What is a termite?
Termites are a type of insect that mostly feed on dead plant material and cellulose, often in the form of wood, dead leaves, soil, and animal feces. They are well-known for the damage they cause to buildings, crops, and forests.
Termites are prevalent in all continents except for Antarctica.
Like ants, termites live in colonies that can range in size from a few hundred to several million individual termites.
Termite queens are one of the longest-living insects on Earth, having a lifespan that can be as long as 50 years.
10 Signs of a Termite Infestation
If you see any of these following 10 signs, you might be dealing with a termite infestation:
- Mud paths (or mud tubes). Termite mud paths, also known as termite mud tubes, are tunnels about the size of a pencil that can be found around termite nests, wood structures, and concrete or stone foundations. Termites construct these tunnels using soil, wood, saliva, and feces, and use them to navigate around.
- Frass. Frass is a beige or black sawdust- or sand-looking material excreted by termites that consume dry wood. Drywood termites, once they build their nests in wood, do not leave. However, they push their droppings out of their nests, which form visible frass.
- Hollow-sounding wood. Wood that sounds hollow or empty can indicate the presence of termites. The wood literally has been hollowed out by termites who have eaten the wood as food.
- Flying termites. Termites that fly are also known as swarmers. These swarmers are adult reproductive termites. Occasionally, they develop within a termite colony and fly out of the nest to mate and start new colonies.
- Tunnels in wood. Tunnels that termites leave in wood are responsible for the hollow or empty sound heard when wood consumed by termites is tapped. While some (subterranean) termites fill the holes they dig with soil, other (drywood) termites leave the holes empty.
- Water damage to drywall. What appears as water damage to drywall can actually be damage caused by termites. While termites do not actually consume drywall, they do consume the paperboard, which can create faint, traceable lines that can be seen from the outside of the wall.
- Bubbling wallpaper. Termites can also be responsible for bubbling and peeling wallpaper. When termites eat through wallpaper, they cause the wallpaper to deform, creating bubbling and peeling. The bubbling and peeling can also be a result of the underlying drywall or wood being damaged by termites.
- Discarded insect wings. Insect wings by closed windows and doors can be indicative that termite swarms have entered a structure. Termite swarms that have left the nest to mate will, once they land, shred their wings since the wings will no longer be needed.
- Quiet clicking sounds. If a noise that sounds like quiet clicking can be heard, termites might be nearby. The quiet clicking sounds are caused by soldier termites banging their heads against wood to alert the colony of possible danger.
- Doors and windows are becoming tough to open. Wooden doors and windows can become tough to open if they are being eaten by termites. As termites eat through wood, they leave behind moisture, which can cause door and window frames to warp and become uneven.
How to Find a Termite Exterminator Near You
If you suspect your home might have termites, you need to contact a termite exterminator right away. Once a few termites enter your home, you can end up with a full-scale infestation within days.
Only a professional termite exterminator can stop the spread of a termite infestation.
You can try home remedies such as applying essential oils to the area termites are located. Or, you can try applying white vinegar to the area. However, these remedies will work only temporarily, if they even work at all.
To find a professional termite exterminator service in your area, visit Find A Pest Pro.
Find A Pest Pro is a free service that connects homeowners with fully licensed, insured, and bonded local pest exterminators.
Take care of your termite infestation problem before it gets worse by checking out FindAPestPro.com today.