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This Is How to Tell If You Have Termites in Your Home

Published August 6th, 2020 by Vision Pest Control

We all want a nice, dry, cozy place to set up house. Guess what? Termites do too! And if you do not know the signs to look for they may have set up house in YOUR home. It is possible for these tiny wood eaters to go undetected for years.

It isn't always easy to know when you have these unwanted visitors, but if you notice any of these signs of termites, you should act right away to protect your home.

Read on for how to tell if you have termites.

Flying Termites - The Swarmers

Often the first time a homeowner will see any signs of termites is actually during their mating season. When it is time for male and female termites to strike out on their own and form a new colony, they leave the old one and fly around looking for a suitable mate and a new place to habitat. These flying termites are called swarmers.

Depending on the type of termite, they may only swarm at night but will be attracted to a light source. Others only fly about during the day. Almost all termites swarm after a period of rain or in high moisture areas after the cold of winter.

If you miss the swarming, another sign is their discarded wings. Once two termites choose a mate, their wings fall off. They then bury themselves into their new woody hiding spot and set about to growing their family. A king and queen termite can stay together in a thriving colony for up to ten years.

The Appearance of Frass - Termite Waste

Drywood termites and subterranean termites view their waste (known as frass) differently. The subterranean variety uses their waste to help build their tunnels.

The drywood termites are a bit cleaner in their approach and do not wish to live with their waste. They push it outside of the main entrances to their nest.

If you happen to notice a dark substance that looks like powder or small black marks, this is most likely frass and a definite sign you have termites.

If you think you also have a bed bug problem, here are some facts you need to know.

What Do Termites Look Like

In simple terms, termites look like white ants. In fact, some people mistake termites for ants because at first glance they have similar body size and shape. However, there are some key distinguishing features.

The antenna on a termite is straight, whereas the ones on an ant are bent. The termite has a larger midsection than the ant. And while both have two sets of wings, the wings on the termite are the same size, while the wings of an ant are different.

You may not wish to get close enough to inspect the size of the wings, antennae, or waste, just remember that there are no white ants. So if the insect you are seeing is a white, creamy color it is most likely a termite.

In order to keep from having a termite and an ant problem, here are ways to get rid of ants.

How To Tell if You Have Termites - The Sound

There are some unique sounds created by both the soldier and worker termites. The first one is actually the banging of their heads.

The solder termite will beat its head against the wood to warn the rest of the colony of impending danger. This can be heard as a faint clicking sound if you are close to the area.

The worker termites are actually quite noisy eaters. When a group of them get together and are chomping away on your precious wood, the sound is actually loud enough to be heard.

Hollow Sounding Wood

Another indicator of termites is the hollow or papery sounds that come from wood that has been infested.

Termites eat from the inside out. Even before you can see the damage on the outside, if you tap or knock on the wood, there will be a distinctly hollow sound.

There are even some individuals who discover termite damage by falling through or pushing wood that has been cleaned out on the inside.

Mud Tubes or Tunnels

Subterranean termites can be found both inside and outside of the home. They build tunnels, or mud tubes, on the exterior of the house for protection and so they can move about without drying out as they love moisture.

If you see these tunnels anywhere on the outside of your home, it is almost a certainty that they are already inside as well.

Termite Prevention

Now that you have learned a few signs you have termites, let's go over some ways to try and prevent them from staking a claim at your home.

There should be at least a 4" barrier surrounding the foundation of your home. This means all wood, mulch, paper, lumber, cardboard, and plants should be at least 4" away.

All gutters and drains should be checked regularly to ensure all water runoff is directed away from the home and none is allowed to stand nearby. Check and fix any leaking faucets as well to eliminate excess moisture.

Be mindful of outdoor lighting during swarming seasons as they will be attracted to the light and drawn in closer to your home. Keep outdoor lights off whenever possible.

When looking for mulch, use pine needles instead. Termites are not a big fan of pine needles and will look for another place to nest.

If you have a crawl space under your home, make sure there is adequate ventilation and a way to keep it dry. Not only will this keep the fungus and mold away, but will also help ward off termites.

When all else fails, and you discover the termites have already infested your home, it is time to call in the pest control experts. This is how to make sure you choose the right one.

Don't Wait

Now that you know how to tell if you have termites, it is up to you to protect your most valuable investment - your home.

As soon as you notice any of the signs, take steps right away to move them on out!

For more information on how we can help with termites or all of your pest control needs, reach out.

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