5 Signs You Need A Termite Inspection

Termites may be tiny, but they manage to wreak a lot of havoc in a short time. They eat through wood at a rapid rate, potentially doing serious damage to the structure of your home. American homeowners spend $5 billion annually controlling termites and repairing termite-related damage. Luckily, termites do leave signs of their presence around your home and property. Some of these signs are subtle, but if you know what to look for you can often catch them before they do too much damage. Here are five signs you need a termite inspection:

Termite Swarmers

Large numbers of termites emerge from their underground colonies each spring and summer in a swarm in order to find mates. Termite swarms often take place over a period of a few days, often right after a rain. As they swarm, their wings are shed, and many homeowners learn they have a termite problem when they notice piles of insect wings in their basement, or even in their living area.

Carpenter ants engage in a similar swarming pattern, so you may want to look online at images comparing the two types of wings to determine if the ones you found belong to termites or flying ants.

Mud Tubes and Tunnels

Termites industriously build tunnels and tubes from mud and dirt as a way to safely move from their colony to food sources and back again without being exposed to the elements. These narrow, pencil-sized mud tubes and tunnels are quite distinctive and will typically be found along the foundation of your home, on external walls, or even in your basement or crawlspace.

Spotting a mud tube isn't necessarily proof of an active termite infestation, however. If the mud tube is dried out and crumbles easily when you poke at it, it's most likely an old remnant of a former termite colony.

Termite Droppings

Termites also leave evidence around your home in the form of droppings, called frass, near their entry and exit points. Frass is composed of tiny brown or tan pellets that tend to look like wood shavings or sawdust. If you notice these piles around the exterior of your home or inside your basement, it's time to call a professional pest control company like Tri-County Termite & Pest Control, Inc.

Visible Wood Damage

As termites eat away at wood inside walls, floors, doorframes, and even bookshelves, they will eventually get close enough to the surface to leave visible damage. This visible damage often looks like tiny scratches, dings, or cracks that weren't there before. This visible damage is often subtle, so if you're not sure that what you're looking at is truly new termite damage (as opposed to old scratches and damage that was already there), it's best to schedule a termite inspection and show your pest control professional the areas you're concerned about.

Weak or Hollow Wood

In addition to visible signs of wood damage, termite damage will often affect the way the wood throughout your home feels and sounds. As the termites eat away at the interior of your wood floors, doorframes, and more, the wood will become hollowed out over time. Sagging wood floors and wood that sounds echoey and hollow when you knock on it are common signs that you have a serious termite problem on your hands.

If you notice any combination of these signs, the best thing to do is hire a professional pest control company with termite experience to come out and inspect your home. They will determine if there are indeed termites present and implement a plan for getting rid of them in the quickest and most thorough manner possible before more damage is done.