Should I be worried about termites in Kamloops?

You might be surprised to learn that yes, there are termites in Kamloops.

By biomass, termites actually outweigh the human mass on Earth.  Some of those creepy crawlies are indeed here in the Kamloops area.

The termites we have in Kamloops are subterranean termites. These subterranean termites are not often seen in broad daylight -- because they live underground.  The only time they emerge above ground is for a brief period in their mating cycle.  So although you're not likely to see termites themselves, this article will help you identify the telltale signs of termite activity, some common misconceptions, where they are likely to be in the Kamloops area, and what to do if you discover evidence of termites.

As a former home inspector, I've seen my fair share of termite activity and even took a course from the University of Washington to give myself a serious understanding of these critters.  I'm happy to share what I know.

Firstly, let's address how they enter your home:  they do not enter your home by strolling in the front door or even crawling up an exterior wall. The termites we have in Kamloops enter a home via a crack or penetration in the foundation of a home.


Where are termites likely to be in Kamloops ? 

The good news is that termites are sensitive to higher elevations, so termites are NOT likely to be found in some Kamloops subdivisions like Juniper Heights, Sun Peaks, higher levels of Barnhartvale, upper Aberdeen, Pineview or other subdivisions around the same elevation.

Some experts caution though, that the sensitivity that termites experience to elevation is actually decreasing, meaning that termite territory in Kamloops is slowly increasing.

Termites are MORE LIKELY to be found on warm, south-facing slopes.  This can generally include areas like Westsyde, Brocklehurst, Sun Rivers, etc or any area where these conditions line up.   Another interesting fact: they are not likely to consume Douglas Fir wood, so if you have an older home (heritage home) made of Douglas Fir you probably won't have termites in your home.


How do I tell if there are termites in my home?

You are not likely to see termites directly, but rather a few telltale signs of their presence.

Twice a year in their spring and fall mating seasons, they will emerge from the subterranean depths to complete that cycle very briefly.  Once they are exposed to UV, they die very quickly.  In that mating season window you will be likely to spot the wings that have fallen off, and typically you'd find these in your basement around the hot water tank or furnace. Not just one or two wings, but quite a large number of them all in one concentrated area.  This is a clear sign of termite presence.

Mud tubes are another clear indicator.  Termites build these tubes out of mud to travel through to access more food to munch on while staying protected from harmful UV rays.  One misconception is that they only eat rotten wood, but what they seek is actually wood containing a certain level of humidity so they can easily ingest the cellulose (their real target). They have the ability to use their mud tubes to encase wood to create that ideal humidity environment and turn any wood into food, not just the already-rotten stuff.

Another way to identify the presence of termites is by a clicking sound.  You can hear them though walls.  Gross as this idea is, it can really be helpful in identifying their presence.  A termite colony is made up of workers, soldiers and a queen.  The soldier termites make a clicking sound to encourage the worker termites to keep on their task.  One misconception is that the clicking sound is the termites eating, but it's actually the soldier termites acting as drill sergeants barking orders at the workers.

If you hear a clicking sound in the wall, tap on the wall and you should hear them stop.  Wait a little while, and if you hear the clicking start up again, you are hearing termites at work.  This is a clear indicator of termites in the wall.

There is the possibility that powderpost beetle or carpenter ant activity can be misdiagnosed as termites, as they can leave some similar tracks in the wood. So be thorough!

What do I do if there are termites in my home? 

If you determine that termites are present in your home, the best course of action is to get a professional to evaluate the situation right away.  Be selective with who you hire! As with a lot of services, there is a range of quality available.  Get multiple quotes, and ask how they will remediate the issue, and what the cost is.  If a professional offers assessment services but not remediation, I'd move on to a service provider that can offer the solution as well.  In a situation where you have termites in your home, do not skimp on cost at this point! Best to have it handled professionally and to completion so that any future damage is mitigated.

There really is only one way to remediate termites:  by drilling holes in the foundation of your home and applying a termiticide (special pesticide) into the holes to leech below the slab.  This action will kill the termites below the home, and will spread to other termites as they return to this area, eliminating them as well.  Any surviving termites will be discouraged from returning to this area.


I have had termites in my home, and I've had it professionally remediated.  What are the concerns moving forward? 

Structural damage is the largest threat after having termites in your home.  However, it is difficult to assess structural damage without tearing into walls and getting a good look at the framing of the home, which would be costly and involve many different trade professionals to properly assess.  Time is the ingredient needed to assess structural damage moving forward, to evaluate the performance of your home without taking walls apart.  Indicators such as framing damage, sagging or deterioration of materials will tell you over time if an area of your home was damaged by termites.  Sometimes, looking at the 2x4s framing your home won't even tell you everything, as termites could have eating through the inside of the wood, leaving the outside intact.  All this to say, it will take some investigation and being observant as a homeowner to spot any damage over time.

There is also a serious dose of stigma around former termite activity in a home.  This can come into play if or when you go to sell your home, and have to disclose termite activity on the property disclosure statement.  Having the proof of remediation will help to dispel negative reaction to the disclosure, but it some cases in can be a real turnoff for a buyer.


Can I prevent termites from entering my home? 

Clearing and removing any dead tree roots and stumps from your yard will help discourage termite activity.  In 2003, the pine beetle epidemic swept through the pine trees in the Kamloops area and killed many, many trees.  Those dead roots and stumps would make a perfect meal and excellent source of nutrition for termites, so removing them is in your best interest if termites are a concern.  Same goes for old fence posts, old wood piles and other sources of old, rotting wood.  Really, it's the wood-soil contact that invites them into a source of wood.

A well irrigated lawn can also deter them, as it's too much moisture for them to enjoy a livable environment.

New builds have the advantage of pre-treating the area below the slab before the home is built. This is the perfect time to address termite prevention.


I hope this information is helpful to you.  There is no need to panic about termites, but being informed is the best way to give you peace of mind!  You can listen to my podcast episode on termites in Kamloops for more information.  As always, if you have questions about this or any other topic relating to real estate (or otherwise) reach out and contact me.