If you’ve found termites in the yard, garden, or backyard, it’s only a matter of time before they invade your home.
These termites will spread fast and establish their colonies in your yard, destroying everything coming in their way.
In this guide, you’ll find out the five signs of termites in yard that you shouldn’t ignore at any cost.
You’ll also get a failproof step-by-step plan to eliminate termites in your yard.
There are also guidelines to prevent the termite infestation from spreading into your home from your yard.
And a lot more. Keep reading.
Types Of Termites You Find In Your Yard, Lawn, And Backyard
Two types of termites infest yards and lawns – subterranean termites and dampwood termites.
Out of these two, the subterranean termites are the most damaging.
And when they’re in your yard, it’s only a matter of time they’ll move inside your home.
The subterranean termites nest underneath the soil’s layer.
They’ll target mulch beds, firewood, rotting tree stumps, and outdoor furniture in your yard.
Slowly, they’ll move towards your home from underground when they exhaust the food sources in your yard.
In contrast, the dampwood termites will target only rotting pieces of wood.
They’ll nest and lay eggs in decaying wooden pieces, including tree stumps, in your yard.
Termites survive on the moisture, cellulose, and starch present in the wood. That’s why they infest wooden objects.
Their hunger for cellulose can make them attack the roots of the plants and grass.
Roots of plants and grasses contain cellulose, and both subterranean and agricultural termites can damage them.
That’s the reason you can see termites crawling on the grass lawns.
What Do Subterranean Termites In The Yard Look Like?
Subterranean termites are the most common termites that infest yards and lawns.
Identifying them is straightforward. However, the looks depend on the caste they belong to.
There are three castes of subterranean termites – workers, soldiers, and alates.
However, there’s a queen termite too. It’s the biggest of all termites, and it hides inside the colony and is barely noticeable.
The queen’s primary job is to lay eggs.
The most common termite castes that you’ll notice in your yard, garden, and lawns are the worker termites and the soldier termites.
The worker subterranean termites have cream-colored bodies. They’ve got a big brown head with visible mandibles.
The worker termites are blind and sterile. Their primary jobs are to search for food, bring the food to the other termites, create tunnels, and excavate the colony.
Worker termites are the most visible termites. They’re outside during the daytime, tending to their duties.
So, most of the termites that you’ll notice on the soil beds, mulch beds, grass lawns, and woodpiles and walls will be worker termites.
The soldier termites are bigger than worker termites. These are the termites that defend their nests against predators like ants.
Soldier termites’ body shape is as same as that of worker termites. But there’s one distinguishing factor.
It’s their head.
The heads are bigger, and their mandibles look like strong jaws. The color of the head is also darker than their body color and darker than the head of worker termites.
Soldier termites make up less than 10% of the entire termite colonies’ population.
So, they are not as easily visible as the worker termites.
However, you might see a few soldier termites with big heads and strong jaws reconnoitering the soil’s layer for a potential threat to the colony.
Solider termites depend on worker termites for food.
And finally, the alates.
Alates are winged termites. These are reproductive termites that develop wings to fly out of their present colonies in search of a new home or property to invade.
You can notice winged termites on the soil layer of your yard or garden during the spring months.
These termites move in swarms. And on finding a new home, they’ll mate, lose their wings, and bore inside the soil or a wooden structure to start a new colony.
Broken termite wings on your yard’s soil or inside your home indicate two things.
First, new termites have moved into your home.
Or there’s an active termite in your home and property from where the alates moved out.
In either case, broken wings of termites are a clear sign of termite infestation.
5 Signs Of Termites In Yard
The five signs of termites in the yard are:
- Mud tubes on wooden pieces and the walls
- Damaged wood and chewed wood chips on mulch beds
- Termite mounds in the yard or lawn
- Termite wings
- Physical sightings of termites in the yard
Ignoring them will lead to a massive increase in the number of termites in the yard.
And with the increase in their numbers, they’ll move inside your home looking for new food sources.
Later in the post, you’ll find out how to get rid of termites in the yard, garden, and lawn.
Before that, let’s look at each of these five signs in-depth.
You’re no stranger to sightings of muddy veins on walls and wooden pieces.
Those are mud tubes or tunnels that the subterranean termites make to move from one place to another.
And mud tubes on the walls is a sign that there are termites in the walls.
Subterranean termites will mix their saliva and feces to build these mud tubes.
These mud tubes give grainy texture, and most of the time, they rise from the soil.
The subterranean termites attack their food source or invade homes from underneath the soil.
So, these mud tubes are visible on the piles of firewood in your yard, on your yard’s walls, concrete, outdoor furniture, and on porch and patio decks.
Termites are moisture bugs. So, they can also attack damp walls.
Dampness in the walls makes the wall porous and weak.
That leads to the development of cracks on the walls.
It becomes easy for the termites to drill inside the walls and use them as a conduit to reach a food source or build a colony.
Termite Damaged Wood In Your Yard
Another telltale sign of termites in the yard, and even inside your home, is damaged wood.
Termites will make the wood you keep in your yard hollow from the inside.
You’ll also notice the wood chips in the mulch beds turning powdery.
Termite presence in mulch beds that are too close to the home’s perimeter or the foundation wall is very risky.
Then it’s not a question if termites will invade your home or not. It’s a question of when they’ll invade.
That’s why you must use the right mulches that termites avoid.
Termite Mounds In The Yard And Lawn
Termite mounds are not as common as ant mounds in the yards and lawns.
However, there can be some in your yard too.
Look out for any tower-like thing rising from the ground with the crater at the top.
Termites create mounds in the drier portion of your yard to catch any rainwater.
Underneath the mounds, some tunnels harbor termites and their larvae.
On breaking the mounds with a shovel, you’ll notice termites coming out of the mound.
That’s a sure sign of termites in your yard and an extensive tunnel network acting as shelter tubes underneath the soil’s layer.
Termite Wings In Your Yard
Sightings of termite wings on the soil’s layer indicate two things –
- New termites have swarmed moved inside the soil’s layer to start a new colony.
- Your yard already has termites underneath the soil’s layer, and the alates from that colony have just moved out.
In both cases, the sign is ominous.
And you’ll also notice termites crawling on the grass lawn or the yard’s soil layer.
That brings you to the next sign of termites in the yard.
Physical Sightings Of Termites In Yard
The final sign of termites in the yard and garden is their physical sightings.
And there’s no undeniable sign than their physical sightings, which tells you that there’s a termite infestation thriving in your yard.
You’ll often notice the worker termites with their pale creamy bodies and tiny brown heads crawling the soil’s surface.
You’ll also notice them on the grass lawns.
They’re looking for new food sources or carrying the food back to their colonies to feed the soldier termites, the termite larvae, and the termite queen.
You’ll also notice a few soldier termites with big heads and protruding mandibles.
How To Get Rid Of Termites In Yard – A Step-By-Step Failproof Guide
Getting rid of termites in the yard can be a tedious process.
They may be spread out all over the yard and hiding underneath the soil’s layer.
However, you can still get rid of them by using the DIY ways if they haven’t entered your home yet.
Here’s a step-by-step plan that you can follow right now to eliminate termites in your yard and garden.
Step#1 – Discard All The Items That Termites Damaged
Before you begin the real extermination process, you must discard all the items that termites have infested or damaged in your yard.
So, check firewood piles, outdoor furniture, your mulch beds, and even things like trash bins for any sign of termite activity.
Tap on the wooden pieces to check out if termites have damaged them.
On tapping, you’ll get a hollow sound. And some of the severely damaged wooden pieces can also cave in on tapping.
Discard those damaged pieces because getting rid of them in your yard will help you eliminate the termites in your yard.
If your mulch bed has termites, it’ll be best to get rid of it.
That’s a process of cleaning your yard of infested items to reach the termite’s source and get rid of them.
Step#2 – Fix The Moisture Problem In Your Yard
Many homeowners miss the second step. They straight away jump into using pesticides.
But you shouldn’t.
Before you get into the terminator mode, fix the moisture problem in your yard.
It’s because termites also depend on moisture to remain alive.
So, you must deny the sources of moisture.
To do that, fix any leaking pipes in your yard.
Do not forget to check out the piping or plumbing area along with the home’s perimeter and near the home’s foundation.
Leakages in these places will make the walls damp. And that makes it easy for the termites to attack the walls from underground, build mud tubes, and invade your home.
Also, stop watering your yard, lawn, and garden a couple of days before you start to eliminate termites in the yard.
That’ll solve the overwatering problem and will make the soil dry. Both will immensely help you in the elimination process.
Fill up in potholes that are holding water.
Remove old tires, trash bins, and anything with stagnant water.
These items with water will increase the moisture levels of your yard’s soil and, not to mention, become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Step#3 – Excavate The Soil Where There Are Termites
It’s the process of exposing the termites hidden inside the soil’s layer.
Take a scoop or shovel and excavate the places where you saw termites.
In doing so, you may reach the termites’ underground nest or colony.
You’ll also notice the termite larvae that the worker termites are rearing.
There can be a sudden appearance of termites underneath the soil’s layer.
Also, don’t forget to excavate the soil where you had the mulch bed.
But don’t get alarmed. Termites don’t bite humans.
However, it’ll be best to wear trousers and a pair of shoes while doing it.
Step#4 – Use A Proven Termiticide
Now that you’ve prepared your yard to make it easy for your to eliminate termites, it’s time to go on the offensive.
And you begin by using a termiticide.
There are many liquid termiticides available. But we highly recommend Termidor liquid termite foam spray.
It contains fipronil, and it kills termites on contact.
Spray Termidor on the termites that came popped out in the previous step.
Also, use the spray on firewood piles, tree stumps, and walls where you’ve noticed termite activity.
Do not overlook the crevices or cracks on the wooden objects and concrete areas where you saw termites. Spray the liquid termiticide in those places too.
Step#5 – Scatter Diatomaceous Earth On The Places Where You Used The Termite Spray
Diatomaceous earth is a natural termite killer.
And you can’t rely only on the termite spray because, without a doubt, the termite spray won’t contact many termites.
So, it’s necessary to scatter diatomaceous earth in the places where you used the spray.
Diatomaceous earth is a desiccant that penetrates termites’ bodies and soaks their moisture.
Lack of moisture leads to the rupture in their exoskeleton, which results in the termite’s death.
After scattering the DE, wait for a few hours before proceeding to the next step.
As an alternative, you can also prepare a boric acid termite killer recipe and use it in the areas where you used termiticide.
Step#6 – Use Termite Granules Around Your Home That Act As A Chemical Barrier
Now we’re getting into the prevention mode.
You’ll learn how to stop the termite infestation from reaching inside your home from your yard.
And to do that, you’ll need termite granules.
Termite granules are toxic particles for termites.
Termite granules work by sinking in the soil and create a chemical barrier. They’re also highly effective against species of ants that nest underneath the soil’s layer.
That barrier kills the termites living underneath the soil’s layer, preventing them from attacking homes and structures from underground.
The best part is that termite granules are safe for humans and pets.
However, there’s a way of using it to make it work.
You’ll need to dig an inch-deep ditch along the perimeters of your home. Then scatter the termite granules in the ditch.
Pour water on the granules. And fill the ditch.
There are some granules that you don’t need to water. You can straight away cover the ditch with soil after scattering the granules.
These termites are highly effective in protecting your home from subterranean and Formosan termites.
But there’s a catch.
You can use termite granules only for your yard and garden. They’re not meant for indoor use.
And they’re safe for plants too.
You can also use termite granules around where you store firewood in your yard.
However, before that, you need to know how to correctly store firewood so that termites don’t attack the pile.
Step#7 – Use Nematodes, The Microscopic Organism That Kills Termites
After shielding your home from termite invasion, it’s time to add more punch to the termite removal process.
Remember, you’re not using a professional pest control company to get rid of the termites.
Therefore, you’ll need to take steps that ensure results.
And one of those steps is to use nematodes.
Nematodes work like a parasite on termites. They’re living insects that sneak inside the termites’ bodies.
Then they release bacteria inside the termites’ bodies which kills them.
It certainly doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a few days.
Many termites will escape into the soil no matter how much termiticide spray you use.
And nematodes eliminate the risk of live termites in your yard.
Scatter the beneficial nematodes all over your yard, especially where you have noticed termite activity.
Chances are there are living termites deep in the soil, which the termiticide wasn’t able to reach.
And one of those places is where there was your mulch bed.
Step#8 – Use The Correct Mulch Bed To Prevent Termites
Not many homeowners give much thought when it comes to choosing mulch beds.
But mulch beds with standard softwood chips are an open invitation for termites and many invasive bugs like roaches and ants.
You need to use the right mulch bed to prevent termites.
Mulch beds with wood chips made of hardwood, like cedar, are naturally termite resistant. They also repel termites.
And they don’t decay as fast as a standard mulch bed will.
Should You Use Termite Baits?
Recently, the usage of termite baits has skyrocketed.
But they didn’t give any beneficial results.
Termite baits contain cellulose and slow-acting toxins. The cellulose attracts the termites, and the toxin present in the baits spreads into the termites’ bodies.
After a few days, the termites die.
That’s how they’re supposed to work.
But termites baits aren’t failproof. Testing those baits didn’t give favorable results.
As per Texas A&M University, “Tests have been unable to demonstrate successful control with termite baits.”
We never used termite baits either because, though it may sound a great way of saving money, the bait stations have a low life on the soil.
They decay fast, and you’ll have to replace them every 2-3 months.
In contrast, the termite granules have at least a 9-month life in the soil. On top of it, the termite baits are also expensive.
Additionally, the nematodes add an extra layer of protection from termites.
Keep in mind that even though these baits have a money-back guarantee, the guarantee will not cover the costs of the damage that termites will inflict on your home.
Can Termites Come Back After Treatment?
Yes, termites can come back after treatment.
And that’s why you must use termite granules so that even if they come back, your home has adequate protection from the underground invaders.
Termites are invasive pests. And they come back despite using the best professional treatment.
The trick to preventing a termite infestation, or any bug infestation, is to be vigilant about their early signs and nip the problem at its bud.
That’s one of the reasons savvy homeowners always get a quarterly pest inspection for their home as means of termite prevention.
Quarterly pest inspection doesn’t cost much, saves a ton of money that you’ll spend on the riddance process, and protects your home from any infestation.
How Do You Know That Termites Have Entered Your Home?
Termites in the yard can go together with the termites in your home. There can be termites both in your yard and inside your home.
It happens when the termite population in your property overshoots and you’ve ignored the signs of termites in your yard.
The following signs indicate that there’s a termite infestation in your home –
- Damaged furniture
- Signs of termites like termite frass or droppings and broken wings on the window sills
- Holes in the joists and beams of your house
- Mud tubes on the walls and floors
- Damaged baseboards
- Termites in books. Yes, termites eat books too.
- Termite droppings on the floor
- Termite wings in your home
There are one more termite species that invade homes. And that’s drywood termites.
Drywood termites are swarmers, and they enter homes in swarms.
Inside your home, they attack the structural lumber of your house like the wooden support beams, joists, roof shingles, and even the ceilings.
These termites don’t build mud tubes on wooden structures.
That makes them very hard to spot. And that’s what makes drywood termites destructive.
These termites also target wooden floors and ceilings.
There are two prominent signs of drywood termites inside homes – termite frass and holes on the wood.
Termite frass is feces or droppings that drywood termites eject out of their colonies through the exit holes they prepare on the wood.
You’ll find these termite droppings on the floor, near baseboards, and window sills.
These droppings fall from higher up place like the ceiling or from the joists and beams.
It’s clear sign that drywood termites are in your ceilings and in the structural lumber of your home.
The termite frass doesn’t look like sawdust.
It has a greyish look and visible black particles that look like black pepper grain.
When termites enter homes, most DIY methods don’t give you results.
The DIY ways of termite control in homes won’t destroy the colonies that must have spread far and deep in your house.
And to get rid of drywood termites in your home is a waste of your time and money.
So, it’ll be best to hire an exterminator or a reliable pest control company to eliminate termites in your house.
Signs of termites in the yard, garden, and backyard are –
- Mud tubes on wooden pieces and the walls
- Damaged wood and chewed wood chips on mulch beds
- Termite mounds in the yard or lawn
- Broken termite wings
- Physical sightings of termites in the yard
This guide also revealed the steps and products you’ll need to eliminate the termites in your yard.
However, if there’s a termite infestation in your home, it’s always best to hire a pest controller.
Dr. Thomas Orbert, the Microbial Maestro, dances with the tiniest of creatures as an entomologist extraordinaire! With a PhD in entomology, his passion lies in unraveling the secret symphonies of insect-microbe interactions. From minuscule marvels to captivating complexities, Dr. Orbert unveils the hidden world of bugs, igniting curiosity one buzz at a time!