NC State Extension

Pest Problems After Storms – Termites

Flooding around a home.

Flooding can erode termiticide-treated soil or deposit silt and debris on top of it providing termites with a “bridge” onto and into your house.

Although termites are not an immediate cause following severe storms, flooding can ruin a termite treatment around around and under a home.  Moving floodwater can erode the treated soil or deposit silt and debris along the foundation. This deposited material can provide a “bridge” for termites to cross over the original termiticide-treated soil.  For houses with termite baiting systems, the bait stations may become covered or filled with soil or even washed away. The baits become contaminated with chemicals in the flood water or become moldy or unacceptable to termites and will need to be replaced.


Cracks in foundation walls could be a sign that soil beneath your foot has eroded and is causing the footer to settle.

Cracks in foundation walls could be a sign that soil beneath your foot has eroded and is causing the footer to settle.

Problems with termites can occur when storm damage creates “conditions conducive to termites”.  Water-logged soil and wood in the crawlspace need to be dried (or the wood replaced) as soon as possible.  Cracks in foundation walls (as seen in the image at right) could be a sign that soil beneath your foot has eroded and is causing the footer to settle.  Damage to  roofs and structural wood that goes unrepaired for months (or years) may allow termites to establish above-ground infestations, i.e., a termite colony with no apparent ground contact. These secondary infestations are rarely, if ever, covered by a termite protection contract. Similarly, termites may pose a problem down the road if the foundation or footing is damaged by flooding (see image at right), tree roots being pulled up from the soil or damage resulting from other similar mechanical disturbances. This damage can provide entry points for termites.

Tree stumps and wood debris in the yard will eventually become an attractive food source termites, but that should not be any big surprise. Termites are part of nature’s way of recycling dead wood. You really do want termites in your yard; but you do not want them in your house.

Inspecting a crawlspaceWith all of the other problems and worries with storm cleanup and repair, you do not need the additional worry of rushing to get your house retreated for termites. However, as you plan any major repairs to your home, make sure that plan includes protecting your home from termites. If you have a termite protection contract, the company may contact you first and request a re-inspection. If they determine that a retreatment is needed, check with your insurance company to see if the retreatment is covered under your homeowner’s policy as part of the storm damage.

COMMUNICATION is key to preventing termite problems. Keep in mind that home repairs that require removing soil around the foundation also remove the protective termiticide treatment. In such situations, the repair work may void your termite contract. If repairs to your home are likely to disturb the soil around the foundation (inside or out), or if you decide to install a drainage system around the house, then contact your pest control company BEFORE the work is even started.

For more information about termites and termite control, visit the following:

NOTE:

While there should not be any problems with the *legitimate* pest control companies in this state, you should also beware of anyone who tries to convince you that you NEED to have your house treated without providing proof that such a treatment is necessary. Always ask to see the person’s pest control license, certification card or registered technician’s card identifying them as an employee of a pest control company.  If they can’t produce one of these identification cards, then do not sign a contract with them. Don’t be pressured into getting ANY pest control treatments done quickly if you are unsure of what you are being told. When in doubt, contact the NC Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services-Structural Pest Control & Pesticides Division at (919) 733-6100.

Written By

Photo of Dr. Michael WaldvogelDr. Michael WaldvogelExtension Specialist (Household & Structural Entomology) (919) 515-8881 mike_waldvogel@ncsu.eduEntomology and Plant Pathology - NC State University
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