If you suspect that you may have termites, there are some telltale signs that you can look for around your home. Once you know what to look for, you can easily spot the signs indicating you do have termites. Termites can cause significant damage to your home, costing you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in repairs and extermination fees. The sooner you find out if you do have termites, the better for your home and your pocketbook.
Signs You Have Termites
There are several ways to spot evidence of termites around your home. One of the signs termite inspectors look for is damage to the wood in and around your house. Even though the surface of the wood may appear smooth, termites could be eating it from the inside out. Tap on the wood in areas where you suspect termites and listen for a hollow sound. If it does sound hollow, the termites could be hiding and eating away at the wood where you can’t readily see the damage.
In the areas were they are eating away at wood, you may find some small wood shavings. This is called frass and it is a mixture of wood particles and feces where the termites have defecated. Frass may also be the result of carpenter ants or other insects as well, so you will have to look for other signs to see if the frass is caused by termites or not. One way to tell is by looking at the wood grain. Carpenter ants will eat through the wood by going against the grain, but termites go with the grain of the wood.
Termites want to protect their tunnels from the elements, so they build shelter tubes by compacting mud over the paths they travel in and out of your home. These tubes are usually on the outside of your home along the foundation. You may also find shelter tubes or similar structures on the inside of your home hanging in dark, damp areas. Inspectors will examine your foundation carefully for these tubes indicating the presence of termites.
Even though you may have some damage, termites can be dormant, meaning they are inactive so your home isn’t in danger. However, you may spot swarms of live termites around your home, which should cause you some concern. These termites are active and can be a threat to your home. If you spot a termite swarm, you will want to contact an exterminator and have them address the issue immediately.
When you have a pest management professional come out to inspect your home, he/she may recommend a number of solutions for your termite problem, if termites are found. They may use a liquid treatments, baits or other direct wood treatments to effectively kill them. Treating your home for termites may not be cheap, but it is far less expensive than having to repair the damage to your home these insects can cause.