Every year, termites cause more than 5 billion dollars in property damage! They work silently and some of the signs of termite damage are difficult to spot until it’s too late.
These pests eat through the wood of your home until it’s no longer structurally sound. That’s why you need to know what you’re looking for so you can keep your home termite free.
Luckily, we know the signs! Read on below to find out what to keep an eye out for and when to call pest control.
You Have Bubbling Paint & Peeling Wallpaper
Interestingly enough, termite damage can mimic water damage. This can look like bubbles underneath your paint or lines under your wallpaper.
While they eat away at your home, termites make tunnels that can sometimes be seen as lines on your walls. They also make exit holes that look like pin holes.
Some other signs your walls could be giving you that you have termites are discolored wallpaper, sunken areas, and drooping drywall. However, in some cases, there are no signs until the walls are torn into for renovation.
You Spot Shelter/Mud Tubes
Subterranean termites created tubes to travel to and from their food source safely. This shelters them from predators and also helps retain moisture since termites die quickly in dry air.
Mud tubes are a telltale sign that you have termites. They are around 1/4 of an inch to an inch in diameter and track up the wall of your foundation.
These tubes are not to be confused with mud dauber wasp nests. Their nests are significantly shorter and are usually found in eaves and window frames.
Termite tubes look like long, thin veins running starting from the ground and working their way up your home. You can also find them in your bathroom, laundry room, or by your baseboards.
A good way to check if the tube is fresh and active is to break off an inch of it. Fresh tubes are moist while old ones are dry and brittle.
When you break a piece of the tube off, you may see live termites, which is your answer. It’s also possible that you won’t see any, but it doesn’t mean that the tube isn’t still in use. Come back later to see if the termites have repaired it.
If it hasn’t been repaired, it’s probably an old tube. However, they may have just moved to a different location, and you could still have a termite infestation.
You Find Termites or Their Wings
A surefire way to know that you’re dealing with a termite nest and infestation is if you spot the termites themselves or their dropped wings. Termites with wings are fully mature termites called swarmers.
These are the termites that reproduce and help form new colonies. Once they find a mate, they shed their wings.
It takes years for a colony to start producing swarmers. So, if you’re finding dropped wings on your window sill or in spider webs, you likely have a large problem on your hands.
You may think finding dead swarmers is a good thing, but they would have died anyway in the dry air. The thriving colony inside your walls and home need to be dealt with before it continues to grow.
These termites are often confused for flying ants, but you’ll know them by their 1/4 to 1/2 inch long pale wings. They also have straight bodies instead of the cinched waists like ants.
The Wood Sounds Hollow
Have you ever tapped wood and noticed it sounded hollow? You can check your home and deck this way.
Use a screwdriver to tap in different places and take note of the sound. While you can’t completely rule out any other wood-boring insect, you’ll know the state of the wood.
You can also use a stethoscope to listen to your walls. If it’s carpenter ants instead of termites, you’ll be able to hear them rustling around.
Your Doors Are Sticking
While settling is a normal occurrence for your home and wood expands in different seasons, there could be another reason that you’ve noticed your doors and windows sticking. Window and door frames are prime targets for termites.
These frames begin to warp as termites dig and eat their way through the wood. It becomes difficult to open and close your windows and doors.
If the infestation has spread further, you’ll also notice issues in your baseboard’s structure, floors, and even possibly your ceiling. This in conjunction with the other signs we’ve talked about at this point can help rule out other sources.
You Notice Frass
Frass is the name for termite droppings. All of the wood these termites are eating has to go somewhere after all.
They push frass out of their tunnels as they go. It eventually is pushed completely out of one of their pinpoint exit holes.
If you’ve spotted frass, you have drywood termites. This is the only kind visible to humans.
Formed as tiny pellets, frass has the appearance of wood shavings or salt and pepper. Termites create small mounds and heaping piles of frass. You’ll find these on countertops or the floor.
Prevent Termite Damage
Remove any dead trees and stumps close to your home as these are breeding grounds for termites and their source of food. Always use treated wood when building structures like decks and sheds.
When spreading mulch, don’t put it right up against your home. Install metal termite shields to keep termites from nesting if it’s a big concern for your area.
If you already have termite damage, you may need to completely replace the wood depending on how hollowed out it is. Contact pest services first to tackle the infestation.
Prodigy Pest Solutions can help. Check out some of our termite control plans to make your home pest free!