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Pests can be sneaky creatures. Mice can squeeze in through a crack and get into pantry items. Cockroaches can sneak in through vents and spread disease-causing bacteria. And spiders can invade and leave webs in the corners of rooms. But termites are the sneakiest creatures of all. While the above-mentioned pests leave signs of their presence, termites often leave no visible signs and can go for years, or even decades, eating away at the wood of a home, completely undetected. But there are signs that termites leave behind, if you know what to look for and where to look.
It is imperative for homeowners to know the signs showing that termites have infested, because it could save hundreds, or thousands, in costly repairs down the road. Termites in the United States cost U.S. property owners over $5 billion each year, which is more than all natural disasters combined. If left to their devices, termites can eat away at the wood of a home, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without ever sleeping, and without ever taking a break. Over time, this kind of infestation can lead to bulging walls and floors, doors and windows that refuse to open or close, and wood that becomes unsafe to walk on. The following is a list of early signs you can look for, in order to avoid extensive damage to your home and your equity.
Termites in your yard or on your property: If you have rotting stumps or other forms of decaying wood outside your home, do an inspection for the presence of termites. If you break off part of a stump and see a mass of little white things that resemble ants, you are likely looking at termite workers. (Go here to learn more about what termites look like.) And if termites are nearby to your home, there is a chance they have found their way inside your walls and other wooden areas of your structure. Termite workers can travel as much as the length of a football field in search of food.
Termite damage on the outside of your home: If you have places on the outside of your home where the wood touches the soil (especially if it is in a moist, shady spot) look there for evidence of termite activity. If the wood looks like it has been attacked by carving knives and the troughs are rough to the touch, you can be relatively sure termites have been at work in that location. Galleries made by carpenter ants, another wood-destroying pest, will be smooth.
Translucent, shed insect wings: While shed wings can be indicative of a flying ant swarm, those wings could be termite swarmer wings. When a termite colony is mature, it will send out termite reproductives, also called alates or termite swarmers, to start new colonies. If termite swarmers have come and gone, you may find their shed wings in places such as on window sills, on decks or patios, on foundation walls, or even caught in spider webs.
Termite swarmers: It is rare to actually see termite swarmers since they only appear once or twice a year, and only for around 1/2 an hour. But if you do see these on the outside of your home, you can be assured there is a mature colony close by, and maybe even inside your structure. If you see these swarmers inside your home, this is a sure sign you already have an active termite infestation.
Mud shelter tubes: These are tubes that worker termites build from the soil to the wood in order to shelter themselves from the harmful effects of the sun and air. These are most often found in hidden, shady spots on foundations or crawl space cement blocks. Sometimes they are even built up through concrete blocks, making them even more difficult to spot.
Noises inside walls: If there is a location on your home that is infested with termites, you may be able to hear noises if you have great hearing, or you use a stethoscope. The noises you may hear come from soldier termites banging their heads against the walls to signal danger. It will sound like a faint clicking noise. If soldiers do not perceive danger, you won't hear anything at all.
Termites are a multi-billion dollar problem for property owners here in the United States and termite damage is rarely covered by insurance companies because insurance companies consider termite damage preventable with routine maintenance. The problem is that most homeowners do not have the training to apply this maintenance effectively. But, when trusted products are applied by a certified professional, termites are no threat at all.
If you need termite protection for your home, American Pest can help. One of our certified termite control technicians can guide you in choosing the best termite treatment option for your needs. And, if you're currently dealing with an infestation, we'll help you get back to being termite-free. Give us a call to learn more.
Our Preferred Care Plan is an affordable pest control solution for eliminating common insects that enter the home from the outside. You will receive an initial interior and exterior inspection and treatment for your target pest problems, along with those we uncover during our inspection. Exterior treatments continue once every quarter to control ants, mice and rats, spiders and 30+ home invading pests. Guaranteed service quality backed by our Pest Free Pledge.
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