Early Detection of Pests is Key
Termites are rarely detectable to the untrained eye. For this reason, termites often go unnoticed for years. By knowing the signs and calling a professional inspector, homeowners can avoid costly property damage from termites in the home.
Damaged Wood Can Indicate Termites in the Home
Termites do not make noticeable holes in wood. Drywood termites, one of the most common kinds, eat the wood from the inside out. They nest inside a plank, piece of timber, or wood furniture. Once inside, they can establish a colony with elaborate chambers and tunnels. It may take five years or more to see visible damage from the outside.
Instead of looking for large holes or damaged wood, look for frass, or droppings, from termites. These small piles will look like sawdust. You may notice frass at the base of wooden molding or trim near doors and window sills after termites eject it from the wood.
Another thing you can do is touch wooden beams to see if they feel soft. Knock on them; if they sound hollow, it can be a sign that termites have eaten them from the inside. You may also find smaller holes, cracks, and seams or fissures running along the wood’s exterior. These are all warning signs of termite activity.
Swarming Termites and Discarded Wings
By knowing how termites get around, you can more easily spot early signs of them. For some termites, part of their life cycle is finding their mate. Termites leave the nest in a swarm to mate and start a colony in a new location. After swarming, the termites shed their wings because they are no longer needed. Look for small piles of dry, brownish, almost clear wings. Those are termite wings and are a sign that further inspection is necessary.
Another way termites get around is through mud tunnels or tubes. These are long structures that snake over wood or concrete. They allow termites to travel from one food source to another while staying protected from the elements. Mud tubes indicate termite activity on the property.
Other Signs of Termites in the Home
If you locate soft or damaged wood during your search for signs of termites in the home, try putting your ear against it and listening. At times you can actually hear the colony at work. Termites bang their heads and vibrate their bodies to communicate with each other.
Finally, since termite damage can cause wood to warp or buckle, it is often mistaken for water damage. However, wood in this condition can indicate termites in the home.
If you notice any of the above signs, call a professional to have your home thoroughly assessed for termites. You can discuss options for treatment with a pest professional and create a plan for dealing with termites in your home.