Signs That You Could Have Termites in Your Home

April 27, 2015

There are at least five signs that you as a homeowner can see that tell you that you have a termite problem. The signs can be very subtle at first but as termite damage continues to destroy you hard earned home, you should be able to see more evidence of a termite infestation.

termite closeup crawling on wood

You really need to take action as soon as you see any evidence of termite damage or any sign of an infestation so you can minimize the damage the little critters do to the home you spent hours taking care of and a fortune in keeping tidy. If you are not capable of looking everywhere in your home for termites, then by all means spend the money to have a professional inspect your home.

The most common signs of termites are mud tubes, termite swarmers, flaking paint, soft or spongy feeling wood, and termite defecation. Termites are crafty little buggers and you may have to look very closely to see the damage that has started so you can take steps to nip the problem in the bud before it becomes a serious and expensive problem.

Mud Tubes

Mud tubes are a sure sign of termites. Look around the outside of your home, in your garage, on your wood porch, and in the roof or attic for mud tubes. Mud tubes are the way that termites provide moisture for themselves so they can live. The tubes are also transportation tunnels for termites and the wood refuse they take away from your home.

Most often, you will see mud tubes on the exterior wood of your home first. The tubes are small, flat, half barrel shaped. You can tell the objects are termite tubes by the characteristic light tan color and the appearance of having been built one row at a time. The mud tubes usually extend from the earth around your home up over the concrete and on the wood.

Termite Swarmers

Termites reproduce in the air. Some species of termites favor the spring and some species can reproduce or swarm at any time of the year.

What you need to look for is a large swarm of very tiny bugs. You may not be able to see the individual termites from a distance but the swarm is easy to spot. Termites prefer to swarm when it is moist so looking for swarms after a rain is a great way to detect termites.

If you do not see a swarm of bugs you can still tell that termites have been reproducing around your house by looking for large numbers of tiny wings in a small area of your yard. Termites often lose their wings during mating and a pile of small wings means you have an impending termite problem.

Flaking Paint

As termites eat away at the wood of your home, the bond between the paint and the wood becomes less stable. Flaking paint can be a sign of termite damage.

You need to examine the exterior of your home at least once a month for flaking paint. If you see flaking paint, then test the stability of the wood underneath the flaking paint. If the wood is spongy or soft you probably have a termite problem.

Look for flaking paint around all the baseboards in your home and in the wood in your garage. Termites get in from the ground and go up. Flaking paint on baseboards and any wood near the ground is a sign of termite infestation.

Soft or Spongy Wood

Most homes have wood surfaces that are directly exposed to the weather most of the time. Think about porches, doors, and windows. Even though these areas may be protected by paint or a coating, termites can still be a problem.

At least once a month you should carefully inspect your porch, deck, windows, doors, attic, and any exposed wood surfaces for texture. You can tell if a deck or porch has a spongy feel by just walking over the entire surface of the deck or porch. For doors, windows, and other exposed surfaces you need to press gently but firmly on the surface. A soft feel to the wood surface can often indicate that you have a termite infestation going on.

Termite Dung

Termites have to excrete like everything else. Termite excretions are usually the same color as wood. Light tan is normal but dark brown is possible depending on the type of wood. Termites do not digest every part of the wood that they eat.

Termite defecation is probably the hardest evidence of termites to find. The excreta are small. The advantage that you have over the termites is that there are so many of the bugs you probably will notice the excretions and you might think they are sawdust.

You need to look around base boards, in closets, on any exterior wood surface, in the roof, in the attic, and in the gutters for this evidence of termites.

Mud tubes coming off the ground, flaking paint off wood surfaces near the floor, swarms of tiny insects, large piles of tiny wings, soft wood, and termite feces are the most common signs of termites. If you see this evidence, then you already have a termite problem.

It is usually easier for a homeowner to get the help of a professional in preventing termite damage before it happens. A licensed and trained professional knows where to look for termites. They can also advise you about how to prevent termites from having access to your home.

Most termite pros provide a termite trap that goes on the outside of your flower beds and contains a piece of wood. Termites will go to this trap before they go into your home. The cost of professional inspection and protection is insignificant compared to the replacement costs for severe termite damage to your home.

Alliance Pest Services is your termite exterminator for all your termite and wood destroying insects.  

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