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He has Termites under a Rock, in His Yard

That problem is no problem....

We recently purchased  a 27 yr. old single story (crawl space) home here in oregon.(our first) while working in the yard i picked up a big rock and underneath to my horror i found termites in all different stages, winged, workers, and worms or larva.  i have checked under the house  and have found no mudtubes  but  i have found  what might be frass, but could not see any damaged wood near the frass. in your opinion should i have a barrier done what should i do about the ones i found in the yard? (i put some in a jar and hen put the rock back afraid to send them  towards my house.

I'm taking the ones in the jar to an exterminator  Mon. to determine whether they are subs or damp wood.  I asked the tech to come out (Friday 6:30 PM )  he said it would be o.t. and it would cost me $50 and advised me to just bring some to the office, he said if i do have a problem a few days would not make a difference. any way any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. owning a home has been a dream long in coming for my family  and now its beginning to feel like a nightmare. sorry this is so long, i know your busy.



And I wrote back with....

Hello, Tsoza:

Termites, outside, under a rock, are normal.  I would venture a guess that 50% of the rocks you could pick up might have the same thing.  Termites are in the ground - everywhere - whether it's in Oregon or Kansas City.  The only ones you should be concerned about are the ones IN YOUR HOUSE.  Don't let an exterminator scare you into any kind of treatment just because you (or him) found termites in your yard - or fence - or railroad ties.  The only time you need to be concerned is if they are actually in the structure.

When you purchased your house you probably had a termite inspection.  Check in your settlement papers as to who did it.  Or ask the realtor - he will have (or should have) a record.  Call him up.  He will have a more complete record than anyone else and could possibly give you some advice.

Also read my termite page, if you haven't, and watch out for exterminators that try to scare you into anything.  My termite page is here:


Exterminators will also use carpenter ants to scare homeowners, so you might take a couple of minutes and read up on those too:


And when you get finished, if you have any questions, get back to me!


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