It can be horrifying finding termites. But it is more horrifying to not find them. Termites are sneaky insects, especially the termites we have in our area. They live in the ground and come up from the ground to feed on man-made structures. Once inside, they quietly nibble on wood and consume it inch by inch, 24 hours a day. If they go undetected, this can lead to extensive damage. This is why it is essential to know the warning signs of a termite infestation.
1. Seeing Workers
Termite workers stay hidden from view. The only way you're going to see them is if you uncover them. You may do this while raking up mulch. You may do it when you move a piece of wood that is resting on the ground. The way they're often found is during home improvements. You could see them when you remove a tree stump in your yard, or as you're altering your landscaping. You could see them in your walls during a renovation.
Termite workers look like fat, pale-colored ants. Along with the workers, you'll see soldiers. These termites have dark orange heads and black pincers.
2. Seeing Swarmers
When a termite colony matures, it begins to produce swarmers. A swarmer is ⅜ of an inch long and black with white wings. The wings stack on top of each other and are rounded at the tips. They're quite distinctive.
If you find termite swarmers in your yard, it means there is a termite nest nearby—or several nests. Swarmers don't travel far during the mating process.
If you find termite swarmers in your home, it means there is a nest very close (or possibly underneath) your home.
3. Finding Wings
Termites swarm for a short time. Once they're done, they shed their wings and tunnel into the soil to establish a nest. The only warning sign you may get is the appearance of tiny white wings in your yard. These may be on the ground or you may find them stuck in spider webs. Search for swarmer wings in the spring. This is when nests release these flying termites into the air.
4. Finding Shelter Tubes
The termites we have in Monmouth County are subterranean termites. They live in the ground. If they can't find direct wood-to-soil contact, they create shelter tubes to go from the soil to the wood inside your home. These tubes are basically above-ground tunnels made from soil and saliva. You can find them in many places. They can be on the outside or inside of your home. Look in dark, humid spaces first.
A shelter tube is as thin as a pencil. If you see one tube, it will look like a wiggly worm. If there are tunnels branching off of the initial tunnel, it will look like a river flowing up your walls. You might also describe it as looking like chain lightning. It is possible to find several tubes together. Some technicians in New Jersey have found tunnels caked together in a mass as large as four feet wide. Keep this in mind as you go looking for one little wiggly tunnel.
5. Noticing Damage
This is the worst way to discover termites in your Monmouth County property. It can take quite a while for subterranean termite damage to become noticeable. If you notice a floor is sinking, or a wall is bulging, the damage is extensive. But you could find termite damage early if you know where to look. Subterranean termite workers are strongly motivated to stay in areas that are damp and dark. If you inspect underneath an exterior structure where the ground stays wet, and you examine a spot where there is wood-to-soil contact, you could see erosion of the wood near the ground. If this erosion has trenches, you have termites or carpenter ants. If they are smooth to the touch, those tunnels were created by carpenter ants. If they're gritty, you have subterranean termites. This is because subterranean termites bring soil up into their tunnels. In fact, you may have to clear the soil away to see the tunnels.
What To Do When You See Signs
Subterranean termites cost U.S. property owners $5 billion annually. They are no small threat. At the first sign of termites in Monmouth County, contact the termite control professionals here at Alliance Pest Services. We understand this threat and we can guide you in finding the right termite control solution for your specific needs and budget. We provide all the services you need to exterminate termites and prevent future termite infestations. Reach out to us today to schedule service for your Monmouth County property. We can help you find the right solutions.