Discovering a pest problem in your home can be devastating. However, what may be worse is having one and not knowing about it. When it comes to protecting your home and family, you can never be too careful, especially when it comes to termite infestation.
These evasive, unwanted house guests can easily cause billions in damages and slowly eat you out of the house and home – literally. Sadly, termites can be difficult to spot, and the cost of repairs may not be covered by insurance.
To safeguard against termites, you must be vigilant; search for signs of a termite presence in your home and stop the infestation before it’s too late. Here are some early warning signs of a termite infestation.
Some of the most common indicators are mud tubes. Certain species of termites need to stay moist. Subterranean termites create mud tubes to get around. Termites use their saliva to glue these tunnels together from moist soil to get from their colony to their food source. Homeowners may see the pencil-width mud tubes spreading out like veins on their home’s foundation or on hard surfaces around your property. It’s important to walk around your home with a sharp eye for signs of these mud tubes.
Like many pests, the easiest way to discover an infestation is by finding droppings, also known as “frass”. Drywood termites may leave behind small, wood-colored pellets. You can find these deposits anywhere. As they tunnel, termites like to keep their areas clean. To do that, they must remove their excrement from their path. Their droppings can often have the appearance of coffee grounds or sawdust.
Changes To Windows, Doors And Floors
Termites tend to target locations like windows and door frames, where wood is exposed and easy to access. As termites begin to eat through the wood, it may cause your windows and door frames to warp, making it difficult to open or close them properly.
Besides stuck windows or doors, damage from termites may also result in other types of structural problems in your home, such as crumbling baseboards or sagging floors and ceilings.
Damage Under Paint Or Wallpaper
Termites leave behind tiny pin holes while feeding on cardboard and wood paneling underneath the surface of your walls. An unusual appearance on painted or wallpapered surfaces can also be an early sign of termites. If you look carefully, you can see signs of termite damage underneath, such as:
- Small pinholes where termites have eaten through
- Bubbling paint
- Peeling or discolored wallpaper
- Narrow, sunken winding lines
- Buckling wood
- Dented or sunken areas
Swarmers And Discarded Termite Wings
You may spot swarmers, winged adult termites that fly away in groups. That is a sign that an infestation could be near. Swarmers are not good flyers; they often shed their wings and crawl away. A pile of discarded wings is another clue that termites are present.
Preventing An Infestation
There are ways to prevent a termite infestation before it happens. Make sure there is no wood-to-ground contact in your yard. If you have wood steps, a concrete block at the bottom of the steps may confuse the termites enough to keep them from climbing to wooden steps.
If you’re building a deck use pressure-treated wood, which is more resistant to termites though not termite-proof. And of course, follow good home maintenance and building procedures. Moisture-damaged wood is more appealing to termites, so keep an eye out for leaking gutters and other moisture problems.
And if you do find an infestation, don’t panic. Termites won’t eat your house overnight; in fact, it would take five months for 60,000 termites to eat one foot of a two-by-four piece of lumber.