Termites are the most destructive, and therefore, the most economically costly pests of homes and buildings in the US. Around 3,000 termite species have been documented worldwide, and each species belongs to one of three groups. These three groups are known as subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites, and several species of each are known for causing damage to structural lumber in homes and other types of woodwork in the US. Dampwood termite pests cannot be found in Georgia, but multiple subterranean and drywood termite pest species are prevalent in the state. In fact, Georgia is located in a geographic area that is often referred to as the “termite belt,” which includes all Gulf Coast states where the high humidity, short winters, and frequent bouts of rainfall allow moisture-loving termite pests to thrive year round.
The eastern subterranean termite (Reticulitermes flavipes) is the most destructive termite pest species in the US, and this species is the most commonly controlled termite pest in Georgia. The state is also home to the light southeastern subterranean termite (R. hageni), and it’s “dark” counterpart, R. virginicus. Two invasive termite species can also be found in Georgia, though they are both relatively uncommon in the state. These invasive termite species are known as Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formanosus) and West Indian powderpost drywood termite (Cryptotermes brevis). The light southern drywood termite (Incisitermes snyderi) and the dark southern drywood termite (Kalotermes approximatus) can be found throughout Georgia, but they rarely inflict serious damage to structural wood in homes. While not native to the southeast, the western drywood termite (I. minor) has recently been recovered from Georgia as well. The vast majority of termite infestations that occur in Georgia homes involve either the eastern subterranean termite or the dark southeastern subterranean termite.
Since Georgia sees more annual termite-related structural damage than most other states, it is very important for homeowners to have their properties inspected for termite damage and infestations once every year. Most pest control companies in the termite belt include annual inspections in their contracts, but homeowners should confirm this before signing a contract. Annual inspections serve as the first line of defense against termite attacks, as termites in Georgia will likely initiate infestations that last for years and result in significant damages unless annual inspections are carried out by a trained and licensed professional.
Is your home inspected for termite damage and infestations on an annual basis?