No one wants to imagine that it will happen to them, but unfortunately, termite infestations affect countless households throughout the country every year. In fact, the EPA reports that termites cause, not millions, but billions of dollars in structural damage across the U.S. annually. Unless your home contains no wood or any other plant material, it is also susceptible to this type of pest damage.
TERMITE INFESTATION WARNING SIGNS
Whether you suspect you have termites presently or not, it’s important to know what “red flags” usually indicate an infestation.
When the weather begins to heat up during springtime, termites will start to swarm. They fly from their colonies in large numbers to start a new colony elsewhere. Many people mistake these “swarmers” for flying ants, so pay careful attention to the wing shape. A termite’s front wings and hind wings are approximately the same length, whereas an ant’s front wings are longer than their hind wings.
2. Hollow Wood
Termites chew tunnels and grooves through wood as a means to eat their number one food source: cellulose. These tunnels, or ‘galleries,” make the wood hollow and prone to splintering and breaking. You can tell when wood is hollow by the sound it makes when you knock on it. Wood that appears cracked and weathered may have also suffered termite damage.
3. Frass (Droppings)
As termites eat away inside a piece of wood, they create waste (frass). Instead of letting the waste build up inside of their galleries, they push the frass out of holes they make in the wood. If they use the same holes over and over, a small pile of frass can develop. It might look similar to a tiny mound of coffee grounds or sawdust.
4. Clicking Sounds
Termites are noisy eaters. If you have an infestation in your walls, you can sometimes hear their incessant chewing. If something alarms the soldier termites, you might also hear them bang their heads against the wood to warn the other termites of danger.
5. Mud Tunnels
Subterranean termites build extensive tunnels out of wood, dirt, and their saliva. These tunnels connect the colony to various food sources, shield the termites from predators, and prevent the termites from getting dehydrated. If you spot what looks like mud tubes leading up to your home, you can bet that some part of your home is, unfortunately, a food source.