It’s spring time in the south, which means termite swarms are on the move. Termite damage can be costly and devastating, which makes it important to know how to spot the warning signs of a potential infestation. Wood rot, crumbling walls, hollow-sounding wood surfaces and discarded wings are clear signs that termites may have settled into your home or business. Termites cause up to a billion dollars in damage each year because they can wreak havoc in a short period of time with minimal signs of damage, in some cases. It’s important to keep in mind that termites always travel in swarms, which makes damage extensive, especially if it goes undetected for months or years. Below are five warning signs of potential termite damage.
1. Flying termites
Flying termites, commonly known as termite swarmers, are actually termites looking to start a new colony. In the springtime when termite activity is at its peak, termite swarmers exit their existing colonies and disperse in search of new areas to create a new colony. If winged termites are spotted in your home or business, there is most likely existing termite damage.
2. Damaged wood
One of the most costly pests to a homeowner can be termites, and termite damage to wood can be subtle but cause significant issues if not caught early. Termites tend to create small pin-sized holes, sawdust-like piles, dark patches on a wooden surface or tubes in wood. Crumbling wood combined with either tiny cracks or discoloration on the surface is usually clear evidence that termites have damaged the site. In addition to common areas, spaces such as attics and basements are also popular sites for termite infestations.
3. Mud tubes
Mud tubes are made from small bits of soil and termite saliva, and are often found around a property’s foundation or inside a home or business at the site of an infestation. The tubes help termites to travel from outside to inside through tiny cracks. If termite mud tubes are spotted it’s important to act quickly as this is a sure sign that termites may be infesting the structure.
4. Hollow wood
Termites are experts in damaging wood. All it takes is a few termites eating their way through wood for it to quickly become weakened and eventually hollow. You can often tell if there is termite damage by tapping on the surface of wood with your knuckles or another object. If the wood sounds hollow when tapped, that is an excellent indication that termites may have been gnawing at it from the inside out. There are other factors that could cause a hollow wood sound, such as age and moisture, but it is also a major symptom of termite damage.
5. Termite droppings or wings
The average termite colony can consume one to two pounds of wood per week and because they like to dwell inside the walls and other wooden structures, they can be difficult to spot. Another indicator of termite damage is finding droppings, which look like tiny pellets, or termite wings near door frames, windowsills and other areas that have access to the outside.
If you find any of the above warning signs on your property or in your business, contact a termite and pest expert, such as United Pest and Turf Control, immediately. These are proven signs of a termite infestation and it’s critical to address the issues as soon as possible to stop the spread and destruction. The best way to combat termites is by investing in proven termite prevention, such as the Sentricon® System, which is offered by our licensed and trained termite experts at United Pest and Turf Control. The Sentricon system is scientifically designed to eliminate the entire subterranean termite colony — including its queen.