Lions, Tigers and Termites, oh my!

Real Estate Broker/Owner CalBRE# 01433049

California Termites


Lions, Tigers and Termites, oh my! So, I kind of fibbed about the lions and tigers, but we have enough termites in California to make up for it. I recently had a buyer do the Heebie Jeebie dance when she learned that the property she intends to buy is infested with subterranean termites.

The Urban Dictionary defines the Heebie Jeebies as "A feeling of minor fright, anxiety, nervousness, apprehension, 'the willies', phobic." Yep, that's about right. Knowing that ANY 6+ legged pest is crawling under your house is enough to keep you awake at night.

So here is what happens next. The pest company will send out a technician to chemically treat the subarea soil. Then they will drill and pressure treat concrete walkways, patios, steps and porches. I hate the thought of chemicals being used, but if this isn't done, the termites will destroy any wood they come in contact with. Although I've heard they don't like redwood that much.

Below is a photo of a termite "tube" coming up from the garage floor to the threshold step into the house. The subterranean termites live below and love moisture, but the have to come up for air ... I mean wood ... to survive.



We choose where we live, regardless of the consequences. Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Locusts, Alligators. Lions, Tigers and Termites, oh my.


United States Termite Map

* United States Termite Map. I guess Alaska doesn't count.


Posted by


Cynthia Larsen (707-332-2560) is an independent real estate referral broker in Sonoma County, California as well as a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist.

CA Broker License #01433049

Comments (10)

Kathryn Acciari
Central One Federal Credit Union - Shrewsbury, MA
Mortgage Loan Originator

We often forget that we create dwellings first and foremost to protect ourselves from nature. And, nature will always try to get inside! Luckily, pests like termites can be detected and prevented from doing damage. Great post, Cynthia!

Dec 05, 2017 11:03 AM
Cynthia Larsen

Yes, we are never the first to inhabit an area.

Dec 05, 2017 12:06 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Cynthia our joke in AZ is that there are two kinds of houses - one that has termites and the other that will have termites! Not a big deal if caught early and it usually is in my neck of the woods. Folks from other areas do freak out a bit until they understand it's just part of the landscape.

Dec 05, 2017 11:03 AM
Cynthia Larsen

LOL, about 75% of homes I have sold have had termites. It just comes with the territory. Now ... alligators ... I'd have a difficult time with that.

Dec 05, 2017 12:22 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Here in Sacramento, it is those Subterranean Termites that we encounter most often.  Occasionally however, we see the kind prevalent in Southern California, and need to tent the house to eradicate.

Dec 05, 2017 01:39 PM
Cynthia Larsen

I've mostly been involved with drywood termites. This is the second house in a row where the inspector found subterranean termites. That photo I took of the tube was the first one I have seen.

Dec 05, 2017 03:45 PM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Termites are prevalent here.  And this area having an infatuation with shredded wood mulch, it's only a matter of time before homes get the creep factor of termites moving in.

Dec 05, 2017 03:08 PM
Cynthia Larsen

LOL, creep factor is right.

Dec 05, 2017 03:46 PM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Cynthia. Termites are really scary. If the damage is overwhelming I move on.

Dec 06, 2017 08:58 AM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Cynthia: If it's not termites, it's powder post beetles or carpenter ants. I had a pest company present an inspection claiming an infestation when the tubes had been vacated a long time ago. For some reason, the agent on the other side thought they should have removed the tubes 2 years ago when they were eradicated, and I don't know of any companies who remove the tubes. Do you?

Dec 06, 2017 09:06 AM
Cynthia Larsen

We see a lot of beetles in West County, around the Guerneville area. Regarding tubes, the company who treats for termites are supposed to remove the tubes at that time ... so that is my understanding as well. The tube (in the photo above) was the first I've ever seen. It was a home in Vacaville on a slab foundation. We saw evidence of recent eradication (holes drilled in the slab in garage, sidewalk) so that was either a new tube or the pest company neglected to destroy it. The inspector broke open the tube with his pen with me as a witness and a termite scurried out. So ... more eradication.

Dec 06, 2017 10:27 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

We had a showing scheduled to see a house and canceled after hearing there was a bed bug situation. NO thank you!

Another listing has a termite issue. NO thank you!

I'm pleasantly surprised to see your graphic showing NH as not having a big problem.

Jan 04, 2018 11:11 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Hi there, wow, this a great map. We once had a beach house along the Oregon coast that had a termite problem. Had to have the foundation raised and rebuilt as they had destroyed all the wood laying on top of the cement and even had damage about a third of the way up the walls. It was when I was a youngun and we bought the house without an inspection. The house had been remodeled and our agent told us there was no need for an inspection-everything had been updated and it was in great shape. This, at that time, twenty-something believed him. Argh. 

Jan 23, 2018 06:09 AM
Cynthia Larsen

Oh boy, I don't think I had any inspections done when I bought my first house either. Evidently litigation has changed the real estate landscape, I don't think any agent would dare suggest that a buyer not get an inspection in today's world.

Jan 23, 2018 10:30 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

I was looking for your current blog. I hope all is going well for you.

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Jan 27, 2018 07:16 AM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Remind your buyer the termites were here first-we moved in on their territory.

Jun 06, 2018 11:52 AM