Termites are far more likely to cause damage to your property than fire. Termite infestation cause more than $5 billion in damage to Americans each year. They are a threat to nearly every property in the United States.
Termite season typically begins in the spring, when swarms of these wood-destroying insects emerge from their colonies searching for mates and new places to lay eggs.
As a landlord or homeowner, it’s critical to recognize early termite infestation signs like mud tubes and discarded swarmer wings. Knowing a termite problem early on could save you thousands of dollars in repair and extermination costs.
Here are 6 early termite infestation signs in your home.
1. Discarded Wings
Discarded wings are the first sign of termite infestation. Termites have a caste colony consisting of workers, soldiers, and swarmers.
Swarming termites are the reproductive members of the caste system. Swarmers spring up from their nests to mate and form a new colony.
Swarmers are the only termites with wings, and as they mature, they shed their wings. Swarmers are attracted to light and don’t live indoors very long. You will likely spot a pile of wings in the basement of windows and doors.
Swarmers are often mistaken for flying ants because they look like ants. Termite swarmers have two evenly sized wings, and straighter bodies, Whereas flying ants have two uneven wings and a pinched body.
2. Mud Tubes
Mud tubes, also called shelter tubes, look like long veins attached to the sides of your house or floor. Mud tubes start from the foundation of your house to the wood the termites are feeding on.
Subterranean termites build mud tubes to protect themselves from predators and maintain moisture while traveling between their colony and their food source. Termites form these tube shelters from soil and droppings.
Since they are physically visible, it is a trademark sign of subterranean termite species activity. Shelter tubes are brown and small, and they can measure from 10 to 50 millimeters. They are often built in the dark areas of your home, thus, making them hard to spot.
If you notice such muddy tubes in your home, you need to call a pest control professional to curb the situation before it worsens.
Mud tubes will not go away on their own, and if you remove them, the termites in your home will rebuild them again. So, by ignoring them, you risk a severe termite infestation.
Maintaining a distance between your home’s foundation and any wooden structures in your exteriors will discourage termites from forming mud tubes and attacking your furniture and foundation.
You can create physical barriers with cement or stones to separate soil from any wooden structures nearby.
3. White Ants
While it is easy to mistake termites for ants, there is no specie of white ants.
Therefore, when you spot an insect resembling a white ant in your home, you might want to call termite control services because you may have a termite problem. While species like the white-footed ant or ghost ant may be “whitish,” these ants, unlike termites, are partially white.
Here are notable characteristics to look out for to determine whether the white ants in your home are actually termites:
• Termites have straight antennae compared to those of the ants, which look bowed
• Termites are usually white/creamy and can sometimes look translucent
Termite droppings, also known as frass, are another sign of termite infestation. Termites push waste in their tubes to facilitate accessibility as they eat through the wood.
Most frass is tiny, and only frass from dry wood termites is visible to the naked eye as it appears pallet-shaped and like wood shavings or wood dust.
You may encounter these pellets anywhere there’s wood and on your furniture. Termite droppings should warn you of an active termite infestation. If you observe pallet-shaped wood shavings on your furniture or floor, call a pest control professional for an inspection.
When you want to control pests in your home, place infested items such as pieces of furniture in direct sunlight, for at least three consecutive days, especially in summer. The heat from the sun will kill termites and remove moisture from your infested furniture.
Regular sun drying and spraying termite repellants will ensure a free termite environment with zero property damage. You can do this for other furniture that is not affected.
5. Tight-fitting Doors or Windows
While it is consistently assumed that warped doors and windows that become stiff when opening or closing is a sign of damp or hot weather, it may indicate a termite infestation. Termite infestation can cause colossal property damages if not realized sooner.
Uneven or bubbling paint, hard to open windows, warped doors, crumbling baseboards, or slagging floors and ceilings can signify termites or excess moisture buildup in your home.
It is always good to look closely to determine if you have a termite problem because often, people mistake termite damage for water damage. Not every time the door is hard is to open, should you reach for lubricants. Sometimes, it requires you to go for some termite removal products.
Spraying borate on your wood before painting or priming is a good idea since borate is a strong termite repellant that lasts for decades when allowed to soak in well. When installing wooden windows, door frames, and furniture, always insist on using treated wood to avoid pest infestation.
6. Hollow or Blistering Wood
Drywood termites tend to eat wood from the inside out, leaving a thin timber veneer or just the paint. While the surface of the wood may seem fine, when tapped, it sounds hollow. Papery wood signals a termite infestation.
Termites often devour the inner parts of the timber by forming feeding galleries in the wood, thus making the wood weak on the surface.
The cracks on the internal walls may be visible. Wood tunnels are not visible on the surface. However, it is possible to identify what specie has infested your home by studying these tunnels.
Galleries with mud or dirt show an active subterranean termite infestation since this specie solely depends on moisture. However, clean galleries show the work of a dry wood termite infestation since this specie does not go near dirt or mud and doesn’t need moisture.
You Now Know the Early Signs of Termite Infestation
Termite infestation is more difficult to eradicate than most other household pests. Termite repellent does not exist. Traditional and outdated termites control techniques use harmful chemicals that are hazardous to our health and can stain or even damage furniture and walls.
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