When You’re Stumped by Termites: Why Leaving a Stump in Your Yard Is an Invitation to Termites

Above ground, dead tree stumps can appear quite innocuous, especially if they are out of the way in a corner somewhere. However, below ground, it's a different story, especially if you live in Australia, where the hot and humid climate is ideal for the most voracious of wood eating pests around, the Formosan or subterranean termite. Of the approximately 300 species of termites that call Australia home, this species is the most feared. They don't sleep, they work underground and a single colony could contain millions of termites, spread across multiple nesting sites.

A dead tree stump in your yard could attract the attention of a termite colony as the soft, moist wood rotting beneath the surface of the ground is exactly the kind of food a hungry termite colony needs.

If your stump becomes a feeding site for a nearby termite colony, your fences, sheds, garden furniture, siding and worse—the foundation of your home, will be at risk.

So what should you do about it? Here are some answers to that question.

Check That There Are No Termites Already in Residence

Before you remove the stump, check for evidence of termite activity. If you remove the stump without checking and disturb a termite feeding post, they will retreat before sealing off the nest.

This is a negative outcome for two reasons:

  1. You may lose the chance to deal with the main colony, and this will mean that the termites will still be somewhere in the vicinity.
  2. The termites may return to your yard on the lookout for more wood.

Check around and on the stump for frass (termite droppings), mud tubes or hollowed out sections of the stump. Even if you don't see this evidence, dig down into the soil beside the stump just to make sure. If termites are present, you should see some in the soil around the stump.

Call a Pest Control Professional

If you discover termites in the stump, call a pest control expert. Not only will they be able to perform a sweep of your garden to locate a colony, if there is one, but they will also be able to treat the stump, killing or at least treating the termites so that when they return to their main colony, they infect and kill the other termites.

Save Yourself Hours of Work by Calling a Stump Removal Service

Tree stumps need to be dug up and their roots ripped from the ground in order to be removed. This could take you hours or even days to complete. Likewise, you could also hire a stump grinder, but they can be dangerous to operate without the proper training. It would be safer to hire someone who knows what they are doing. Call a professional tree removal service and have them grind the stump into sawdust. That way, you'll save yourself time and you'll be able to reuse the sawdust for mulch or compost.

Although it is possible for an infested stump to be near your home for years without the termite colony taking an interest in your home, if they do attack, you might not discover their presence until they have done thousands of dollars worth of damage. To remove the threat, have the sump treated or removed as soon as possible.