Termites and Their Hiding Places

While termites might not be harmful to humans in a typical way, through the spread of disease,  they can be dangerous by impacting the integrity of your home. When termites invade your space, they can do massive damage to your home and its structure; hurting your wallet, and in extreme cases, rendering a home unsafe to live in. Termite infestations are one of the worst infestations for your home because of the damage they cause to the house’s infrastructure.

Where to Find Termites

While it might feel this way, termites are not exclusive to homes. You can find them wherever there is wood. While that might not seem like a revolutionary thought, it is important to note. Termites enjoy pine and oak wood. This means if you have a dead tree in your backyard or if you live in an older home, you might be more susceptible to a termite infestation.

When looking for the initial signs of termites, you will want to look for the following: 

  • “Sawdust” around the wood surface
  • “Pinholes” within your wood
  • “Mud tunnels” around the base of the home or tree

Although these are common signs of termites, they are not always this obvious. They often like to hide. Termites can be found underground or near decaying trees. Although you can sometimes hear termites through the walls, typically just the effects of termites are visible. To catch termites in action, look for them in hollow wood, squeaky floorboards, and holes in drywall.

How Do You Know You Have Termites?

Because of the immense damage termites can cause, it is important to be on alert and know what to look out for in termite infestations. Most people are not aware of the infestation until there is noticeable damage, and by that point, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in unseen damages. Some things to look out for include:

1. Discarded Wings

Discarded wings are one of the most obvious signs of a termite infestation. After the termites fly, they lose their wings and can be found both inside or outside of your home.

2. Flying Termites

Swarmers, also known as “flying termites”, are another early sign of infestation. Swarmers, as obvious by the name, fly in larger groups which makes them more obvious. They are also attracted to light, so keep an eye out for your light sources.

3. Blistered or Hollow Wood // Strange Changes in Wood

Changing in wood is a sign of termite infestation because termites eat the wood. Typically the wood becomes hollow or appears blistering because the termites eat it from the inside. Keep an eye out for wood doors, wood ceilings, beams, wood floors, or baseboards. If the floor feels softer, you may have a termite infestation.

4. Frass // Termite Droppings

Frass, which may appear as sawdust, is actually termite droppings. Frass is wood colored and may not be obvious, but it is a major sign of infestation.

5. Mud Tubes // Mud Mazes

Mud tubes are how termites travel. They can be found near the foundation of a house and are made of soil and frass. Mud tubes are easier to spot, so checking around the foundation of your home periodically for them can be beneficial.

6. Stubborn Windows or Doors

If doors or windows that were once easy to open or move become difficult suddenly, that is a sign of termite infestation. While termites eat, they produce moisture that breaks down the doors and windows, making them difficult to move. 

7. Noise Within the Walls

Because termites eat so much, sometimes you can actually hear them eating through the walls. The head of the termites, known as the “soldier termite”, bangs its head against wood as a form of communication, and you may be able to hear that sound. If you put your ear up to a wall, you will be able to hear the termites eating.

Identifying Termites

When you find a pest in your home, it is important to identify it quickly and know what the risks are. When it comes to termites, they are often confused with flying ants. Understanding the differences is key to stopping the problem. A few of those differences include: 

1. Termite Wings vs Flying Ant Wings

Despite many similarities, termites and flying ants are different and can be identified easily. The first difference is their wings. Although termites and flying ants both have four wings, termite wings are bigger in proportion to their body, while flying ant wings are smaller. 

2. Antennas of Each Pest

Although they both have antennas, termite antennaes are straight, while the antennaes of flying ants are bent. 

3. Insect Body

A noticeable difference between the two is their bodies. While termite bodies are consistent in size from the top to the bottom, flying ants have waists that become thin in the center; almost looking like their waist is pinched. 

4. Color 

Colors may be harder to tell.  Termites are typically darker, being black or dark brown. Flying ants can be black or brown, but they can also be red. 

5. Food Sources

Food is another difference between the two species. Termites eat wood or cellulose, which is found in plants. Flying ants are omnivores and eat a lot of nectar, seeds, food leftovers, and other insects. 

6. LifeSpan 

The last major difference between termites and flying ants is their lifespan and life cycle. Termites live through three different stages: egg, larvae, and adult. Ants live through four cycles: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Termites also live after they produce, while male flying ants don’t live after they reproduce. 

If you are struggling to tell the difference, General Pest Control is trained to differentiate between the two species, and can recognize which species are infesting your home.

When in Doubt – Call a Pest Exterminator Expert

Understanding the creatures found in your home, as well as the early warning signs of termites, is key to stopping them before they destroy your home. Keep an eye out around the foundation of your home and in any wood inside or outside your home. If you notice damage or there is any concern about potential damage, call the experts at General Pest Control for an inspection.