct tube-like passages running across the surface of your tree, there’s a good chance that it’s infested with termites.
Of course, another tell-tale sign of a termite infestation is physical damage. While you typically won’t see dust or chewed wood around the base of the tree, the wood tends to be weak and brittle. A simple way to test if a tree has been infested with termites is to press the tip of a flathead screwdriver against the trunk. If it penetrates easily, it could be indicative of a termite infestation.
It’s a little-known fact that termites build nests either near or above the ground. Made of wood and soil, these nests are usually scattered around wooden structures which termites are currently infesting.
What to do if you believe a tree is infested with termites?
If you believe that one or more trees in your yard are infested with termites, you should take immediate action to treat them. Turning a blind eye to termite infestations will only result in the problem becoming progressively worse, potentially threatening the foundation and integrity of your home and other nearby wooden structures.
The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.
If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or
Afton Jackson says
Thank you so much for talking about “Mud Tubes” and why they’re a good sign that termites have infested a tree or a garden. I was beginning to think I was seeing things when I noticed strange small holes and patterns being made around the oak tree in my yard. At first, I thought it was my kids playing around the garden too much, but now I know that I should act quickly and get some termite control to prevent them from reaching my actual house.