Termites are the biggest threat to your biggest investment – your home. Although we watch the devastation of homes on the news, like wildfires taking over neighborhoods and tornados wiping out communities, the fact is that termites (not catastrophic events) are the top threat to wooden structures. Termites cause more than $5 billion in damage each year, and many Americans will have to deal with termite control or termite treatment at some point in their lives.
Termites are most active in warmer climates. However, they are found in 49 states (all but Alaska). If your home becomes infested, it is important you seek termite treatment right away. Professional pest control companies can help you rid your home of termites, and they can also implement termite control strategies that help monitor termite activity. If you think you may have a termite problem, check out these 3 common signs your home may be infested with termites.
1. Wood Damage
Termites feed on cellulose, a component of wood, and as they eat their way around your home, they can damage the wood found in your floors, walls, and ceilings. When they feed, they do so inside the wood, not on the surface. Therefore, the wood damage may show obvious signs of breaks and cracks, or the word surface could actually still appear smooth with the main damage occurring under the surface.
For non-visible damage, you can tap on the surface of the wood. If it makes a hollow sound, this indicates potential damage where termites are eating their way from the inside out. Both hollow-sounding wood and obvious visual wood damage are two main signs you need to call a pest control team for termite treatment.
2. Mud Tubes
There are two main types of termites. One is the subterranean termite which builds its colonies underground. They use the soil to travel in search of food because they need a moist environment. When they find food, they create their own tunnels that move to the source. These above-ground channels to the food source (aka your home) are called mud tubes.
Mud tubes are made from broken mud and fecal matter, and they are used to keep the termite moist as it moves from its moist underground nest to the food source. These pencil-size tubes of mud on the surface of your home (for example, the foundation) are evidence of termites.
However, if you do not find mud tubes, it does not necessarily mean your home is termite free. There are other ways for subterranean termites to reach your home too, including cracks in the foundation wall and under stucco. If you don’t see mud tubes but still think you may have a termite problem, it’s best to call in a termite control team.
3. Discarded Wings
The second type of termite is called the drywood termite which, unlike the subterranean termites, need very little moisture so they create colonies right inside the wood. These termites include a group of workers as well as a group of reproducers called Alates or swarmers.
Swarmers have two sets of wings, and when the time is right, they swarm outside of their current nests in order to create new colonies. The wings are used to travel short distances and set up new colonies, so when a swarmer reaches a new nest, they no longer need the wings and therefore shed them. If you see a group of swarming insects – or a pile of discarded wings – it is evidence you may need termite treatment for a drywood termite infestation.
If you are noticing any of the above problems at your home – or related problems such as cracked or distorted paint, frass (termite droppings), or other wood damage like weakened wood or wood with tiny holes – it is time to seek termite treatment immediately. Your pest control team can get rid of the termites and stop them from causing further damage. Homeowners can also be proactive in their solutions. Instead of waiting until they need termite treatment, smart homeowners use a termite control strategy where termite activity around the home is regularly monitored by their local pest control specialists.
To learn more about professional termite control and treatment solutions, please contact Spott Pest Prevention today at (512) 402-7121!