Because of our warm, humid climate, termites are a huge problem along the Sunshine Coast and surrounding areas. Termites can be devastating to homes as well as wallets, so early intervention is essential. Along with a yearly termite inspection performed by a professional, vigilant homeowners can also keep their eyes open for signs of a possible infestation. Since termites cause damage from the inside out, it isn’t always easy to identify a potential termite problem, but noticing these simple signs can save you a lot of headache and money.
1. Swarming Termites
It is very uncommon to see actual termites because they typically live underground or in hard to reach spaces in your home. During swarming season, however, reproductive termites take to the sky to go in search of a mate and a new home. These flying swarms typically happen during the spring, but timing depends on the species. Although reproductive termites have wings, they are poor flyers. This means that if you are seeing swarms of termites, they are likely already in your close vicinity or even your home. When the termites land and mate, they will discard their wings since they will never need to use them again. Finding piles of discarded wings is a sure sign that termites are nearby. You may find these piles near closed windows or doors, or around outdoor lights that they were attracted to.
*Photo courtesy of Gerald J. Lenhard, [Louisiana State University, Bugwood.org; CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia
2. Fragile Wood
Termites consume wood in search of the cellulose that gives them their nutrients. In doing so, they create maze-like grooves in the wood. In the long run, these grooves can weaken the wood and make it very fragile. In homes with extensive termite damage, things like skirting boards and door jams may collapse and break easily if pressed or bumped.
3. Damp Spot on Walls or Ceilings
Termite tunnels trap heat and moisture, thus providing the perfect environment for termites to survive and thrive. The termites can adjust the humidity to meet their needs by bringing in extra moisture. This excess moisture often leads to damp spots, peeling paint that resembles water damage, and even discoloration of drywall.
4. Mud Tubes
Several species of termites live in the ground and build tunnels or tubes to their food source, which is often your home. Again, these tubes allow the termites to tightly control the temperature and humidity and to travel without being out in the open. These mud tubes are about the size of a pencil and can be seen around termite nests, on stone or cement foundations, and near wooden structures.
5. Sticking Doors or Windows
The same reason that termites cause moisture buildup behind walls also causes windows and doors to swell. This swelling of the wood due to excess moisture may make windows and doors difficult to open, making them stick or fit too tightly.
6. Termite Exit Holes
Drywood termites create very small exit holes when they leave the colony to swarm. After the alates (swarmers) have left, the other termites will plug the holes with a wood-looking substance that is actually made of their feces. These holes are very difficult to spot, and may not be noticeable if they are not recent.
7. Piles of Droppings
Termites have a limited amount of space in their tunnels, so some species will create holes where they will push out their droppings. These termite droppings are known as frass. The frass of drywood termites are 6-sided pellets that may look like salt and pepper. These piles of frass may indicate that you have an active termite infestation.
8. Tapping Sounds
While termite sounds are extremely faint and are usually not audible, sometimes a large termite colony can make enough noise to actually be heard if it is very quiet. The loudest sounds that are made are when soldier termites bang their head on tunnels to communicate danger to the rest of the colony. Some people also claim to hear cracking and popping sounds as the wood is consumed. Professionals using stethoscopes can hear these sounds much more accurately and detect their location.
9. Sagging or Warped Floors
When wood is damaged by termites, it may become structurally unsound. This may cause the floor boards to sag, warp, or squeak from unstability.
10. Cracks in walls or the ceiling
Similarly, structurally unsound floors and walls can cause the whole house to shift or portions to sag. This shifting can form cracks running along major surfaces like walls and ceilings.
If you notice some of these signs and suspect that your home might have termites, don’t hesitate, call the professionals at Radar Pest Control today. It is helpful to notice these early signs so that we can take care of the problem before it becomes too costly, but it is important that you not disturb the termite colony in the meantime. Instead, let our trained technicians handle the problem. We will perform a full inspection, and then discuss customized options that will ensure that your home will be termite free. For Sunshine Coast Termite Control, look no further than Radar Pest Control.