There are few things that strike as much fear in the hearts of homeowners as termite infestations. The bugs thrive on dry wood, and can move in and multiply before you even know they’re there. Door frames, window frames and even the foundation of a home can feed termites by the thousands. By the time many homeowners notice they have a problem, the damage has already been done.
If you’re concerned your home has a termite infestation, be on the lookout for these warning signs.
You’re Hearing Mysterious Clicking Noises
When the television is off and no music is playing, do you hear clicking sounds coming from the walls? It’s a telltale sign that termites are present. When the bugs chow down on the wood around you, you can actually hear the sounds of their noisy eating habits. Soldier termites add to the noise – they actually bang their heads against the wood to warn the others of danger. The vibrations they give off headbanging incite the other bugs to retreat. It would be kind of cool if it weren’t happening inside your house!
Your Wood Flooring is Blistering
Water damage can cause wood floors to blister and pucker, but it’s far from the only reason blistering should set off your alarm bells. Subterranean termites can eat away at your subfloor, causing flooring panels to buckle and warp. It’s easy to mistake the problem for water damage, but if you notice this issue along with other telltale signs of termites, it may be time to call the exterminator.
It’s not just wood floors that termites feed upon, either. Even laminate flooring can fall prey to these bugs. Beneath laminate, the underlying floor is a favorite of termites – once they begin to do their damage, laminate flooring panels will begin to sag and blister in the affected areas. Unfortunately, termites can destroy laminate floors in a manner of weeks, so it’s best to put a stop to the insects as soon as possible.
Bugs are Flying
Many people don’t realize termites can fly. Like other flying insects, termites are attracted to bright lights, so you may see them flock to lamps at night. They swarm out of their nests to find mates and new places to start colonies. When they find a spot they want to settle, they twist off their wings since they won’t need them anymore. The lack of wings also makes it easier for them to burrow into the ground or wood.
If you spot wings in your home, you could have a new colony on your hands. Be on the lookout for signs of the swarms near entry points, window frames and doors. Most termites build new colonies after the first thaw of spring, so be especially on guard for these flying bugs in March, April, and May.
You’re Finding “Mud Tubes” Outside Your Home
Mud tubes are a classic symptom of a termite infestation. These odd-looking tubes of mud are the size and shape of pencils, and can be found where the foundation of your home meets the ground. They’re also typically found near sheds and trees – essentially, they’ll be near any wood structure that can serve as food for termites. When the bugs nest underground, they burrow into the ground and create tunnels. The mud tubes are the result.
Mud tubes aren’t just a byproduct of termite activity. They actually serve as a source of moisture for bugs traveling between their home and the source of their food. If you spot mud tubes outside of your home, you’ll want to call your exterminator as soon as possible. They’re a sign that termites aren’t just surviving. They’re thriving.
Piles of Pellets Keep Appearing
You might not know termite droppings when you see them. They are wood-colored pellets that resemble sawdust and coffee grounds. Found both inside and outside homes, these droppings are a major red flag. Also known as frass, the droppings are a sign that drywood termites have indeed moved in. Thankfully, they are easy enough to clean up, but don’t let frass removal be the last step in your termite strategy. Droppings indicate a colony has taken up residence, and without an exterminator’s help, you’ll be cleaning up much more than just frass.
Inspecting for Termites
Even if you feel fairly confident in your own assessment of your potential termite problem, it helps to have an expert take a look. Professional home inspectors are trained to spot signs of these destructive bugs and can help you understand how they have begun impacting your property. While only a trained exterminator can truly rid you of a termite infestation, a home inspector can arm you with the information you need to make smart decisions about your property.
Ever wondered where home inspectors get their training? At ICA, we offer comprehensive online classes for aspiring home and commercial property inspectors. Our bonus class on wood destroying organisms is a must for anyone hoping to spot termite infestations in client homes! Learn more about our offerings and enroll now to begin your new career as a home inspector.