Having a home infested with termites is no joke. Most people know that and seek help as soon as they find out.
The problem, however, is that most people don’t know they have termites until long after the fact. At this point, a significant amount of damage can already be done.
Additionally, queen termites can live up to 25 years and lay thousands of eggs a day.
As you can see, it’s vital to keep an eye out for any sign of termites!
Read on for the five most common and noticeable signs you might have termites!
Signs of a Termite Infestation
It can take two to four years for a termite colony to mature. During this time, millions of termite eggs will be laid and your house will be their food source. Immediately call an exterminator if you see any of the following signs.
1. Seeing Termites and Flying Termites or Discarded Wings
During certain stages of their life, termites will develop wings so they can swarm to find new homes, mates, colonies, etc. If you see flying termites near your (they look like ants with wings), you need to immediately be concerned.
Similarly, as the swarming season for termites ends, you may come across a pile of discarded wings near their nest.
Termites without wings also resemble ants, although, they look as though they are still partly larvae. In fact, most termites are partly larvae, as they can molt and move forward or backward in progression from true larvae to worker/soldier or wings/no wings.
Finally, people often mistake seeing true termite larvae as white ants.
First, there are no such species. Secondly, while termites resemble ants in many ways, their thorax is much bigger and softer looking, especially where it meets the abdomen.
So if you see any of these creatures, don’t think “ants”, think “I should probably call a professional”.
2. Mud Tubes
Mud tubes are formed by subterranean termites, which happen to be among the most destructive in their species. These tubes serve as safe transport protecting them from predators as they travel from underground to their food source.
Being constructed from soil, wood, droppings, and debris, they also retain moisture quite well, to help the colony.
If you see these near your home, especially on or near the foundation, you know for sure you have a problem. Don’t hesitate to call!
While subterranean termites use their droppings as a construction material for their tunnels, dry wood termites discard theirs. They also nest in the wood they are feeding on, so as they defecate, they push it out of the tunnels
Seeing termite droppings inside or outside of your home is a critical red flag that requires immediate attention. Their droppings resemble sawdust or wood shavings.
4. Destroyed Home Material
Termites left unchecked can cause instrumental damage to your home. A large colony can go through about a pound of wood a day. It may not seem like a lot, but remember, it can take years before homeowners notice a termite infestation.
To prevent going years before noticing termites in your home, watch for these other signs:
- Uneven or bubbling paint
- Small holes in drywall
- Doors or windows that have become difficult to open and close
- Damaged wood
- Hollow-sounding wood
- Maze-like tunnels in floors, walls, or even furniture
- Damaged, squeaky, or buckling floorboards
5. Hearing Termites
You can use more than just your eyes to detect termites. Listen around your home for small clicking noises, especially as you approach certain areas. Soldier termites bang their heads and shake their whole bodies to warn the rest of the colony when they sense a threat.
Additionally, if you suspect termites, go around your home knocking and tapping on wooden surfaces and supports. If they sound hollow, you may have a problem.
How to Prevent Termites
With all the damage termites are capable of, you probably want to know how to prevent their infestation!
Fortunately, there are some simple tricks to limit termite access.
Dry Wood Termites
Dry wood termites can easily enter your home through any cracks or holes on the outside of your home. Be sure to seal any spaces that may allow access. A fresh coat of paint is an easy and aesthetically pleasing way to do this. However, if you already have termites, it may not help.
You’ll also want to remove any food sources around the home such as firewood, dead trees, etc.
First, wood to ground contact is a huge invitation for termites to enter your home. Limit the amount of wood that is in contact with the ground. Additionally, remove any food sources that are near your home, such as mulch or scraps of wood and debris in your crawl space.
Moisture is also a problem you’ll want to address. You need to fix any areas where excess moisture builds up, especially near the foundation, basement, in the crawl space, or on the roof.
Call the Professionals
If you really want to take termite prevention seriously, make an annual appointment with your local pest control professionals to check out your home.
It may seem unnecessary, but they will know what to look for more than you will, and they’ll be able to advise you on any necessary steps should they find something.
They will also be able to show you exactly what you need to do around your home to help prevent any kind of pest infestations.
However, there are other sources, if you want to learn more about pest prevention.
What to Do If You Have Termites
If you’re experiencing termites, or think you might be, don’t hesitate to call an exterminator!
Remember, termite queens can lay thousands of eggs in a single day. Every second you waste deciding if you actually need to call someone or not could be potentially destructive to your home.
Otherwise, remember what you read in this article. Watch for the common signs of termites, and take any preventative measures around the house to keep them out!