Termites in Alabama

Termite Activity in Alabama

Alabama is one of the states where termites are a major pest problem caused primarily by Eastern subterranean termites and Formosan termites. While termite activity is highest in the warmer months, termites can be active year-round in most areas of the state. When termites are suspected, the best course of action is to immediately contact the Orkin termite specialists and request an inspection of the structure.

Termites are active throughout the state, from Mobile to Montgomery and Birmingham to Huntsville, Alabama.

What Types of Termites Are in Alabama?

Both drywood termites and subterranean termites are known to damage homes in Alabama. The Southeastern drywood termite (Incisitermes snyderi) is found primarily in southern Alabama.

Eastern subterranean termites are generally more widespread than Formosan termites. In fact, estimates suggest more than 20% of the homes in most urban areas of Alabama will be attacked by Eastern subterranean termites at one time or another. As their name suggests, these pests generally build their colonies underground where the moisture in the soil helps prevent termite workers, from dying by dehydration.

Are Formosan Termites in Alabama?

While it may take a relatively long time for Eastern subterranean termites to cause serious structural damage, the same is not true for Formosan subterranean termites. In fact, this termite is the most aggressive and destructive termite in the nation.

Formosan termites build underground colonies that reach population sizes ranging into the millions of termites. This reproductive potential, coupled with their larger foraging and feeding areas, often result in the destruction of a home’s wood components in a matter of months. Also, Formosan termites are more likely to produce secondary colonies which are spin offs from the primary subterranean colony. These can occur almost anywhere throughout the home that is moist due to a plumbing leak or another source of moisture.

Formosan termites were first identified in Alabama in 1987. Formosan termite infestations have been reported in at least 12 Alabama counties, including Mobile, Baldwin, Lee, Jackson, Cullman and Calhoun. The majority of Formosan termite activity takes place in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

In 2003, the city of Fairhope, Alabama., in Baldwin County sponsored a Formosan Termite Watch Program. Volunteers helped place sticky traps at 109 locations throughout the city to catch termite swarmers. Once the traps contained a few swarmers, the volunteers sent the traps to pest control extension agents at local universities, who discovered swarming Formosan termites at 70 percent of the sites studied.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System tracks the spread of Formosan termites throughout the state. Pest control experts should report Formosan termite activity to local extension agents or extension specialists at Auburn University to assist in researching this species' range and destructive behavior.

When Do Termites Swarm in Alabama?

Generally, termites swarm on a warm day after a rainfall. Swarms also may occur during the winter in heated buildings. The swarming habits of the most common species in Alabama are described below.

  • The eastern subterranean termite swarms in daylight from February to May. Swarms often take place earlier in the year in Alabama and other warm, southern states.
  • The Formosan termite swarms at night during the late spring.
  • The dark southeastern subterranean termite usually swarms in daylight between March and June.
  • The southeastern drywood termite swarms at night, typically in the spring.
More Information about Termites in Alabama

According to Termite Infestation Probability Zones (TIP Zones), Alabama is located in TIP Zone #1 (very heavy), which means the potential for termite damage is considered significant. Areas with higher probabilities for termite activity require more termite control measures to meet International Residential Code building standards for new homes than areas with less frequent activity.

In states like Alabama where termites are very active and widespread, it is essential to maintain an effective termite prevention and control program. If you own a home in Alabama, talk to your termite control expert about methods to help protect your home from termite infestations and damage.