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Signs of Termites


Summary: People are naturally scared of the unknown. What could be more terrifying than termites lurking unseen and unheard within the walls of your own home. The signs of termites usually include massive swarms of flying termites, mud tunnels or damaged wood.

If your house has become infested with termites you might not know it. You need to know how to look for signs of termites before it is too late. You need to know what termite damage and other termite evidence looks like.

Subterranean termites live underground and search randomly for food sources by building hundreds of tunnels leading away from their nest. Eventually, they find a good food source and lead other termites to it.

Subterranean termites will stay underground until it is time for them to

termite_alates.jpg
Winged Reproductives

reproduce. Then specific types of termites known as alates, or reproductives, will burst from the soil in a swarming mass. The flying insects swarm above ground for a short time, try to find a mate, and then die or return underground to start a new colony. This normally happens in the spring, but can also occur a second time in the fall.

If they happen to swarm out of their tunnels and find themselves inside your house they will probably fly towards windows because they are attracted to light and want to be outside. Luckily, they will die within a few hours indoors and are not dangerous. However, the swarm is Mother Nature's way of saying, “Call an exterminator, dear!” or buy some Termidor to do a termite treatment.

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Termite Mud Tubes

Subterranean termites need moisture to survive, so they build mud tubes to travel across surfaces that they cannot burrow through. These tubes are brown, about the diameter of a pencil, and can be found on exterior walls, support beams or in crawl spaces. If you find tubes like this it is sure evidence you have a termite problem and a termite treatment is required.

Termites usually have one king and a queen that lays the eggs. Worker termites gather food, which is cellulose material like decaying wood or paper, and bring it back to the other termites in the colony. They use the tubes to protect themselves from predators and to keep them moisturized.

Termites usually stay below the surface of wood, so they can be very difficult to find, even for an expert. Darkened or blistering wood is another indication of an infestation. If wood is very thin and can be easily poked through or it seems hollow if you tap on it, it may have been damaged by termites. Sometimes ripples or indentations can be seen in the wood. Look for fecal

termite_damage.jpg
Termite Damage

pellets which are small and granular, usually white or black, or any small holes in wooden walls, baseboards or beams. These small holes might have a little sawdust around them where particles of wood have been pushed through.

Rotting wood is attractive to termites, so any wood that has been exposed to moisture should be checked first. Any siding like stucco, wood or even brick veneer coming in contact with the ground may promote termite activity. Termites can attack the siding materials without building exposed mud tubes and would not be detected with a visual inspection.

Keep attics and foundation areas dry by having good ventilation systems in place and seal any cracks in the foundation. Check utility and service boxes for mud tubes. Remove untreated fence posts, tree stumps and any other scrap wood from around your property. Any adjoining structures like sheds or garages should also be inspected to identify an insect infestation.

For more termite articles please click here .





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Comments

laura
20 Sep 2013, 18:40
WE LIVE IN AN OLDER PLACE AND HAVE HAD DIRT MOUNDS (SIMILAR TO ANT HILLS) COMING UP ON OUR CEILINGS! COULD THAT BE TERMITES OR WHAT? HAVENT SEEN ANY SORT OF BUG OR ANT?
amanda
14 Feb 2014, 01:11
I was cleaning my kitchen table and i kind of hit it and then i heard all this noise. Sounded like a trapped bee
Bob
25 Oct 2014, 14:32
I was cleaning my gutters with my leaf blower blowing debris down one of my roof valleys. In the process about 4 brown damp wood termites were blown out from under the shingles. I live in Washington State and have done enough research on the web to be pretty certain that what I saw were damp wood termites. The bugs were about 5/8" long and brown in color. It's hard to believe that the roofing would be damp enough for the correct habitat though. I saw them in late summer and we had not had rain in months here. I would have to think that things would be pretty dry at least at the time that I saw them. What do you recommend? Would you recommend that I call one of the national exterminators - Orkin or Terminix - or a local exterminator?
Ask the Exterminator
25 Oct 2014, 15:08
A pest management company is only as good as its employees. There are excellent small pest control companies throughout the U.S. The giant national companies have some great branch managers and some not-so-great branch managers. I recommend going online to the Better Business Bureau's free rating lookup. It will list any complaints against a company and help you with your decision.
Kelli
31 Mar 2015, 15:38
Yesterday we found what appears to be termites and termite larvae. They were right next to the base of the toilet in the guest bathroom and the only exit we could find was a small crack in the caulking. We are treating outside and inside this weekend but can you tell me if this means I have a major problem or is it possible we caught them early enough? My house is only 5 yrs old and this is the first sign I have seen them since I moved in. I have had exterminators treat my year and inside but Im not sure they are specifically treating for termites, even though I was told they are sensitive to scents even if it doesn't kill them. Will doing these ourselves be enough?
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