Termites in Oklahoma: What You Need to Know
Updated: Jun 3, 2021
Is your home at risk of termites? Would you know the signs of a termite problem if you saw them? Since termites can easily stay hidden, paying attention to the details is important! Our quick termite identification guide will bring you up to speed on everything you should know about termite infestations in Oklahoma.
Are There Termites in Oklahoma?
Termites are present throughout Oklahoma and many documented cases have shown the damage they can cause to homes here.
That doesn't mean that all homes are equally at risk. Termites are known for their attraction to wood that is within reach, so wood close to the ground, touching the earth, or below ground level is especially at risk of termites.
Unless you are actively looking for termites, it can be difficult to tell until a nest grows and creates widespread destruction. Let's look at the species of termite present in Oklahoma and what you should know about them.
Different Types of Termites
There are a variety of termite species in North America, each with its own habits and preferred habitats. One of the most widespread is the Eastern Subterranean Termite, which is the most likely to be seen in Oklahoma. There have also been instances of the Arid-Land Subterranean Termite and the Dark Southeastern Subterranean Termite. These subterranean species are the only termite species that are currently found in homes in Oklahoma. Other species, like the Drywood Termite, are not found here.
If you're wondering what do these termites look like, Subterranean termite workers are usually 1/8 of an inch long and pale, while soldiers have thicker shells and are identified by their large, orange heads. Soldiers help protect the colony and will frequently fight with carpenter ants in the same area, so they may be more visible.
Subterranean termites prefer dark, moist areas and wood that's easy to dig into (especially wood suffering from moisture damage and rot). Their classic approach is to stay underground and unseen while locating food and hollowing out the "spring growth" parts of the wood while leaving the harder, denser parts untouched. Wood may look the same from the outside, but will be riddled with holes and hollowed out inside, making it weak and useless.
The infamously destructive Formosan termite hasn't been noted in Oklahoma yet but has been found close to the Texas/Oklahoma border and could eventually spread, adding another potential danger for homes.
In a high-growth colony, termites will swarm, or produce many flying termites that gather and leave the colony to go create a new colony with a new queen. Swarming typically happens once a year and can be a good indicator of large termite colonies nearby.
When do termites swarm? It can vary, but Subterranean species typically swarm after spring has grown warm and the ground is wet from rain and may swarm again in early summer. The swarm is made of black termites with wings, called alates. Colonies swarm at around the same time, and swarms can intermingle looking for mates from another colony that could eventually become kings and queens of a new colony. In infested areas, swarms are often easy to notice, but by the time they appear, it is difficult to prevent them.
Termite Eggs and Shelter Tubes
One reason termites are so problematic is that they are difficult to notice at first. If you have a small termite nest in your house, it could be years before you realize something is wrong. However, there are methods to spot a growing problem, such as looking for termite eggs or tubes.
What do termite eggs look like? They are translucent, gel-like pods that may remind you a bit of caviar, usually a white or orangish-brown color. You probably won't find eggs out in the open – they are more often found in damaged sections of wood and indicate you are near a core piece of an active colony. In other words, it's time to call the professionals ASAP. Swollen or buckling wood should always be inspected to search for tunnels or eggs.
While Subterranean termites tend to stick underground, they also may construct mud tubes in especially moist areas to get around particularly dense objects. You may find these column-like tubes in damp basements or moist crawlspaces under the house, another sign of a serious termite infestation.
If you are purchasing a home in Oklahoma, we also suggest arranging for a home inspection from an expert that knows how to find signs of termite damage that may have gone unnoticed.
Preventing Termite Problems in Oklahoma
Signs of a swarm, hollowed-out wood, eggs, or shelter tubes are all serious warnings that a large termite colony is near and must be dealt with. If you see these signs, contact EMCO Termite & Pest Control: We offer services to track down the location of termite colonies and provide traps, bait, and deterrence options that work best for your situation. We can also help you locate cracks, openings, and sources of moisture in your home that could attract termites, and help you create a plan to deal with these vulnerabilities.