How to Identify Termite Activity

Evidence of Termites

Termites can often live on your property or inside your home for an extended period of time before being detected. Whether it’s drywood termites, which burrow deep within wooden structures, or subterranean termites, which are primarily found underground, these discreet intruders can be tough to discover before significant damage has already been done. To help keep damage to a minimum, it’s crucial to catch the warning signs as soon as possible.

Keep an eye out for the following signs of termite activity:

  • Discolored or drooping drywall

  • Peeling paint that resembles water damage

  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped

  • Small, pinpoint holes in drywall

  • Buckling wooden or laminate floor boards

  • Tiles loosening from the added moisture termites can introduce to your floor

  • Excessively squeaky floorboards

  • Crumbling, damaged wood

  • Stuck windows or doors

  • Maze-like patterns in furniture, floor boards or walls

  • Mounds of drywood termite pellets, often resembling small piles of salt or pepper

  • Piles of wings left behind after swarms, often resembling fish scales

  • Mud tubes climbing the foundation of your home

  • Flying termite swarms anywhere on your property

Discarded Wings

Discarded Termite Wings

Discarded Termite Wings

Termite swarms may take place inside or outside of a home as mature termites leave the nest to start new colonies. Soon after swarmers take flight, they shed their wings. You may find small piles of wings in spider webs and on surfaces around your home’s foundation, like window sills.

Termite swarms may take place inside or outside of a home as mature termites leave the nest to start new colonies. Soon after swarmers take flight, they shed their wings. You may find small piles of wings in spider webs and on surfaces around your home’s foundation, like window sills.

Termite Swarmers

Formosan Termite Swarmer

Formosan Termite Swarmer

Swarmers from mature colonies typically leave the nest at one of two times per year - during the spring or during the fall. The exact timing of the swarms varies based on the species and weather conditions. Swarms on the exterior of a home may be missed by homeowners, as they are typically a brief event during the morning or afternoon – a time when many people are not at home. Formosan termites also can swarm at dusk.

Mud Tubes

Subterranean Termite Mud Tube

Subterranean Termite Mud Tube

Subterranean termites build mud tubes (also known as shelter tubes) to serve as bridges between their colony and the wood they consume. These tubes are made of tiny pieces of soil, wood and debris, and are used to protect the colony from predators and conserve moisture.

Termite Droppings

Drywood Termite Droppings

Drywood Termite Droppings

After consuming wood, drywood termites often leave behind frass or droppings. These tiny fecal mounds often indicate a nearby termite infestation.

Drywood Termite Signs

Drywood termites are usually found in warm, southern climates. They house their colonies within the wood on which they feed. As the termites consume wood, they burrow mazes of tunnels and chambers within walls and furniture. The pests leave small piles of feces that resemble pellets where they have eaten or nested.

Drywood Termites

Drywood Termites

Drywood termites also cause sagging floors, walls, and ceilings and may leave behind areas which appear to be water damaged. After winged drywood termites swarm, their wings shed and can be found in small piles throughout an infested home. These wings resemble fish scales.

See swarm photos.

Subterranean Termite Signs

Subterranean termites are found throughout the continental United States. These pests build their colonies underground and can travel above ground to access food sources. They enter homes through cracked or unsealed foundations as well as through tunnels constructed from mud, their feces, and saliva. These tunnels are brown, dry, and cylindrical in appearance.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean Termites

The presence of these tunnels near the foundation of your home is a sure sign of subterranean termite infestation. Just like drywood termites, subterranean termites produce winged swarmers which indicate an active termite colony.

Get Help ASAP

Remember, these signs may only become visible after termites have been present for months or even years. The best way to protect your home from devastating structural damage is to have your home inspected by a licensed termite professional every year. These experts are trained to spot even the most inconspicuous signs of termite activity, potentially saving you from thousands of dollars in home repair.

Termite Control

How do you know if you have termites?
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Why should you be worried?
Termites cost Americans more than $5 billion in damage each year and most insurance plans don’t cover the damage.

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