Signs of Termites and Termite Control

Close-up of an Eastern subterranean termite of the soldier caste on a piece of hardwood. Griffin Pest Solutions provides termite control and removal in Michigan and beyond

During our Termite Protection Program, Griffin’s experts use Sentricon® baiting technology for termite treatment, reliably wiping out termite infestations and making sure they can’t come back. If your Michigan home or business has a termite problem, call Griffin Pest Solutions ASAP.

How can Griffin solve my termite problem?

During Griffin’s Termite Protection Program, our experts identify termite colonies, remove them from your home completely, and keep them from coming back. Griffin’s termite treatment programs are customized to your unique property and circumstances and consist of three general steps:

1. Inspection: First, our experts conduct a thorough inspection of your property. We find out where your termites are and create a comprehensive, customized plan for their removal and future prevention.

2. Baiting: Griffin uses the Sentricon® system with always-active Recruit HD termite bait to reliably entrap and wipe out colonies. Installing the bait system in strategic above and below-ground locations around your property draws termites to it. Once ingested, the bait prevents worker termites from growing, triggering total colony collapse.

Check out this video for more information on how the Sentricon® system for termite treatment works:

3. Monitoring: As long as it’s placed correctly, the Sentricon system will continuously draw in and wipe out any termites that come near your property. Griffin experts will continue to monitor the system and replace bait as needed. We’ll also make sure our placements are working as effectively as possible and move your bait stations if necessary.

Griffin Pest Solutions’ Termite Protection Plan is the best way to treat termites by wiping out their colonies and preventing them from returning long term.

Signs of termites

Eastern subterranean termite frass deposit near an exhaust hole in an infected piece of wood in Michigan

Unfortunately, early signs of termite infestation are surprisingly subtle. Areas termites feed on may appear blistered or water damaged. The termites may also leave behind sawdust or pepper-like droppings called “frass” near access points. Lastly, one of the telltale signs of termites are mud tubes around the lower perimeter of the outside of your home, so look for these.

What are termites?

Termites are crawling insects classified in the infraorder Isoptera. Termites are eusocial, which means they live in large colonies and develop into specialized “reproductive,” “soldier,” and “worker” castes to serve different functions. The most common termite in Michigan is the Eastern Subterranean termite (Reticulitermes flavipes).

What do termites look like?

Termites are small (between 0.1 and 0.5 inches depending on caste) white or tan-colored insects with bulbous heads and prominent, ten-segment abdomens. They look similar enough to ants that they’re often incorrectly called “white ants.” Adult termites develop several distinguishing physical characteristics based on caste.

Eastern subterranean termite worker
Eastern subterranean termite soldier
Eastern subterranean reproductive alate
Reproductive alate

Eastern Subterranean workers are around 0.11 inches and creamy white in color. Soldiers have pronounced, rectangular heads that are a dark amber or orange color and large black mandibles. Reproductive castes have usable wings and are the only caste with eyes. Queens are larger than other castes, with elongated and enlarged thoraxes.

What do termites want?

Most termites, including the Eastern subterranean termite, feed exclusively on the cellulose found in material such as structural wood. Termite colonies live in wooden food sources by boring long, elaborate tunnel systems through it as they feed. As their colonies grow, termites bore deeper into wood to expand and continue feeding.

Termites require constant rehydration, as they dry themselves out digesting wood. They’re particularly attracted to moist wood, because if they can hydrate as they feed then they can feed longer without stopping. Eastern subterranean termites also target damaged wood, as it is easier to begin boring into.

Why are termites a problem?

Termite damage on the baseboarding of a home in Michigan

Termites are the most economically-significant wood-destroying pests in the US. They inflict an estimated $5 billion in homeowner property damage every year. The tunnels termite colonies carve through wood will eventually compromise that wood’s structural integrity. This can lead to cracking, breaking, or even the collapse of important load-bearing structures.

How did I get termites?

If you have termites in or around your home, then they’ve probably established a colony nearby. To do that, they need a vulnerable source of food to feed on and expand into. Termite colonies begin boring through wood by finding a vulnerable moist, humid, or damaged section outside.

The vulnerable section of wood termites start building into is usually physically touching the ground. Eastern Subterranean termites are also capable of building “mud tubes” to climb several feet to vulnerable access points. They usually find this wood in porches, decks, cracks in mortar or foundation, or damaged siding.

If you live in or work in Michigan and you have a termite problem, you don’t need to panic! Just call Griffin as soon as possible, and we’ll create a termite prevention plan that will work for you. No ifs, ants, or bugs!

Termite FAQ

What are flying termites?

Flying termites swarming around someone's home

Michigan’s flying termites are usually the reproductive caste (“alates”) of Eastern Subterranean termite colonies. Alates swarm during their mating season, between February and April. During swarms, flying termites seek mates, lay eggs, and establish new colonies. Alates themselves can’t hurt you, but you don’t want them starting new colonies nearby!

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What does termite damage look like?

Termite damage on the walls and ceiling of a home

Subterranean termite damage starts around particularly vulnerable wood and spreads as the infestation grows. Termites may bore small holes into sections of this wood. As the infestation progresses, wood flooring or paneling may begin to look blistered, warped, or water damaged. Eventually, wooden supports may begin sagging, cracking, or breaking.

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Why are termites in Michigan?

Michigan’s eastern subterranean termites have been endemic since they migrated north around the 1960s. Termites spread quickly in Michigan for two main reasons: 1. our state features a natural abundance of their favored hardwood food sources and 2. our naturally humid climate provides the moisture colonies need to spread continuously.

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UPDATE: Termite Treatment During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Griffin has temporarily changed how we conduct our termite treatment programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Until further notice, we will administer all Sentricon® baiting applications and perimeter treatments from outside ONLY. We will only enter the home if asked. These changes do NOT impact the efficacy of our termite treatments.

For more information about how Griffin is responding to COVID-19, see our full COVID-19 update. For more exterior-only treatments and specials you can share with anyone else who needs them, check out our Stay Safe Special.