Currently, termites are considered to be the biggest threat to wood based structures. They are more dangerous than fire, flooding, and wind damage. While this might sound absurd, given the size of these little critters, the truth is that termite infestations are devastating for homes. In large enough numbers – and it doesn’t take long – termites can eat away at the foundations of a property and reduce it to a hollow husk.
This is not only dangerous from a safety perspective, it represents a great financial destruction too. For all of these reasons, termite infestation must be treated as a very real threat. To protect your home, you first need to recognize the warning signs that indicate the presence of unwelcome visitors. That way, you can spot signs of trouble early and deal with the problem before it becomes a crisis.
This guide to the most common warning signs of termite infestation will help monitor and protect your home.
Flying insects or shed wings
It is a common misconception to think that termites don’t fly. In actual fact, colonies are formed by reproductive insects called swarmer termites. These termites do have wings and they can usually be seen in the spring months. If you spot clusters of winged insects or you find piles of shed wings, you are advised to contact a company specializing in termite control as soon as possible. Even if turns out not to be termites, you have the peace of mind of being sure.
Hollow sounding wood
As termites don’t like to be out in the open, they can’t always be seen on the surface of wooden furniture or fixtures. They are much likely to be feeding on the insides, because this is where it is dark, humid, and quiet. There are many stories of homeowners discovering extensive termite damage to the interior of wooden pieces, even while the outer surfaces remain pristine and untouched.
Swarming dry wood termites are able to infiltrate spaces narrower than the width of a coin. This can make them difficult to keep out, but sealing up as many cracks and gaps as possible is a good way to start. Pay particular attention to windows, vents, and roof sidings, as well fissures within the foundation of the property. Keep an eye out for cracked or distorted paint both in and around these areas.
These little mounds of dirt are most commonly spotted around the foundation of a home. They are built by the termites to provide protection and moisture while they feed on your furniture. So, if you see small mounds of dust, dirt and grime dotted about external and basement walls, call in the pest removal guys.
As they consume, dry wood termites leave behind little piles of wood colored droppings. This is called ‘frass’ and it is a good indication of termite infestation, particularly spotted when in abundance. To make it harder for these pesky insects to claim your home, keep gutters, crawlspaces, and downspouts unobstructed and free from debris and blockages. If you keep any kind of wood or paper around, it will quickly become a source of food for termites.
Sticky windows & doors
In houses that are infested with termites, it is common to find that windows and doors are very ‘sticky.’ This is because the frames have been bent and warped by the critters, as they eat away at the insides. It tends to be a symptom of extensive and prolonged termite damage, so you can prevent it from happening if you catch and deal with the problem early.
Damaged roof tiles
While termites can’t really damage roof tiles, unless they’re made out of wood, they are attracted to the moisture that follows. If you have a number of broken tiles on the roof, it could be worth inspecting the attic for signs of termites. They can easily make their way inside and start causing serious damage to the wooden components underneath. After a while, the structural integrity of the building will become compromised.