Signs of Termites in Trees: How to Check for Damage


Termites in trees can cause havoc for homeowners. While most termites only attack dead wood, when termites infest trees, they consume the inside wood until the tree can no longer stand. This can be dangerous if fallen trees land on your home or in your backyard, and can also result in termites turning your home into their next meal.

To check for signs of termites in your yard, ask yourself these questions:

Are there any termites at the base of the tree?

Using a small shovel, dig near the roots of the tree. Termites in trees will often live in clusters, just below the soil line. If they are present in the tree, they should be easy to find.

Are there any termite tubes running down the bark?

Termites sometimes make tunnels or mud tubes to travel between a nest and a food source without being exposed to the open. In trees, these tubes will mostly appear in crevices in the tree. They are about the diameter of a pencil and typically a rusty shade of brown. They easily stand out from the bark of the tree.

Are there any signs of swarmers or flying termites?

Flying termites, also called alates, emerge from the nest to reproduce and settle new colonies. Alates living in trees will often take flight using knobbed areas where branches have been cut off or pruned. When looking for termite damage to trees, inspect pruning scars for holes that could serve as passageways.

To prevent termites from entering your home, search for termite damage in trees and other wood structures. Keep trees trimmed to eliminate access points to your home.

An infestation in your yard could also mean that termites have invaded your home. You should call a pest management professional at the first sign of an infestation.