Homeowners Must Be On Guard When It Comes To Termites
Termites are called "silent destroyers" for good reason. They can sneak up from the ground, silently and unseen, and begin eating away at the wooden structure of your home completely undetected for many years. It happens all the time. In fact, termites cost home and business owners in the United States over $5 billion each year. But, with a little education and know-how, you do not have to be a part of that statistic. In this article, we are going to explore the warning signs termites typically leave behind. They may be hidden, and they may be subtle, but with a little effort and patience, they can be found. (That is if there are any termite signs to be found in your home.)
Common Warning Signs Of An Active Termite Infestation
- Signs outside your home. Often, termites will begin doing damage on items outside your home before finding their way inside. But they are just as happy to eat outside and inside at the same time. Stumps are a common outside food source.
- Signs on items inside your home. Sometimes there will be signs of termite damage on wallpaper, furniture, or paper products. Wallpaper may look chewed up, furniture carved up, and paper products will look like they've been nibbled on. Another type of pest that likes to nibble on paper products (specifically books) are silverfish, but they tend to shred books. Termites eat books in larger chunks.
- Holes in walls. Note that rodent holes are far more noticeable than termite holes. Mouse holes are commonly low down and near baseboards. Termite holes tend to be tiny and high up on walls.
- Sawdust in little piles. If you find "sawdust" piles, it may or may not be termites. While drywood termites do have droppings that are often mistaken for sawdust, there are other pests that leave this kind of sign. Drywood termite "sawdust" is a hard, dry material that looks like brown wood or black pepper. Carpenter ants push actual sawdust, called frass, out of kickout holes. Either type of sawdust warrants an inspection by a professional.
- Termite swarmers. Seeing actual swarmers of any kind is a rare occurrence because swarms appear and disappear rather quickly. In the case of termites, they are only visible for around ½ an hour and only a couple times a year, typically in fall or spring. A termite swarmer is around ⅜ of an inch long and has four white wings that stack evenly on top of one another and reach well beyond the abdomen. They also have antennae that are mostly straight.
- Swarmer wings. Before termite swarmers mate, they shed their wings and disappear quickly. These shed wings may be seen littered on decks, porches, window sills or walkways. They also often get caught in spider webs. Looking in crawl spaces, and other areas where webs are present, for these shed wings is one strategy a professional will use in looking for evidence of a termite infestation.
- Mud tubes. These are highways for termites to travel from the ground to the wood of your home. Termites cannot be exposed to the sun and wind because they will dry out and die. So they build these pencil-width tubes on foundations, usually in hidden locations, to protect themselves. Some places termites like to build mud tubes include underneath porches, underneath stairs, behind heavy vegetation, or even inside cinder blocks--any place that is shaded and sheltered. If you suspect you have found a mud tube, break off a piece and then check back a few days later. If the tube has magically reappeared, then you have an active infestation of termites.
- Uneven floors, ceilings, or walls. If a termite infestation is allowed to exist long enough, termites will do such severe damage that the entire structure of your home will start to sag. First doors and windows will cease to function properly, then noticeable slopes in floors, ceilings, and walls will become evident.
While this extensive list of signs may make it seem like spotting a termite infestation should be obvious, this is not usually the case. These silent (and unseen) destroyers can eat away at a home for years without anyone ever having a clue what is going on. At American Pest, we have trained pest control technicians who are highly educated in the habits and habitats of termites. They will crawl into the tight spaces where evidence is often found, and do the "literal" dirty work to inspect for the signs these home-destroying critters leave behind. If you would like to schedule a termite inspection, reach out to us today. We look forward to serving you.