Termites, huh? Can’t live with ‘em… seriously though, you probably shouldn’t live with them. They’re terrible, gross and they can destroy your house.
Termites are bugs that eat plant matter. Like wood. You may see a house, but all they see is a meal.
So, how can you tell if your home or business has termites? I’m glad you asked!
Wings, from termites? Gross
One easily identifiable thing that termites can leave behind are termite wings. Every so often a termite colony will send out “swarmer” termites. These swarmers are flying termites that are meant to reproduce and form new colonies. Once they find a good spot, they’ll land and lose their wings. Often near windowsills. Termites like light, so they tend to be attracted to windows.
Also, you might sometimes see swarmers flying around windows or other light sources. This too is a sign you might have termites. Yes, termites are in fact signs of termites.
Mud tubes, the termite superhighway
Much like people, termites love to travel both safely and in style. So another sure-fire way to tell if you have termites is if you see “mud tubes” that trail up your walls or foundation or in the dirt around your house. The termites make these tubes as little “highways” so they can travel safely between their nest and their food.
You might also see small mud splotches covering up holes in your walls. As they hollow out the wood by eating it, it sometimes collapses. They cover up these holes using the same mix of spit, dirt, wood, and poop they use to build their tunnels.
You can tell if a tunnel is still in use by breaking a small section out of the center and waiting. If, in a few days, the tunnel is repaired, that means it’s currently in use.
Damaged paint may require a closer look
They build these mud tubes because dry air is bad for them. They bring water into their homes to keep themselves moist, and only live under the wood and travel through the tubes to protect themselves from drying out. This moisture can cause paint on the surface of the wood to crack, blister, or bubble though. While it isn’t a sure thing, damaged paint can be a sign of termites living in the wood underneath.
Is that water damage from a leak, or from termites?
One final thing to look out for is wood that looks water damaged, even if it doesn’t usually get wet. The damage termites cause can often look like water damage. The main difference is, termite damage always follows the wood’s grain.
Also, termites not only eat wood, they live in it. They leave hollow spaces in the damaged wood as their nest. Water rarely leaves hollow spaces.
And, of course, these hollow spaces they make leave their own signs. Tap the wood where you think the termites might be living in. If it makes a dull, hollow thud noise, that may be a sign there’s a nest in there.
If you see any of these signs in your home, don’t hesitate to call us for a free estimate.