Termites are small insects that live in colonies and feed on wood. There are different types of termites: subterranean, which live underground, and drywood and dampwood termites, which live entirely in wood. Subterranean termites generally build colonies in the soil, while drywood termites are typically found in the framing, hardwood flooring, and furniture of homes. Dampwood termites infest damp and decaying timber and are more common out west. Unfortunately, termites are not usually discovered until they have already begun feeding on the structure of your home. Termite infestations cause about $5 billion worth of property damage each year. The earlier signs of termites are noticed, the quicker you can avoid further damage to your property.
Common Signs of Termites
While termites leave signs of their presence, unfortunately, it’s often their damage that you notice rather than the actual termites. Some of the most common signs of termites include:
1. Termite Wings
One of the most common signs of a termite infestation is the presence of wings, especially near doors and window sills. Reproductive termites, known as swarmers, typically take flights at night in order to search for places to create a new colony. When they land, the termites twist their wings off because they no longer need them, so if you notice piles of wings, it means there is likely a nearby colony.
2. Hollow Sounding Wood
Termites prefer a humid, dark environment, so they generally do not feed on the surface of wood where they would be visible. When termites feed on wood, they burrow from the inside out, which causes the wood to become significantly thinner. If you knock or tap on wood that has termite damage, it will sound hollow due to the wood having been eaten away. Wood damage from a termite infestation can usually be found below and behind surfaces, such as wood floors, walls, and window sills.
3. Mud Tubes
Mud tubes are small tunnels about the size of a pencil and may be found on your home or property around termite nests. Subterranean termites require a certain temperature and humidity level to survive, so they create tunnels which help block out dry, cool air. These termites essentially create an environment that they can survive in while traveling to and from your home while searching for food.
4. Termite Droppings
Also known as “frass”, termites produce droppings that are tiny, wood colored pellets and are often found at or near the entry to a nest or colony. Noticing a pile of droppings inside or outside your home is a clear indication that there are termites around. It is important to keep crawl spaces, downspouts, and gutters free from debris and cellulose materials to prevent a food source for termites.
Termites can pose a serious threat to your home. Whether you have visible signs of termites or you suspect there may be termites in or near your home, it is important to contact a local pest control company as soon as possible. The sooner the problem is addressed, the fewer damages there will be to the structure of your home.
Cabal Inspection Services provides termite inspections and a variety of other home inspection services to Dade, Broward, and Monroe counties in Southeast Florida. Contact us to schedule an inspection.