The eastern subterranean termite is well established and widespread within the state of Massachusetts. Although this species is widely considered to be the only termite species to dwell in the state, researchers believe that another subterranean termite species, R. virginicus, may dwell within a habitat that overlaps the eastern subterranean termite’s habitat in southern Massachusetts. These two species inflict the greatest amount of property damage in the US each year, and the appearance of foraging workers from each species is not easy to visually discern, even for entomologists. In fact, entomologists and other experts often rely on genetic testing to differentiate the two species. In any case, one thing is for sure, the eastern subterranean termite is, by far, the most widespread and economically costly termite species in the United States, and they can be found in every nook and cranny of Massachusetts. This species’ destructive and abundant presence in Massachusetts explains why the state is located within an area of the US that is considered “moderate to heavy” in terms of termite pest activity. Luckily, the state is not home to any drywood or dampwood termite species, although they can infest wooden items that are transported to the state, but such events are rare in the northeast.

For the past few decades, termiticide barriers have been used with success for preventing structures from becoming infested with subterranean termites. Termiticide barriers involve the minimal, yet effective application of termiticides within the soil surrounding a structure. These barriers are most effective when applied before and during a home’s construction, and this practice has become commonplace within Massachusetts. Unfortunately, soil erosion, flooding, construction, heavy bouts of rain, and even residential landscaping and plant cultivation can disturb soil termiticide barriers. When such a disturbance occurs, termites can access homes through breaches in the compromised termiticide barrier, and such instances require the re-application of termiticides within soil. However, physical termite barriers that are made of wire-mesh are becoming more popular, and they are generally regarded as more effective than chemical barriers.

One particular type of physical barrier that can prevent termite infestations within a home is known as “termi-mesh,” and it is placed beneath the soil surrounding a property, which prevents termites from advancing onto a property. Termi-mesh is a stainless-steel screen that cannot be bypassed by subterranean termites, no matter how strong-jawed they may be. Termi-mesh can also be placed around specific structural areas where subterranean termites are known for accessing homes. These structural areas include damp water pipes, expansion joints and concrete slabs where the formation of cracks could provide an access point for subterranean termites. Termi-mesh was developed in Australia in order to address a widespread termite-infestation crisis that occurred during the 90s, and it has long been a common and effective termite-prevention method in termite-rich Hawaii. Termi-mesh has slowly been growing in popularity within the continental US.

Have you ever considered having a physical termite barrier of some type applied within the soil surrounding your home?