Each year, termites cause billions of dollars in structural damage, and homeowners, in general, spend over two billion dollars to get rid of them. There are prevention methods out there, but termites may still find your home appetizing.
Even if you can't always prevent termites, you can learn how to spot them. Read on to discover five signs of termites in a house.
1. Mud Tubes
A certain kind of termites, subterranean termites, won't leave the ground until they reach wood in the home. To do this, they bring the ground with them by forming mud tubes.
You can identify these signs of termites in a house by searching for long, thin tunnels of mud or soil. The mud tubes may also contain termite waste and spit or partially digested wood.
Mud tubes are as wide as a pencil and can appear to be flat. They are also muddy, shocker!
Subterranean termites must stay constantly hydrated to stay alive even when chewing through dry wood. Mud tubes allow this to happen by giving them access to the moisture in the soil or mud. This moisture helps to keep them from drying out in the sun.
You may find mud tubes from the ground up to the exterior sections of the home. You can often spot them on outside concrete home foundations, in between cracks in the walls or floors, or any exposed surface.
Although mud tubes are easy to identify when you see them, they are not always in plain sight. For example, you may find them inside or outside of the home in hard-to-see areas like under flooring, siding, baseboards, or wood.
2. Discarded Wings
Winged termite swarms, called alates, may seek out a new area in the springtime as their colonies expand and reach capacity. They are the only caste of subterranean termites that have wings.
If you see these winged termites, it is best to call the professionals right away. Hundreds of termites could be living somewhere in your home without you realizing it. Alates are produced to continue reproducing and expanding.
The mating season for these critters is from February to April. Once they mate or the mating season passes, alates will lose their wings. Because of this, it is possible to find a large pile of discarded wings around wooden homes.
Even though the survival rate of these termites is low, finding the wings is an obvious sign of termite infestation.
These swarming termites are most attracted to warmth and light. You may find a pile of discarded wings around lights, windows, door frames, or vents.
Flying termites will only come out of their colonies if it is at least two years old. Spotting a flying termite in your home calls for immediate termite extermination.
3. Termite Droppings
Termite droppings can look similar to coffee grounds or sawdust. Often, spotting feces from a termite is how most homeowners become aware that they have an infestation problem.
As they tunnel around in the structure of your home, they keep their area clean by removing the droppings.
If you find droppings, it usually means you are close to the source of infestation. Dry wood termites will drop small bun-shaped excrement directly below infected areas.
4. Squeaky Floorboards
If you notice that your hardwood floors are squeakier than usual, you may be dealing with termite damage beneath your floors. This is not a problem you'll want to ignore just because you can't physically see the damage.
Termites can weaken floor supports, sub-floors, and floor surfaces. When the floors are weakened, they become more sensitive to movements which is why floorboards may seem excessively squeaky.
Another one of the signs of termites in a house with wood floors is a hollow sound. This happens because termites can consume wood and create cavities in the floors and even walls.
You can tap on the wood to check if there is a hollow sound compared to other areas in the home.
5. Swollen Floor or Wall Panels
If termite damage is severe, you may discover damages to your floors and walls before actually seeing the pests.
If the floorboards are raised or you notice bumps in the wall, consider it a red flag. Often, these problems can look like water damage but actually be termites eating through your home's structure.
If you notice swollen panels or paint bubbles, your first instinct may tell you it's water damage. It is still a good idea to rule water damage out to understand if termites are the culprit.
Species of Termites
Every termite species will leave evidence, but it can be hard to notice without a professional inspection. Your home may be dealing with dry-wood termites or subterranean termites.
Dry-wood termites generally infest wall cavities, garages, attics, and other areas where wood is present. You'll often find signs of these termites in window frames, door frames, foundations, or other wood framing areas.
These termites prefer soil over wood, but that won't stop them from invading your home. These are the more destructive kind of termites that create mud tubes and are joined with a colony.
Knowing the Signs of Termites in a House
Knowing the signs of termites in a house is not always obvious. If you suspect anything unusual with your home's structure or find physical termites, mud tubes, or discarded wings, call a specialist right away.
Termites can cause thousands of dollars in damages. Even worse, they can make your home a hazardous place to live.
Joel's Pest Control is a business to be trusted with your termite inspection and treatment needs. Contact us now to receive a free quote.