You may have noticed issues with various parts of your home, but aren’t sure where to start to find the problem. Family and friends have mentioned to you that termites may be a plausible explanation for the chipping paint or hollow-sounding floorboards. Before assuming the problem is one thing or another, you decide to do some research on possible causes. Signs of termites can vary from location to location, and also depend on the type of termite infesting your living area. This is everything you will need to know in order to address your issue thoroughly.
Common Signs Of Termites
There are some signs which are more commonly associated with termites that you can look for if this is a concern you have. Keep in mind that some signs are more prevalent than others, and when examining your living quarters you should be as thorough as possible.
- Mud tubes on the exterior of your home are a big sign termites are invading your space. These will look similar to cocoons, only built using mud-like substance. Moisture-rich conditions are ideal for this type of tube to be constructed. The tunnels or tubes are made using a mixture of saliva, feces, and soil. Subterranean termites are prone to building these tubes.
- Cracked paint around your window sills is a big red flag. If any areas look distorted or warped, you should consider the fact that termites may be living under the surface. Knock on the sill and if there is a hollow echo, you can bet termites are present.
- Hollow sounds throughout your home. This includes floorboards, porches, decks, or any other area which may be made from wood. Because the termites eat from the inside out, there likely won’t be any signs on the exterior of your wood surfaces. When the termites eat the entire middle out, they will patch holes on the surface with the mud-like substance mentioned above.
- Feces. While the termites leave droppings that are pretty typical looking, you will know it if you discover them. Frass is the correct terminology for what the termite feces are called. The termites leave them behind after they have eaten their way through an area or finished nesting in that place. If you follow the trail of frass, you will find the source of the problem and the current location of the termites.
- Wings. While this may sound a little weird, groups of wings are definitely a sign you have an issue. The wings are shed once by the termites once the reproduction is over. You may find these outside your house after the swarms have happened. This typicallyoccurs a warm day after it has rained. These wings indicate that your infestation may be outside only, which is a good sign.
According to a report from the University of California, there are several different types of termites. In California alone there are at least 20 different species. Across the United States there are two main types of termites homeowners will deal with, drywood and subterranean. While they can pose similar problems, how they enter your home is completely different. The drywood termites feast on regular wood and can enter through any crack or crevice, while the subterranean termites usually live on dead wood but can also end up in your home.
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Drywood termites infest wood structures. From your front porch to the utility pole in your yard, these insects can be found eating their way through almost any wooden structure you can think of. Typically these termites eat through the wood and make tunnels they then fill with mud-like substance. Their presence is usually visible from the outside looking in. Often you will see the feces (frass) they have left behind after feasting on the wood.
The subterranean termites mainly eat dead wood. If you have stumps around your home or in your yard, chances are you may see some of these crawling around on the structure while devouring it. Several variations of the subterranean termite are winged, which is why when the swarm happens, plenty of wings are left lying around the dead wood. These termites are much smaller than the drywood termites, but they can do just as much, if not more damage to the structure they are occupying.
If you suspect you are seeing signs of termites, you should check your entire foundation and surrounding area. Make sure you arm yourself with a flashlight and either a pocket knife, or similar tool. It is suggested that you may want to wear overalls, but any clothing that will cover the majority of your body will do. You can anticipate crawling around on the ground in some dirty places. These are the areas of your home you should be checking.
- The basement and crawl space. Unfinished basements often become infested with termites because of the exposed wood pillars. While it can happen in a finished basement, the chances of infestation drop tremendously when you have all of the wooden pillars covered. Crawl spaces are usually damp and moist, which are perfect conditions for termites.
- Window sills. The wood on these are often flaky, especially if they are painted with cheap paint. Make sure you are checking around the window frames as well. Any small opening will allow the termites to move in and start eating away at your wood. This could cause grave damage, and may even force you to purchase new windows for your home.
- Wood under your porch or deck. Because this is outside wood, subterranean termites would go to town with it. Make sure everything is secure and there are no holes or chips in the wood. Your deck or porch should be completely sealed to avoid any potential problems in the future.
- Stumps around your home. If you have recently done landscaping or have cut down trees, you should immediately have the stumps removed. Subterranean termites love dead wood, and stumps are the perfect place for them.
- Check for cracks in any cement in or around your home. From the foundation to concrete floor in an unfinished basement, all of these areas need to be thoroughly checked over.
You will be happy to know that if you find signs of termites, it may not mean you have a full infestation. Sometimes owners will find the beginnings of termite infestation and are able to nip the problem in the bud before extreme measures have to be taken. Termites work slowly, giving home owners time to fix the problem before bigger issues arise.
Preventing An Infestation
Preventing termites can be easy if you start right away. Checking your surroundings and surveying your yard and home will allow you to keep an eye on any issues that may need to be addressed. Once you find signs of termites, you need to proactively work to get rid of them. If you stay on top of the issue, your termite problem should be able to be resolved without any further issues.
If you should find that termites are an issue in a certain area of your home or property, the entire house should be addressed. Treating termites isn’t an easy job, but it isn’t terribly difficult either. There are some home remedies listed for termite removal, or calling the exterminator works well too. Keeping your home in tip-top shape will reduce the probability of a termite infestation.