Termites are known as the “silent destroyers”; they can sneak into your home and chew through wood, flooring, and even wallpaper entirely undetected. These pests are so good at destruction, the National Pest Management Association estimates termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year.
Although these pests are often hidden from view, there are some subtle signs you have termites. If you see any of these signs, it’s time for a and extermination strategy.
Here are 5 Signs You Might Have Termites in Your Home
Sign #1: The Swarm
It may sound like a horror flick, and if you ignore this swarm, it’s likely to become one. Mature male and female reproductive termites leave the nest to establish their own colonies. For subterranean termites most commonly found in New England, swarming most commonly occurs in the spring (March – June), although some termites swarm in the early autumn.
Swarmers will look much like flying ants (although ants with wings are a different problem pest altogether). They typically emerge during the day, especially on warm days after a rain. If you find the swarm outdoors, such as near a tree stump or a wood pile set back from your house, you may not have a problem. If the swarm is inside, that likely means you have termites.
Sign #2: Discarded Wings
You may never see the actual swarm if you aren’t in the right place at the right time. They do leave behind clues that they were there, though: wings.
Look around your home’s foundation on flat surfaces like floors and window sills or in spider webs. If you see piles of discarded wings, you may have termites. Try to save a few of these wings for your termite expert, who can use them to identify the insect.
Sign #3: Mud Tubes
Subterranean termites build mud tubes between the underground colony and the wood they consume. These pencil-width tunnels are constructed along walls with tiny bits of soil, wood, and debris, as well as fecal matter.
If you find mud tubes, you can break them open to check whether the termites that built them are still active. Tubes from prior infestations are dry and crumble easily. If the infestation is active, termites will usually rebuild damaged tubes.
Sign #4: Hollow Wood
Termites prefer dark, humid environments, and will therefore eat from within the wood itself (inside to out) and not on the surface. You may see wood that appears crushed at structural bearing points, but you’re more likely to identify damaged wood by tapping it every few inches with the handle of a screw driver. Termite-damaged wood resonates with a hollow sound when tapped.
Sign #5: Damaged Wood
Homeowners often discover a termite infestation and damage during a home remodel, when interiors are exposed. You may find it on your own during the hollow tapping test, if the tool breaks through the thin veneer of surface wood left by the termites. You can often find tunnels that run parallel to the wood’s grain if you probe at the wood with a pen knife or similar instrument,
Termite Inspection Time
If you find any of these signs, or you still suspect a termite infestation, it’s time to call in a professional who can perform a termite inspection. He or she can determine if you have a problem, the extent of the trouble, and what you need to do next.
Have you seen any of these termite signs? Call us at (800) 235-3093 to for an expert termite inspection now!