Termites are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected.
If you suspect you have termites in your home, it’s important to take action quickly. Telltale signs like hollow-sounding wood and mud tubes will let you know they’re taking over. It pays to be vigilant, because termites can do a lot of damage before you even realize they’re there.
How to Identify a Termite Infestation
Before we dive into techniques to rid your home of termites, let’s break down the ways to identify a termite infestation. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as seeing a termite skittering down your wood grain. Start by checking your attic, all of your home’s cracks and joints, and fuse boxes. Here are some types of evidence that your home’s foundation is under attack.
How do I know if I have termites?
- Hollow wood: If you knock or tap on your wood and hear a soft thud or hollow sound, it’s pretty clear you have termites. You can use a screwdriver to further test your wood. If you press the screwdriver into your wood and it gives easily, that’s not a good sign.
- Mud tubes: Subterranean termites create their own “highways” out of tubes of mud to connect the wood they eat to soil. These mud tubes, made up of wood and soil, are about as wide as a pencil. Spotting them means you have termites, but their absence doesn’t mean you’re home-free. The subterranean termites may not have made them yet, and drywood termites don’t make mud tubes, so those might be on your hands.
- Head banging: You may hear a strange clicking sound coming from inside of your walls. That’s because when soldier termites detect a threat, they signal danger to other termites by banging their heads against the wood and shaking their bodies.
- Swarm evidence: When subterranean termites set off to create a new colony, they shed their wings, often in piles. If you see a bunch of scattered wings, they could be from termites.
Peeling paint: When termites damage drywall, they let moisture enter the space between the surface and the paint, causing paint to bubble or peel. There are other reasons your paint may buckle, but if you note this in tandem with other signs, you may have a termite infestation.
- Frass: If you see small, granular, oval pellets on your door frames, baseboards, and windowsills, they may be frass, or termite droppings.
- Seeing live termites: It is possible that you may come across some live termites. It’s important to distinguish them from flying ants so that you know what you’re dealing with. Termites’ rear wings are even in size, their abdomens are thick, and their antennae are straight. On the flip side, flying ants have wings of different size, are thinner through the middle, and have bent antennae.
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