Early Warning Signs of Termites
When most people think of termites, they think of tiny creatures that live in the ground, and the damage they can cause to homes and other buildings. While it’s certainly important to be aware of the potential for damage, it’s also essential to know the early warning signs of an infestation. This blog post will discuss some common early warning signs of termites, so you can take steps to protect your home or property.
How Do I Know if I Have Termites?
Termites are eusocial insects that are classified under the order Isoptera. They are related to cockroaches. There are 2,600 species of termite, and they are present on every continent except Antarctica. Termites generally live in colonies in the soil. However, some termite species can also live in wood, dead leaves, or other forms of organic matter. The most common type of termite in the United States is the subterranean termite.
Subterranean termites are small, soft-bodied insects that utilize underground tunnels and timber nests to infiltrate thousands of homes across the country. They are like ants because they’re attracted to moisture, food sources with high sugar content, and rich soils.
While there are preventive measures you can take to stop termites from attacking your home, it’s also important to know the early warning signs of an infestation. Here are some common early warning signs of termites:
1. Mud Tubes – One of the most common early warning signs of termites is mud tubes. These are small tunnels made out of mud that termites use to travel from their nests in the ground to the wood in your home. Mud tubes are about the thickness of a pencil and are usually found near your home’s foundation or on exterior walls.
Unfortunately, if you spot mud workings, it’s too late to combat termites proactively. However, avoiding build-ups of moist soil or dirt around the perimeter can prevent frequent travel across your property by these pesky insects!
2. Wood Damage – Wood damage is another early warning sign of termites. This can include hollow-sounding wood, crumbling or flaking wood, or sawdust near wood. In addition, wood damage can also cause stuck windows or doors. As termites begin feeding on wood, they can cause warping in door frames and windows, making them difficult to open or close properly when you have an infestation of these pests!
3. Swarms – Another common early warning sign of termites is swarms. These are large groups of flying insects that you may see around your home, especially in the springtime. Swarms typically occur when termites seek a new place to build their colony. Swarmers, most commonly called alates, reproduce in rotting tree stumps or large piles of wood, so it’s a good idea to clear any excess pieces from around your house before they find their way onto the property.
4. Discarded Wings – Another sign that you may have termites is if you find discarded wings around your home. Termites shed their wings when they’re ready to mate and start a new colony. So if you find wings around your home, it’s a good indication that you have an infestation.
5. Cracks in Paint or Wallpaper – Termites can also cause cracks in paint or wallpaper. This is usually due to the termites eating away at the wood behind the wall. If you see cracks in your paint or wallpaper, it’s a good idea to call a pest control professional to have them inspect your home for termites.
6. Termite Droppings – Termite droppings “frass” are another sign of termite activity. As they eat through the wood, termites digest it and push out any pieces that might build up inside their colony to avoid this pesky mess. Only frass of dry wood termites, found primarily in southern coastal states, is visible to humans. These wood-colored droppings that appear like dust or wood shavings are often found near windows or sills. Unlike dry wood termites, subterranean termites usually don’t leave visible feces. Instead, they produce a more liquid form of frass.
Termites can cause a lot of damage to your home if they’re not dealt with quickly. If you think you might have termites, don’t hesitate to call a pest control professional to have them inspect your home. They’ll be able to determine if you have an infestation and recommend the best course of treatment.
There are several different methods of termite control, including baiting, chemicals, and fumigation. Baiting involves putting bait stations around your home that termites will feed on. The bait contains a slow-acting poison that will kill the termites over time. Chemical treatments involve applying chemicals to the soil around your home to create a barrier that termites can’t cross. Fumigation is a last resort that involves using poisonous gas to kill the termites.
No matter what method of termite control you choose, it’s important to have your home regularly inspected for termites. This will help ensure that any infestation is caught early and can be treated before it causes too much damage.