Pest Away Tips

10 Signs of a Termite Infestation and How to Prevent It

Termites are small insects that can cause substantial damage to households. Although they may seem insignificant, termites can easily destroy wooden structures and cost homeowners billions of dollars in damage each year.

In this article, we will go over what termites are, the types of termites, and how to spot signs of termite damage. What are termites?

Termites are insects that consume wood and other plant materials. They have broad waists, straight antennae, and six legs.

Termites are recognizable by their white or brown bodies, which are divided into three main sections: the head, thorax, and abdomen. These insects are social and live in large colonies that can number into the millions.

Termites are divided into three major types, each with different characteristics and behaviors.

Types of termites

Subterranean Termites – also known as ground termites, these are the most common termite species in the United States. They are small, about 1/8 to 3/8 inch long, and are typically light brown or black in color.

Subterranean termites nest underground but forage for food above ground. They construct mud tubes to travel from their nests to their food sources.

Formosan Termites – these are a more aggressive subterranean termite species. They are larger than other subterranean termites, measuring up to 1/2 inch long.

They have white or cream-colored bodies and brownish-yellow heads. Formosan termites are known for their large, extensive colonies that can number into the millions.

They also construct large mud nests above ground. Drywood Termites – as the name suggests, these termites infest dry wood instead of living in soil.

They do not require moisture from the soil to survive, making them more commonly found in coastal regions. Drywood termites are 3/4 inch long and have a reddish-brown color.

They are typically identified by small holes in the wood surface, with small pellets of fecal matter found nearby.

Identifying Termites

Identifying termites can be difficult. They are often mistaken for ants, but termites have straight antennae and broad waists, while ants have curved antennae and narrow waists.

One way to differentiate between the two is to look at their wings. Termites have two pairs of wings of equal length, while ants have two pairs of wings that are different in length.

Why worry about termites? In the United States, termites cause approximately $5 billion in damage to homes and other buildings each year.

Nearly 600,000 homes are affected by termite infestations annually. Termites consume wood at an alarming rate, and a single colony can eat up to a pound of wood per month.

The damage caused by termites can become severe and expensive to repair if left untreated.

Signs of Termite Damage

Waffled or layered appearance in wood, hollow wood, small holes in wood surface, and mud tubes are all signs of termite damage. Mud tubes are small tunnels constructed by termites to move from their nests to their food sources.

These tubes are made up of soil and bits of wood, and they are about the width of a pencil. They typically appear on foundation walls, firewood piles, and tree stumps.

Does Home Insurance cover Termite Damage? Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover termite damage.

This is because termite infestations are typically considered a preventable issue. Homeowners are responsible for preventing termite damage and maintaining their homes to prevent infestations.

Some insurance policies offer additional coverage that can be purchased, but it is important to read the policy thoroughly to understand the terms and conditions.

Conclusion

Termites may seem like tiny insects, but they can cause major damage to homes and other buildings. Knowing about the different types of termites and how to spot signs of termite damage can help homeowners protect their property against infestations.

Regular inspections, preventative measures, and prompt treatment of infestations are key to keeping your home termite-free.

Signs of a Termite Infestation

Termites are silent pests that cause more damage than you would expect. They slowly invade and eat away at the structures in your home, causing severe structural damage over time.

Knowing the signs of a termite infestation can help you identify a problem before it becomes too costly to fix. 1.

Buckling or Blistered Floorboards

Buckling or blistered floorboards are often an indication of an advanced termite infestation. The damage to the flooring may be the result of the termites eating away at the wood from the inside out.

2. Hollow-sounding Walls

Termites can hollow out the wood in walls, creating a hollow or papery sound when tapped.

The damage can be extensive and may require a professional inspection to determine the extent of the damage. 3.

Swarmers

Termites can swarm in the springtime or early summer. These winged termites are looking for a new place to establish a colony, and they can be a clear sign of an infestation.

If you see swarmers in your home, it’s time to take action. 4.

Dead Termites/

Discarded Wings

Dead termites and discarded wings are often a sign that a swarm has occurred in or around your home. It is essential to act promptly to prevent further infestations from occurring.

5. Hard to Open Doors and Windows

Termites can damage and warp wooden frames, making it difficult to open doors and windows.

If you notice this problem happening, it could be a prompt that termites are causing damage. 6.

Mud Tubes

Termites build small tubes from the soil to their food sources, which can be an indication of a termite infestation. The tubes, which are often about the width of a pencil, can be found on foundation walls or in other areas of your home.

7. Droppings

Termite waste, also known as frass, appears as small pellets that look like dark sawdust.

If you find this in your home, it could be a sign that termites are eating away at the wood. 8.

Damaged Drywall, Bubbling under Paint, or Wallpaper

Termites can cause damage to walls and ceilings that may not be visible to the naked eye. Damage to drywall will appear as bubbling under the paint and wallpaper.

9. Moldy Scents

Termite infestations typically go hand-in-hand with moisture problems.

If you notice a musty odor or mold on your walls, floorboards or ceiling, it could be an indication of a termite infestation. 10.

Dipping Ceilings, Buckling Support Beams, or Other Severe Structural Damage

Termites can cause significant structural damage to a home. If you notice dipping ceilings, buckling support beams, or other severe damage, it could be an indication that the termites are causing damage to your home’s structure.

What Brings Termites into Your Home? Termites are attracted to wood and cellulose and are often drawn to moisture.

Understanding what attracts termites to your home can help you take preventative measures to avoid an infestation. 1.

Attraction to Wood and Cellulose

Termites eat wood, paper, and other materials that contain cellulose. This means any wooden structures, books, or paper products in your home could become a food source for termites.

2. Need for Moisture

Termites require a source of moisture in order to survive, so any damp areas in or around your home could attract termites.

This could be damp wood, damp soil, or even leaking plumbing. 3.

Poorly Maintained Air Conditioning Units

Leaky air conditioning units can create moist environments that are attractive to termites. Loose or damaged pipes can cause condensation moisture to build up, which in turn attracts termites.

4. Poor Drainage

Improper drainage around your home can create standing water and moist soil, which are ideal breeding grounds for termites.

Properly grading your yard, cleaning your gutters, and ensuring proper drainage can help prevent a termite infestation. 5.

Leaking Plumbing from Your Home

Leaking pipes or fixtures can create a moist environment that can attract termites to your home. Fix any leaks as soon as possible, and get proper plumbing installed to eliminate standing water.

Conclusion

Being vigilant and knowing the signs of a termite infestation can save you a lot of money in the long run. Keeping your home dry and well-maintained, as well as being proactive in addressing any potential termite infestations promptly, is the best way to avoid costly repairs.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to termites.

Termite Swarm Season

Termites are active year-round, but they tend to be most noticeable during swarming season. This is the time of year when mature termites break off from their colonies, sprout wings, and settle in new colonies.

Knowing what happens during swarming season can help you identify a termite infestation before it causes significant damage. When are termites most active?

Termites can be active year-round, but they tend to be most active during the spring and summer months. During the late summer and fall, mature termites leave their colonies to establish new ones.

This is known as swarm season, and it provides the best opportunity for homeowners to spot a termite infestation. What happens during swarming season?

During swarming season, mature termites leave their existing colonies to establish new ones. These termites sprout wings and take flight, searching for suitable locations to start a new colony.

After finding a mate, they shed their wings, burrow into the ground, and begin to build a new nest.

Discarded Wings

After a termite swarm, you may notice discarded wings around your home. These wings can look similar to fish scales and can be found near windows, doors, and light fixtures.

Discarded wings are a clear indication that termites have entered your home.

Dealing with Termite Infestations

Dealing with termite infestations can be challenging, but it is essential to act quickly to prevent further damage. Here are some steps to take if you find termites in your house:

1.

Identify the extent of the infestation

A professional inspection can determine the extent of the termite infestation. This inspection will provide you with the information you need to decide on an appropriate course of action.

2. Termite Control

Termite control can be a highly effective way to get rid of an infestation.

Termite bait stations and termiticides can provide complete control over the termite population in and around your home. 3.

Professional Help

It is crucial to seek professional help when dealing with any termite infestation. A professional can correctly diagnose the issue and provide you with an appropriate solution to eradicate the termites from your home.

Preventative Measures

Prevention is key when it comes to termite infestations. Here are some preventative measures you can take to avoid termite problems:

1.

Keep Wood and Cellulose Items Away from Your Home

Termites are attracted to wood, paper, and other materials that contain cellulose. Keeping these items away from your home can help reduce the risk of termite infestations.

2. Properly Maintain Your Home’s Structure

Any damages to wooden structures in or around your home, such as your foundation or roof, should be repaired promptly.

Moisture problems should be fixed as quickly as possible. 3.

Get Regular Inspections

Regular inspections of your home can help protect against termite infestations. Early detection of termites can help to prevent damage to your home, so it is essential to have regular inspections by a trusted professional.

Conclusion

Swarming season is the best time to be aware of termite infestations. Getting a professional inspection of your home and taking preventative measures can go a long way in avoiding termite problems.

If termites are found, it is crucial to seek professional help to eradicate them and prevent further damage to your home. With proper maintenance and regular inspections, you can protect your home from termite infestations and avoid costly repairs.

Termites are a significant pest and can cause substantial damage to your property if left untreated. Homeowners can take preventative steps to avoid termite infestations, such as monitoring moisture and regular inspections.

Knowing the signs of a termite infestation, what attracts them, and how to deal with an infestation are essential to keeping your home termite-free. Regular maintenance, including treating any wood and cellulose items, can go a long way in avoiding home damage and ensuring a termite-free environment.

Remember, early detection is the key to preventing significant damage to your home.

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