Not one, not even ten, but a staggering 28 termite species are invasive. Moreover, they have a global presence, causing about $40 billion in damages each year. And as you can imagine, some of those destructive species have spread in the United States.
For these reasons, it’s imperative to monitor for signs of termites in your home. Otherwise, they can eat away and destroy the wooden components of your house.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to hunt down termites, as they prefer to stay inside soil or wood. However, there are still some visible cues you can be on the lookout for to track them down.
This guide discusses the top indications of a termite infestation, so keep reading.
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Also called utility tubes, working tubes are tunnels measuring 1/4 to one inch in diameter. They’re like roads that termites use to carry food or materials to build and repair other tunnels. The destructive pests construct them by mixing dirt with their feces and saliva.
Utility tubes on your basement walls are early warning signs of termites in the house. You may also see them along your home’s foundation, under porches, and around sills and windows.
Call a termite removal company right after discovering such mud tunnels at home. It’s still possible that they’re only from the first colony, which hasn’t expanded yet. Their immediate extermination can therefore prevent their population from increasing.
Exploratory mud tunnels are thinner and more fragile than utility tubes. However, termites use the same materials to construct these lanes. Moreover, they’re often easier to notice because they have branches facing multiple directions.
Termites build exploratory mud tunnels to forage for food, but they don’t connect them to wood. Instead, the insects often construct them over the ground and above concrete or metal.
If you see and destroy exploratory tubes, you’re unlikely to find live insects inside. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have an infestation; it only shows the pests have moved on to another area. Thus, it’s best to call a termite inspection and control company as soon as you see these tunnels.
Drop tubes are tunnels suspended from the ceiling, often looking like a giant worm or thin snake. Some may even look like miniature wood-colored stalactites branching out in different directions. These disgusting, even scary-looking tubes connect working tunnels to the ground.
Termites often build drop tubes in less-used areas, such as basements and crawlspaces. You may also find them hanging from your roof’s soffit.
Suppose it’s late spring, and you see odd-shaped dried mud formations on your walls or ceilings. Hire a pest control company for termite treatments immediately. One reason is that the weird things you see are likely swarm castles housing winged termites.
It’s imperative to kill termites with wings because they’re reproductive insects. Also called alates, these winged insects leave the nest to find a partner and start new colonies. In addition, their presence means you’ve had an infestation for at least three to four years.
If you don’t see swarm castles in late spring, you might encounter the alates themselves. Once they leave their temporary housing, they take flight toward the nearest light.
So, you’re likely to find hundreds of winged termites swarming near bulbs and lamps. You might also see them flying outside windows if there’s light on the other side of the pane.
Alates are incredibly fragile and aren’t strong flyers, either. That causes them to land after only a few minutes, even seconds, from their initial flight. They then break their wings, look for a mate, and together with the future queen, travel on foot to start a new colony.
If the now-wingless swarmers can’t find a nesting place right away, they will die soon after. Thus, if they swarm indoors, most of them desiccate and die without mating. That may sound like good news but remember: even a few successful pairs can lead to an infestation.
For that reason, please call a pest control company as soon as you encounter winged termites. In the meantime, you can use a vacuum cleaner to suction and kill the flying alates. Then, seal the vacuum bag tightly to ensure that none of the pests can survive.
Let’s say you still missed the live swarming activity. You can then expect to see shed wings or dead insects below or near light sources after. You may also notice them on nearby window sills.
Pinholes in walls are indications of termites; they use these as exit holes. They usually cause such destruction while feeding on the wood components of walls.
Termites can make these tiny holes without disturbing the outermost layer of walls. Hence, they can be difficult to detect unless you peel off part of the paint or wallpaper.
If you suspect an infestation, give your walls a close inspection. You might notice some spots that look dented or sunken. You may also see areas with bubbling, discoloration, or peeling.
If so, ring up a termite control company ASAP.
Once termites cause enough damage, they can blister the wooden material they’ve eaten. That can result in the wood chipping off or breaking into small flakes. You may notice these broken-off pieces below the damaged structure or on the ground.
Touching the termite-eaten material may also cause it to crumble and disintegrate. That might even reveal a hollow center.
You may also encounter mounds of what looks like wood shavings or sawdust. If you have a termite infestation, that’s most like termite frass or their excrement.
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Please note that termite tunneling activities can also cause electrical system failures. Unfortunately, such malfunctions give rise to thousands of U.S. home fires each year. So, aside from property damage, these pests can also put your family’s safety at risk.
All that should prompt you to monitor your home for common signs of termites. Then, call a pest control company as soon as you encounter them.
Are you looking for other tips to keep your home pest-free, safe, and healthy? Then feel free to read more of our blog now!