Termites are a major concern for homeowners and for good reason. Each year they cause thousands of dollars in structural damage. These wood-destroying insects work from the inside out, easily going unnoticed so they are often hard to detect until the damage has already been done.
Of the three main types of termites – drywood termites, dampwood termites and subterranean termites – only subterranean termites are native to the tri-state region. Drywood termites are sometimes found in the area, having traveled via wood shipping containers or furniture.
Subterranean termites measure about ⅛ of an inch long. They range from creamy white to dark brown in color and have six legs. Their colonies consist of thousands of termites, allowing them to do a lot of damage in a short period of time.
Let’s explore some of the common signs of termite infestations and what you can do to protect your home from a termite problem.
Signs of Subterranean Termites
Subterranean termites are rarely seen in the open. True to their name they live underground, traveling through their mud tube tunnels in pursuit of food sources. These termites are constantly eating, choosing anything cellulose based – like paper and wood – which is why they often eat through the wood of your home.
One of the most noticeable signs of termites is the mud tubes they build. These tubes can be found in various places around your home, including exterior cellar walls, crawl spaces under your home, and interior walls. They are made from the soil around your home so they will be similar in color.
They can also appear gray and look like cement or resemble a little built up pile of dirt. If you see mud tubes on the exterior of your home, break away a small piece. If you see live termites or if you notice that the mud tube has been repaired after a few days, then you know you have an infestation.
Termite swarmers are a sure sign of an active infestation. You may first notice them outside of your home during the spring or fall as they leave the mature nest to start their own new nest. They are attracted to light, so look for them around windows and doors. After the termites swarm, they will discard their wings.
Since it can take over three years for a subterranean termite nest to mature, the presence of swarmers is a sign that your home might have been infested by termites for several years. Termite swarmers are often mistaken for flying ants so if you are unsure, consult a pest control professional.
Unexplained Noises in Your Walls
Termite workers communicate with each other by tapping their heads on the walls of their tunnels. You may be able to hear termite activity within your walls. Not sure? Put your ear to the wall and listen for a clicking noise. A hollow sound when you tap on your walls is another indication of the presence of termites.
Visible Structural Damage
Another clear sign of a termite infestation is visible structural damage. If you’re noticing that doors and windows are starting to stick, floors and door frames are starting to sag or walls and floors are beginning to bulge and buckle, your home may already have some termite destruction.
Additional evidence of termites in your home:
- Damaged wood and cracks in wood throughout your home
- Drooping ceilings
- Small holes in wood (used to push out termite waste)
- Peeling or bubbling paint, as if due to water damage
- Piles of frass (termite droppings)
- Discarded wings
Protecting Your Home from Termites
DIY termite control is nearly an impossible task. First, you need to locate the nest. A termite colony can build the nest as far as 300 feet from your home. Even if you do locate the nest, know that any DIY product will not reach far enough into the ground to have any effect on the termites. The chemicals in these products can also be damaging to the people and pets in your home as well as the plants in and around your property.
The best way to prevent a termite infestation is to get a professional termite protection plan in place. We offer industry-leading termite protection services that are safe to use around people and pets, so you can rest assured that your home will be protected from these wood-eating pests. Don’t wait until you see signs of termites. Contact our pest control experts to take action now and prevent an infestation from creating significant damage to your home.
Call 215.799.2010 or schedule an appointment.