They're Back!

Industry Observer with Living in the Pacific

Tupelo, MS. Real Estate.

It's termite season again and time for this real consideration when purchasing real estate. I tell my clients that there are TWO types of homes in Mississippi -

  1. One that has termites
  2. One that will get termites

I always get raised eyebrows when I say this and then I explain that these little teeny weeny critters are nothing to worry least until they show up in YOUR wood.

Over the course of several years, I have learned that a home that has had a previous infestation and been treated and under a contract or bond, is much more desireable that purchasing a termite free home only to have them show up when you can least afford to tackle the expense of treatment. Treatments can be very expensive to some folks and if put off for a year or two, the damage repairs only add to the cost of erradication.

A home under a termite contract or bond however, can be a much more affordable method of contending with these nasty destructive creatures. Once treated, they may not return for years and when they do, the treatment is free (as long as you have kept your bond in place). As an example, a one time bond payment of $100 per year is much more paletable than an $1,800 treatment expense.

The photo to the right is what one of my cypress fence boards looks like from last season. I always believed cypress and cedar were supposed to be naturally resistant to wood destroying insects?




Here are some simple differences in termite characteristics:


Termites have a thick waist and ants have a narrow waist.

Termites have straight antennae and ants have elbowed antennae.

Termites have four wings that are all equal in length.

Ants have four wings however, two are larger and two are smaller.





Subterranean termites live underground or in protected areas such as wood.  The total number of individuals in a colony of subterranean termites can easily exceen a million critters.  Most people never see a queen, but may have seen swarmers or workers.  Swarmers are the termites that have wings.  They are also known as reproductives because their purpose is to swarm away from the colony and start a new colony in a new area.  Often swarmers are a sign of infestation.  Workers are small, white insects which are blind and are very sensitive to heat, cold and dry air.  They build mud tubes because of their sensitivity.  Often, finding these mud tubes are another sign of an termite infestation.

Once you recognize the difference, you can rest much easier and without panic.

So, while looking at homes that currentyl have or have had an infestation, don't panic. Active infestations must be treated as a condition of most mortgage loans and is usually paid for by the seller. Treatment becomes the minor concern. The biggest concern shoud be a damage assessment or whether there was an assessment at all.

I would welcome a current bond on any home I purchased (as long as there was still good wood left!)

Posted by


  Randy Landis, Overseas Retirement Consultant.


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Comments (4)

Edward & Celia Maddox
The Celtic Connection Realty - Queen Creek, AZ

the subterrian ones seem to never go away in Arizona.

Apr 16, 2011 04:47 AM
Jason McDowell
Maryville, MO

Randy, Very informative post. They're sneaky little things.

Apr 16, 2011 04:47 AM
Kwee Huset
Kwee Huset Realty - Venice, FL
Venice Florida Homes For Sale

In Sarasota County FL, some area has more termites than others

Apr 16, 2011 05:12 AM
Doug Rogers
RE/MAX Real Estate Professionals - Alexandria, LA
Your Real Estate Resource!

Very true. In my neck of the woods most homes will at some point have termiites.

Apr 16, 2011 06:55 AM