How to Look for Signs of Termites


Homes all over the country can be infested by the dreaded termite. This insect will work quietly and devastatingly inside the structure of your house and can do serious damage if not removed. Here are some pointers on how to look for signs of termites.

  • It's important to know how to look for signs of termites. Although termites are not very attractive insects and can do a lot of damage to homes and other wooden structures, these creatures do perform an important role in nature. They are responsible for recycling dead and rotting wood back into the environment. This is a good thing -- unless they choose to recycle our structures!

  • Look for signs of termites by inspecting your house. There are two types of termites: subterranean termites and drywood termites.

  • The subterranean termites are found all over the United States and create clouds of flying swarms in the spring and autumn when they mate. They look a lot like flying ants with double wings, but one pair of wings is smaller than the other on flying ants whereas all four wings are the same on termites. Subterranean termites live under concrete and other hard-to-get-at places where they breed into communities in the moisture. They then build mud tunnels to provide the moisture they need to travel safely and comfortably to the nearest source of wood for dinner.

    Look for these pencil width mud tunnels as telltale signs you have termites in your house. Sometimes you can see the white non-flying termites in the tunnels.

    If there are termites in or around your home, you're likely to see the flying termites in the spring or autumn or find the wings they shed.

    Check basements and crawl spaces for signs or mud trails and look for signs of thinning or blistering of the wood that is hollowed out from the inside.

  • Drywood termites are mostly local to Southern California and infest dry wood in places like homes, fencing and dead trees. These termites are larger than the subterranean termites. They have dark bodies with reddish heads and smokey colored wings. Look for signs of of drywood termites in the form of little sand-like rounded grains of wood in piles found around window sills, posts, stumps or any cracks or joints around woodwork. These are fecal pellets of digested wood. You may also see these termites when they fly or discover their shed wings in your house. During these flying periods I have seen them boil up out of window sills or out of the ground where a dead tree stump lay buried.

  • If you think you may have termite damage, call in a professional as serious damage could be taking place in the structure of your home. Proper treatment is best handled by professional exterminators. For more information on how to look for signs of termites, please check the links under Resources.

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  • Photo Credit Photos courtesy of Ask the Exterminator .com
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