How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

Should I be worried about termites if my neighbor's house is being tented?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Termites Attack From Two Directions

There are two types of termites, subterranean and drywood. The first type live in the ground and only come up into a house to feed on your wood. They are eliminated with chemical treatments in the soil or bait traps set in the ground encircling a house. So tenting is not an indication of subterranean termites in the house next door.


    Drywood termites are the second type, and do not require contact with the ground and can live in the wood walls, attic, or even the furniture of your home. Any significant infestation requires tenting of the home. A poisonous gas is pumped into the tent and it kills everything living inside the tent—including roaches, bed bugs, and any other insects, along with lizards, mice, and rats. Although fumigation is most often used for drywood termites, it might have been used at your neighbor’s house to eliminate some other type of pest.  There is no residual protection after the tenting.

The Annual Swarming Season

    Winged drywood termites fly out into the open to establish new colonies in the early evening, each year from April to July. It’s called swarming season and, if the the existing colony is large, the swarm can be thousands. Young queens are escorted by multiple males and, since they are poor fliers, the newbies don’t land too far away unless a strong wind carries them. Infestations tend to travel house-to-house, and are more common in older neighborhoods. 


    This means that, unless the home nearby was being tented for another type of pest, drywood termites being exterminated nearby means there is a higher likelihood of infestation of your home. And an inspection by a Florida-certified pest control operator is always a good idea if you haven’t had one recently.

Did You Really See A Termite?

    If you think you saw a termite in the your house, see our blog post What does a termite look like? to verify it. Termites are almost never seen walking around in the open, except when swarming.   

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To learn more about termites, see these other blog posts:

Is the WDO (termite) inspector allowed to poke holes in my wood siding and trim? 

Do carpenter ants cause structural damage to houses in Florida?

How long before closing can you have a WDO (termite) inspection done?

How long does Bora-Care® last? 

 Why is it a mistake to store lumber in the crawl space under a house?

Does the presence of carpenter ants in a house indicate that there are probably also termites? 

How do I know if my WDO/termite report is "clear"? 

When do termites swarm in Florida?

Does a recent termite company inspection sticker mean there are no termites? 

Can a mobile/manufactured home get termites?

Do I have to tent the house if I have termites? 

What is the difference between a subterranean termite and a drywood termite?

What are the green plastic discs in the ground around the house? 

What is a termite shield?

How do termites get into a concrete block house? 

I think I have termites. What does a termite look like?

I'm buying a concrete block house. Do I still need a termite inspection? 

• I saw a little termite damage on the baseboard. Should I be concerned?

   Visit our TERMITES, WOOD ROT AND PESTS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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