What You Should Know About Termites in North Carolina

aerial view of north carolina usa with overlay of termites image

North Carolina is among the worst states for termite infestations. The hot, humid climate here makes it a breeding ground for these pesky creatures. But don’t worry. Here’s all you need to know about termites in North Carolina so you can deal with them effectively. 

Key Takeaways

Termites are active throughout North Carolina: The humid climate here is ideal for termite infestations. 

Subterranean termites are prevalent: Eastern and Formosan subterranean termites, which are the most destructive, are the most common in the state. 

Termites swarm on a sunny day after rain: Eastern and Formosan subterranean termites swarm in daylight during spring, often after rain. 

Look for infestation signs: Mud tubes, swarms, discarded wings, termite droppings, hollow-sounding wood, bubbling paint, holes in wooden structures, and hard-to-open doors and windows indicate termite presence. 

Preventing termites is crucial: Install a termite barrier, regularly inspect your property, use termite-resistant materials, fix moisture issues, keep your yard tidy, seal entry points, and keep wood away from soil.

Termite treatment can be expensive: The cost to treat termites in North Carolina ranges between $75 and $743. 

Are There Termites in North Carolina? 

Yes. The warm, humid climate of North Carolina is ideal for termites. They are active throughout the state, from Western to Central to Eastern North Carolina. 

According to Termite Infestation Probability Zones (TIP Zones), North Carolina comes under TIP Zone No. 2 (moderate to heavy), so the chance of termite infestation is high. 

Termites are silent invaders that can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. We recommend inspecting for termites at least once a year to protect the structural integrity of your property. 

Types of Termites in North Carolina

Eastern and Formosan subterranean termites are the most common here. Unfortunately, they are also the most destructive. They form the largest colonies, containing tens of thousands to millions of members.  

Eastern Subterranean Termites

Eastern Subterranean Termite (Reticulitermes flavipes)
Photo Credit: Ryan Watson / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0

Eastern subterranean termites are the most common in North Carolina. They live in colonies underground and build mud tubes to travel to their food sources, which are typically the wooden structures in your home. 

Scientific name: Reticulitermes flavipes


  • Workers are creamy-white with slightly translucent skin. 
  • Soldiers are light brown and have yellow-brown heads. They differ from workers by larger mandibles and darker heads. 
  • Swarmers are dark brown and have brownish-grey wings. The front wing is slightly larger than the rear wing. 


  • Workers are 1/8-inch long. 
  • Soldiers are 1/4-inch long. 
  • Swarmers are 3/8-inch long, including wings.

Formosan Subterranean Termites 

formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus)
Photo Credit: Gerald J. Lenhard, Louisiana State University, Bugwood.org / CC BY 3.0 US

Formosan subterranean termites are native to Taiwan and Southern China. They invaded the United States in the 1960s and are found in areas with warm and humid climates like North Carolina. These pesky creatures live underground and use mud tubes to access their food source. 

Scientific name: Coptotermes formosanus


  • Workers are creamy-white and have slightly translucent skin. 
  • Soldiers are orange-brown and have curved mandibles. 
  • Swarmers are yellowish-brown with numerous small hairs on the wings. The front wing is slightly larger than the rear one. 


  • Workers are 1/4-inch long. 
  • Soldiers are 3/8-inch long.
  • Swarmers are 1/2-inch long, including wings. 

Termites in Different Regions of North Carolina 

Eastern and Formosan subterranean termites are found in Western, Central, and Eastern North Carolina. 

When Do Termites Swarm in North Carolina?

Termites usually swarm on a warm day after rain. The exact season can vary depending on the species:

  • Eastern subterranean termites swarm in the day during spring, often after rain.  
  • Formosan subterranean termites swarm in daytime during early spring, often after rainfall. 

Signs of Termites in North Carolina

Identifying and treating termites quickly can save you thousands of dollars in repair. Here are the signs of termite infestation:

different types of termite tubes
Photo Credit: Juan Rodriguez
  • Mud tubes: Subterranean termites build pencil-sized, dark brown mud tubes along walls, foundations, and wooden structures to travel from their nest to food source. 
  • Swarmers: Termites usually swarm during spring and summer. If you spot winged termites near light sources, there’s a high chance of a termite colony nearby. 
wings fallen off termites
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  • Discarded wings: Swarmers shed their wings after mating. If you find piles of shed wings near light fixtures, window sills, or other light sources, there’s a high chance termites have established a colony nearby. 
  • Termite droppings (frass): Worker termites push out termite droppings to create more space in the nest. Tiny, oval-shaped droppings at the base of the wall indicate termite activity. 
soldier termites exhibiting acoustic waves
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  • Clicking sounds: When you disturb a colony, soldier termites bang their head against the wall, which sounds like clicking
  • Buckling floors: If your wooden floors suddenly start to sag or become uneven, there’s a high chance of termite activity underneath. 
  • Hollow-sounding wood: Tap on a wooden structure with a screwdriver. If it sounds hollow, there’s a high chance of termite infestation. 
water leak in the wall
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  • Bubbling paint: Bubbling or warping paint indicates termite activity in the wall. 
  • Holes in wooden structures: Termites create exit holes in wood to swarm. Multiple pin-sized holes in wooden structures are a sure sign of termite infestations. 
  • Hard-to-open doors and windows: Termites consume the wood in doors and windows, making them difficult to open. 

How to Get Rid of Termites in North Carolina

Here’s how you can get rid of termites from your North Carolina home:

Liquid Termiticide

How it works: Liquid termiticide creates a barrier against subterranean, drywood, and dampwood termites. Termites are persistent and will try to cross the treated area. Even if they manage to make their way in, these pesky creatures will die soon after. 

Termidor, a widely used termiticide, contains fipronil as the active ingredient. Fipronil acts slowly, giving enough time for termites to take it to their colony and spread it among the colony members. 

How to apply it: 

  • Dig a seven-inch deep and wide trench around your home’s foundation.
  • Create a solution by mixing liquid termiticide with water. Apply it at a ratio of four gallons per 10 linear feet.
  • Backfill the trench with soil. 
  • Repeat around your entire house to create a continuous barrier. 

Termite Baiting System

anti termite baiting station
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How it works: Termite bait stations contain cellulose along with a slow-acting insecticide. Termites consume the bait and carry it back to the colony, eliminating the colony members. This treatment works slowly but eliminates the entire colony. It works against subterranean termites. 

Sentricon is a widely used termite bait station. It contains noviflumuron as the active ingredient, which eliminates termites by disrupting their molting process. Termite bait station is an ongoing treatment that requires quarterly monitoring to be effective. 

How to apply it:

  • Excavate a hole every 10 foot around your home’s foundation. Adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for how wide and deep the hole should be. 
  • Install bait stations in the holes. Level them with the ground and fill the sides with soil for a tight fit. 
  • Repeat around your entire house to create a continuous barrier. 

Foam Termiticide

How it works: Foam termiticide provides quick and targeted control against drywood, subterranean, and dampwood termites. It can eliminate termites from areas difficult to reach with liquid termiticides.

How to apply it: Spray foam termiticide to areas where you suspect termite activity. The foam expands nearly 30 times its initial size in five seconds to fill voids and eradicate the entire colony. 


termites tenting on a house
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How it works: Termite fumigation, also known as termite tenting, involves enclosing your house in a tent and introducing sulfuryl fluoride. This colorless and odorless gas penetrates cracks, crevices, and the core of wooden structures to eliminate subterranean, drywood, and dampwood termites. 

Only licensed professionals can use sulfuryl fluoride gas. Also, since this gas is toxic to humans, you should vacate your home during the treatment. 

How is it done?

  • Termite pros inspect your property to determine whether tenting is necessary. If not, they will go with other termite treatments. 
  • They erect a tent around your house and seal it to the ground.
  • They pump sulfuryl fluoride into the house. It penetrates and kills termites from every crack and crevice. 
  • After enough fumigant exposure, professionals remove the tent and use fans to circulate fresh air throughout the structure. The gas takes about 12 hours to dissipate from the house. 
  • A licensed pro will test the air quality in your house to ensure it’s safe to return. The acceptable sulfuryl fluoride level is below one part per million. 

Heat Treatment

How it works: Heat termite treatment, also known as thermal remediation, eliminates termites by increasing the temperature within your home to levels lethal to termites. This treatment is effective against subterranean, drywood, and dampwood termites. 

Heat treatment doesn’t involve chemicals, so termites may return if not completely eliminated. We recommend combining this treatment with liquid termiticide or bait station treatment for better and longer-lasting results. 

How is it done?

  • Termite pros use industrial heaters to raise the temperature within your home to 120 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • The heat penetrates all structures and eliminates termites throughout your home within 35 minutes. 
  • Heat treatment takes about eight hours, and you should vacate your home during the process. 

Boric Acid  

boric acid in a bottle
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How it works: Boric acid contains hydrogen, boron, and oxygen and is effective against drywood termites. It eliminates them by disrupting their digestive and nervous system. Boric acid acts slowly, so termites get enough time to spread it to their colony members. 

How to apply it: 

There are two ways to apply boric acid: 

  • Powder: Use a powder sprayer to apply boric acid to termite-infested areas. 
  • Solution: Mix two teaspoons of boric acid with a cup of water and stir until boric acid dissolves. Use a spray bottle to apply the solution. 

Boric acid isn’t a long-term treatment. Reapply the solution every 10 days until termite activity stops. 

How to Prevent Termites in North Carolina

Termites cost U.S. homeowners an average of $5 billion in repairs every year. Here’s how you can prevent termites from your North Carolina home: 

Install a Termite Barrier

termite barrier on house foundation
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Termite barriers act as a protective shield by preventing termites from accessing and infesting your property. They are of two types:

  • Physical barriers like stainless steel mesh can be installed during construction or afterward. They prevent termites from entering your property, as these pesky creatures can’t chew through stainless steel. Termimesh stainless steel mesh is the most popular and can easily last over 30 years. Physical barriers don’t work against termites that have already entered your home. 
  • Chemical barriers include liquid termiticide and bait stations. They are actually chemicals used to treat termites that also double up as barriers. Liquid termiticide lasts five years, but bait stations require quarterly monitoring to be effective. 

Note: Current North Carolina Building Codes require all homes under construction to be pre-treated for termites. 

Regular Inspection

Man inspecting for termites in a crawl space
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We recommend inspecting your property for termites at least once a year to detect termite infestations before they become severe. You can also perform DIY checks for obvious signs like mud tubes, discarded wings, and termite droppings. Professional termite inspection costs about $135

Use Termite-Resistant Materials

Termite-resistant materials aren’t termite-proof but can significantly reduce the chance of termite infestations. For example, use concrete for foundations and walls and prefer metal furniture over wood. Go for pressure-treated wood if you like the wooden look.

Fix Moisture Issues

person fixing leakage of a gutter
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Termites thrive in moist environments. Here’s all you can do to make your home less appealing to termites: 

  • Fix leaky pipes and roof immediately 
  • Use a dehumidifier in damp areas like the basement
  • Ventilate attic and crawl space to reduce humidity levels
  • Use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Inspect and clean your gutters at least once a year
  • Ensure downspouts direct water away from the foundation 
  • Grade the soil away from your house

Keep Your Yard Tidy

rake with leaves in a garden
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The yard is a potential entry point for termites. A well-maintained yard goes a long way in preventing termites from entering your home. 

Here are some tips to prevent termites from entering your yard: 

  • Remove dead trees (Tree removal costs $385 to $1,070.) 
  • Remove tree stumps (Stump removal costs $175 to $516.)   
  • Grow termite-resistant plants  
  • Use termite-resistant mulch  
  • Trim vegetation

Seal Entry Points

repairman seals crack in the wall
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Even the tiniest of holes can be potential entry points for termites. Inspect around windows, doors, and the foundation for cracks or gaps. Clean the surface and apply the termite barrier sealant with a caulking gun. It should be continuous so these pesky creatures can’t breach.

Keep Wood Away From Soil

Wood that’s in direct contact with soil is a tasty food source for subterranean termites. Remove wood debris near your home and store firewood off the ground and away from your house to prevent termite infestation from spreading. 

Install wooden fence posts and deck stumps on concrete to prevent termites from eating the wood below. Also, use metal stands to elevate wooden decks and fences off the ground and minimize contact with the soil.  

Cost to Treat Termites in North Carolina

The national average cost of treating termites ranges from $275 to $863. In North Carolina, the cost ranges from $75 to $743, depending on the severity of termite infestation. 

The cost of repairing termite damage ranges from $550 to $3,000. Homeowners’ insurance usually doesn’t cover termite damage. 


Can termites come back after treatment?

Yes, termites can come back after treatment. Inspecting your home for termites at least once a year is crucial to keep termites at bay. 

How long does termite treatment last? 

The longevity of termite treatment can vary depending on the type:

  • Liquid termite treatment – 5 years
  • Termite bait station – Ongoing treatment that requires quarterly monitoring
  • Foam termite treatment – 4 to 6 weeks
  • Termite fumigation – 5 years
  • Heat termite treatment – 1 year (Since there’s no chemical used in this treatment, combine it with liquid termiticide or termite bait station for longer-lasting results.)

Click here to read a detailed guide on how long termite treatment lasts. 

Do termites eat anything other than wood? 

Yes. Termites eat anything that contains cellulose: 

  • Plywood 
  • Paper and cardboard 
  • Plants 
  • Foam insulation materials 
  • Wood mulch 
  • Animal droppings 
  • Natural fabrics like cotton and linen

How do I treat termites in my apartment?

Termites infest anything, including apartments. They don’t care about the value because all they need is cellulose. If you spot termites in your apartment, inform the landlord immediately. You can also call a termite pro yourself to inspect and treat your flat. The sooner you act, the better. 

When to Hire a Professional

Termite treatment is a task that’s best left to the pros. They have the tools and experience to identify and eliminate termites effectively. 

If you spot termites in your home, call a pro immediately. Pest Gnome connects you with the best termite pros in your area who can help you with everything related to termites. 

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Termites: peterkai / Canva Pro / License

Abdul Wadood

Abdul Wadood has a lot of experience battling creepy crawlies in his house, from termites to cockroaches and mosquitoes. He wants to share his valuable insights with homeowners to help them keep unwanted guests at bay.