Real Estate

Home Owner Warning: Termites, the "Silent Destroyer"

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According to, termites "are often called the silent destroyer because they may be secretly hiding and thriving in your basement or attic without any immediate signs of damage."

Every homeowner should educate themselves about termites. These insects can cause tremendous damage to your investment if left unchecked. I have come across termites often while working in New Orleans real estate and have always thought that termites only existed in hot, humid climates. Wow, was I wrong! There are different species of termites that can live all over the country.  In order to learn more about termites I recently searched the Internet for information and decided to post what I found here on Opposing Views. 

We will start with some interesting facts about termites, then discuss the different types of termites, and we will finish with termite prevention. Thank you to and for the information and expertise!

Termite Facts:

  • Termites have existed for approximately 350 million years.
  • At least 1,900 species of termites are known to exist on earth.
  • In recorded history, termites have never developed resistance to any type of pesticide. This is due in part to a queen’s “royal taster system,” in which the colony’s workers taste and process all food before it is fed to the queen.
  • Termite workers and soldiers are blind, which means they rely on their sense of touch and chemical signals to help them locate food, moisture and shelter.
  • These facts are from

Termite Types found in Gulf Coast Area:

  • Take a look at this termite activity map to see what lives in your area.
  • Drywood termites can live in dry, sturdy wood and can be found in the Gulf Coast region (among other places). More specifically, the Southeastern Drywood Termite is the most common drywood termite species in the South. Drywood termites commonly target the wood in your home’s structural timbers, framing, furniture and hardwood flooring. Wood consumed by drywood termites appears very clean and smooth – as if the wood had been smoothed by sand paper.
  • Formosan termites are the most destructive sub-species of subterranean termites in the United States. While subterranean termites typically require soil contact to receive the moisture they need to survive, Formosan termites have the ability to form cartons (nests inside the colony made of chewed wood, soil and undigested cellulose) to retain water for the colony until they can find a more permanent water source.
  • Source – and

Termite Prevention:

  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
  • Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
  • Repair fascia and sofits and rotted roof shingles
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
  • Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.
  • Call a qualified pest professional for additional advice and treatment if necessary.
  • Source –

Hope this article helps you avoid having to deal with termites but, as always, please consult a professional regarding termite problems and treatment.

Good Luck!