Of all the pests you could find turning your house into their home, termites are among the most dreaded. Termites can cause severe structural damage to your home as they feast on wood, paper, and even flooring. What’s worse, termites live underground for most of the year, can be difficult to identify, and are often mistaken or other insects.
These are some ways you can keep an eye on your home and learn how to identify a termite infestation if one has arrived:
1. Identify Termites and Termite Swarms
Since termites live strictly underground, it can be challenging to identify one above the surface. They are often mistaken for ants, which are also pests but are not nearly as destructive as termites. The two pests have some features in common, but there are some noticeable differences:
- Straight antennae
- Pale, translucent wings
- Blackish-brown or black body
- Elbowed Antennae
- Tinted brown wings (if they are flying ants)
- Black, brown, or reddish body
Termites also gather in swarms when above ground, which are often confused for flying ant swarms.
2. Check Exposed Wood for Hollow Spots
Since termites primarily consume wood, pay attention to the wooded areas of your home to catch a potential termite invasion. Most of the damage is not visible from the outside, so more careful supervision might be required.
A telltale sign that a wooden structure in your home has termite damage is that it will sound hollow when tapped. Other termite red flags include:
- Cracks on walls and ceilings
- Saggy flooring
- Blisters in flooring
3. Look for Frass or Mud Tubes
Although termites do not often emerge from their hiding places, they leave behind many things indicative of their presence.
Frass is another word for termite droppings. It’s usually the same color as wood and is often confused with sawdust. Mud Tubes are tunnels dug by termites to travel between the soil and their food source. They are often seen near the foundation of a structure.
Both frass and mud tubes are much more easily noticeable than termites themselves, so be on the lookout.
4. Pay Attention to How Your Doors and Windows Shut
You’ve probably used a door that has inexplicably swelled out of its frame and is now difficult to open and close. There are several causes for a stuck door and window, including termite damage. Termites produce moisture when they eat through door and window frames, which can cause the wood to change shape. If your windows and doors are harder to shut than usual, it’s time to call an exterminator.