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While termite infestation rates are highest in the southeast US, Massachusetts is located within a geographic zone where subterranean termite activity is considered “moderate to heavy.” Because of this, experts highly recommend that Massachusetts homeowners have their property inspected for signs of termite damage once per year, or at least once every two years. In many cases, homeowners become aware of a subterranean termite infestation in their home after finding vertical termite “mud tubes” along the exterior walls of their foundation. These air-tight mud tubes allow subterranean termite workers to travel from their usual ground-soil habitat to above ground wood sources. However, these mud tubes are not always obvious, or even present, on properties where homes are infested with subterranean termites.

Amazingly, subterranean termite workers can construct mud tubes that squeeze through foundation cracks as narrow as 1/32 of an inch in width. Therefore, basements are susceptible to subterranean termite damage, especially in older homes where the foundation has developed numerous cracks. Of course, homes that are built on slabs or above a crawl space are also susceptible to termite damage. In these cases, subterranean termites often inflict significant damage to substructural wood. Subterranean termites can also access indoor structural wood by traveling through a crack in a slab located beneath a common wall shared by a house and garage. The dirt located between a concrete porch and the foundation of a home provide subterranean termites with easy entry through cracks and crevices. During construction, dirt is used to fill concrete porches in order to support the top slab, and this dirt is usually filled with wood debris, which serves to attract termites to this vulnerable area. The dirt in concrete porches is often level with important substructural wood components such as sill plates, which are easily accessible to subterranean termites in dirt-filled porches. These particular areas of a home are nearly impossible for homeowners to inspect, making professional pest controllers and their specialized termite-detecting equipment necessary.

Have subterranean termites ever been found within or near your concrete porch?