Termite Myths (Urban Myths)

Termites have a bad reputation because they eat wood and damage homes. Over the years, hundreds of termite myths have sprung up. Some of these might be simple misunderstanding. However, some of these myths could cause homeowners to lose money.

The Formosan subterranean termite has been called the "super termite". These termites live in very large colonies. There are often millions of termites per colony. Their numbers enable Formosan termites to do a lot of damage in a short time.

One myth about these termites is that they can eat through concrete. The reality is that they use tiny cracks in the concrete. As the termites continue to pass through the crack, they gradually make it larger. If someone didn’t see the original crack, they might believe the termites ate through solid concrete.

Another story about Formosan subterranean termites started after Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane blew down hundreds of trees that had been damaged by Formosan termites. The rumor was that these trees were being chopped into mulch. People feared that termite–infested mulch would be sold in stores around the country.

In fact, regulatory officials monitored the clean up after the hurricane. Wood debris from the disaster area was sent to designated landfills. Regulators did not allow infested wood to be shipped outside the area.

There are many other termite myths. People believe that termites only live in the South. In fact, subterranean termites are found in every state except Alaska. They are also fond in parts of Canada. (They are more common in the warmer states, however.)

Many people think that if they keep a lot of wood around their yard, termites will never attack the house. The reality is that all of the scrap wood will make the termite colony grow faster. When the termites finish eating the scrap wood, they will turn to the house for food.

A common rumor about termites is that they will not come into an area where there are carpenter ants. In real life, termites and carpenter ants like the same thing — wood that has been damaged by moisture. Termites eat the wood and carpenter ants use it for their nest. It is common to find them both in the same home.

Experts recommend having the home inspected for termites annually. The termite control professionals can spot the signs of termite activity. They can also point out any landscaping or maintenance conditions that might make the home vulnerable to termite attack.