Everything to Know About Termites in Virginia

aerial view of virginia usa with overlay of termites image

Termites are common in Virginia and cost homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs. The humid, subtropical climate of the states means that these pesky creatures are active throughout. This article covers everything you need to know about termites in Virginia, from the types to signs of infestation and the best treatments. 

Key Takeaways

Termites are active throughout Virginia: The humid climate creates a perfect environment for termites. 

Subterranean termites are prevalent: Eastern subterranean termites are the most common in Virginia. They are also the most destructive and form the largest colonies. 

Termites swarm in spring: Eastern subterranean termites swarm in daylight during spring, after rainfall.

Look for signs of termite infestation: Mud tubes, swarms, discarded wings, hollow-sounding wood, termite droppings, bubbling paint, and hard-to-open doors and windows may indicate termite activity. 

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

Termite treatment cost: The average cost of termite treatment in Virginia is $422

Are There Termites in Virginia?

Yes, termites are active throughout Virginia. The humid, subtropical climate of the states creates a perfect environment for termites to thrive. 

Virginia falls under Termite Infestation Probability Zone No. 2, which means there’s a moderate to high chance of termites infesting your home. 

Homeowners in Virginia should educate themselves about termites and inspect their property regularly to prevent expensive repair bills. 

Types of Termites in Virginia

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

Eastern subterranean termites are found throughout Virginia. Unfortunately, they are also the most destructive species. These tiny terrors live underground and use mud tubes to travel to their food source. Mub tubes protect termites from predators while they travel between their nest and food sources. 

Eastern subterranean termites form the largest colonies that contain tens of thousands to millions of members (up to 5 million). 

Scientific name: Reticulitermes flavipes


  • Workers: Creamy-white with slightly translucent skin 
  • Soldiers: Light brown with yellow-brown heads. They have larger mandibles and darker heads than workers. 
  • Swarmers: Dark brown with brownish-grey wings. The front wing is slightly larger than the rear one. 


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

When Do Termites Swarm in Virginia?

When a termite colony matures, which usually takes three to four years, it produces hundreds of flying termites. These alates leave the nest together to mate and establish a new colony. You can spot them near windows, lights, or other light sources. 

Eastern subterranean termites in Virginia swarm during daytime between March and June, after rainfall. 

Signs of Termites in Virginia

Identifying and treating termites quickly protects the structural integrity of your property. Here are the signs of termite infestations

different types of termite tubes
Photo Credit: Juan Rodriguez
  • Mud tubes: Eastern subterranean termites use narrow, pencil-sized tubes to travel from their nest to food source. Look for them near walls, foundations, and wooden structures. They clearly indicate termite infestation. 
  • Swarmers: Winged termites, also known as swarmers, leave their nests to mate and establish colonies. They usually appear near light sources and are a clear sign of nearby termite infestation. 
wings fallen off termites
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  • Discarded wings: Winged termites shed their wings after mating. Piles of discarded wings near light sources are a sign of termites. 
  • Hollow-sounding wood: Tap a wooden structure with a screwdriver. If it sounds hollow, there’s a high chance of termite infestation. Also, multiple pin-sized holes in wooden structures indicate termite activity. 
  • Clicking sounds: Soldier termites bang their heads against the wall when they sense danger. It sounds like clicking. 
damaged floor due to termites
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  • Buckling floors: Termites love untreated wooden floors. If you have such a floor and notice warping or unevenness, there’s a high chance of termite activity beneath. 
  • Termite droppings (frass): Drywood termite workers push their droppings out of the nest as part of colony maintenance. Tiny, oval-shaped droppings near termite-infested areas indicate termite activity. Though drywood termites aren’t common in Virginia, they may sometimes be found in furniture transported from another location. 
water leak in the wall
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  • Bubbling or peeling paint: Bubbling, peeling, or distorting paint indicates termite infestation. 
  • Hard-to-open doors and windows: Termites can distort the wood in doors and windows, making them difficult to open and close. 

How to Get Rid of Termites in Virginia

If you spot termites, you should act immediately to protect the structural integrity of your property. Here’s how you can get rid of termites from your Virginia home: 

Liquid Termiticide

How it works: Liquid termiticide creates a barrier and prevents termites from entering your home. Even if termites manage to cross the treated area, they will die soon after as the insecticide acts slowly. This treatment works against subterranean, drywood, and dampwood termites. 

Termidor is the commonly used liquid termiticide. It contains fipronil as the active ingredient, which works 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 the foundation of your home.
  • Mix liquid termiticide with water and pour it into the trench at a ratio of four gallons per 10 linear feet.
  • Refill the trench with soil. 
  • Repeat the process around the entire perimeter of your home.  

Termite Bait Stations

a man installing termite bait station
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How they work: Termite bait stations contain cellulose along with a slow-acting poison. Termites consume the bait and take it to the colony, spreading it to other members. Termite bait treatment works slowly, but it can eliminate the entire colony. It’s effective against subterranean termites. 

Sentricon is a commonly used termite bait station. It contains noviflumuron as the active ingredient, which works slowly but can eliminate the entire colony by disrupting termites’ molting process. This treatment requires quarterly monitoring to be effective.

How to apply them:

  • Dig holes 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 hole. Make sure to level them with the ground and fill the sides with soil for a tight fit. 
  • Repeat the same around the entire perimeter of your home to create a continuous barrier.

Foam Termiticide

How it works: Foam termiticide can eliminate termites from areas difficult to reach with liquid termiticide. It provides quick and targeted control against drywood, subterranean, and dampwood termites. The foam expands nearly 30 times its initial size within five seconds to fill voids and eradicate the entire colony. 

How to apply it: Identify areas of termite infestation and spray foam termiticide to them. 

Termite Fumigation 

termites tenting on a house
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How it works: Termite fumigation, or termite tenting, is the most thorough method of eliminating termites from your home. It involves enclosing your house in a tent and filling the space with sulfuryl fluoride. This colorless and odorless gas penetrates cracks, crevices, and the core of wooden structures to eliminate drywood, subterranean, and dampwood termites. 

Only authorized pros are allowed to 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 assess the severity of termite infestation to determine if fumigation is necessary. If not, they will go with less complex treatments like liquid termiticide or bait station. 
  • They erect a tent around your house and seal it to the ground. 
  • Then they pump sulfuryl fluoride into the house. 
  • After enough exposure to the gas, the pros remove the tent and use fans to circulate fresh air throughout the structure. 
  • A licensed pro will inspect the air quality in your home to ensure it’s safe to return. The acceptable sulfuryl fluoride level is one part per million or less. 

Heat Treatment 

How it works: Heat treatment, also known as thermal remediation, involves raising the temperature within your home to 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate drywood termites from all nooks and corners. This treatment requires you to vacate your home for safety concerns. 

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

How is it done? 

  • Termite pros use industrial heaters to raise the temperature in your home. 
  • The heat penetrates the deepest nesting places within an hour to eliminate the termites. 
  • The entire process takes eight hours. 

Boric Acid

Hand holding boric acid in a bottle
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How it works: Boric acid eliminates drywood termites by disrupting their digestive and nervous system. This treatment works slowly, so termites get enough time to spread it to their colony members. 

How to apply it: You can apply boric acid as a powder or solution. Use a powder sprayer to spray boric acid to termite-infested areas. Mix a teaspoon of boric acid with a cup of water to apply it as a solution. 

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

How to Prevent Termites

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here’s how you can prevent termites from infesting your Virginia home:

Install a Termite Barrier 

Termite barriers prevent termites from accessing your property. They come in two types: 

  • A physical barrier like Termimesh stainless steel can be installed during construction or afterward. It prevents termites from entering your home as they can’t chew through stainless steel. Termimesh stainless steel mesh can easily last over 30 years. However, it doesn’t work against termites that have already entered your home. 
  • Chemical barriers like liquid termiticide and bait stations are actually chemicals used to treat termites that double up as barriers. Liquid termiticide can last up to 10 years, but bait stations require quarterly monitoring to be effective. 

Regular Inspection

Inspect your property for termites at least once a year to detect and treat these tiny terrors before they become major headaches. Termite inspection is a job that’s best left to the pros, and they charge about $135. We also recommend you perform regular DIY checks for obvious signs like mud tubes, discarded wings, and termite droppings. 

Note: Selling a house in Virginia requires you to provide a wood-destroying insect (WDI) report to the buyer. 

Fix Moisture Issues 

Termites love moisture and thrive in moist environments. Here’s how you can make your home less appealing to termites:

  • Repair leaky pipes and roof immediately
  • Clean your gutters and downspouts at least once a year and ensure they direct water away from your home’s foundation
  • Install a dehumidifier in damp areas like the basement
  • Ventilate crawl space and attic to reduce humidity levels
  • Use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Grade the soil away from your house

Use Termite-Resistant Materials 

Use termite-resistant materials like concrete for foundations and walls, and prefer metal furniture over wood to reduce the chance of termite infestation. We recommend choosing pressure-treated wood if you like the wooden look. 

Keep Your Yard Clean 

rake with leaves in a garden
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The yard is a potential entry point for termites. If termites have entered your yard, it’s a short haul to your house. Here’s how you can prevent termites from your yard:

  • Remove tree stumps (It can cost you $175 to $516.)
  • Remove dead trees (It can cost you $385 to $1,070.) 
  • Trim vegetation
  • Use termite-resistant mulch
  • Grow termite-resistant plants
  • Fix leaking sprinklers and pipes

Keep Wood Away From Soil 

Wood in direct contact with soil is a tasty food source for subterranean termites. Remove wood debris near your home and keep wood firewood and other wooden materials off the ground and away from your house to prevent termites from entering inside.

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

Seal Entry Points 

Termites are persistent and can enter your home even through the tiniest hole. Inspect for cracks or gaps around windows, doors, and foundations. Clean the surface and apply the termite barrier sealant with a caulking gun. Ensure it’s continuous so termites don’t breach.

Cost of Termite Treatment in Virginia

Termite treatment isn’t free, but it’s far less expensive than repairing structural damage in your home. The national average cost for termite treatment ranges from $275 to $863. In Virginia, the average cost is $422, though it can vary depending on the severity of termite infestation. 

The cost of termite damage repair can easily cross $3,000. Homeowners’ insurance usually doesn’t cover termite damage. 


Are there drywood termites in Virginia? 

Fortunately, drywood termites aren’t common in Virginia. However, they may sometimes be transported along with furniture or other wooden items from another state. 

How can I prepare my home for termite inspections? 

  • Easy access to attic, crawl space, and garage
  • Trim vegetation
  • Clean gutters
  • Move furniture for easy movement

Do termites harm people directly?

Termites may bite when threatened, but their bites are harmless. Their threat is the structural damage they do to your home. 

How long does termite treatment last? 

  • 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 it involves no chemicals, combine the treatment with liquid termiticide or termite bait station for long-lasting results.)

When to Hire a Professional 

Termites can wreak havoc on your home quicker than you’d imagine. If you spot any signs of termite infestation, call a pro immediately. Pest Gnome connects you with the best termite specialists in Virginia who can inspect your property for termites and eliminate them.

Main Image Credits:
Background: Sean Pavone / Canva Pro / License
Termites: TommyIX / 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.