5 indicators of a termite infestation – Insider


  • Termites are wood-destroying bugs that eat something containing cellulose.
  • Search for indicators like mud tubes and wooden harm to see if you will have a termite infestation.
  • Whereas this text may also help you establish indicators of termites, you may want an expert to eliminate an infestation completely.

You’ve got just lately noticed some bugs fluttering round your house and end up worrying in regards to the potential of termites. However how will you inform they’re termites? And what do you have to do for those who establish a termite infestation? 

Termites are small wood-destroying bugs that reside in colonies, just like ants. In line with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), estimates counsel they trigger billions of {dollars} in structural harm yearly. 

They usually do not simply eat via wooden – they’ll harm something containing cellulose, together with wallpaper and carpeting. Whereas they will not eat plastic or foam, they’re completely happy to tunnel via these supplies. Figuring out methods to spot them may also help you stop and promptly deal with an infestation earlier than you have to spend hundreds on repairs. 

Twin Forks Pest Control founder Brian Kelly shares 5 frequent indicators of termites you need to by no means ignore. 

Signal 1: Swarmers (flying termites)

Overhead shot of a bunch of swarmers (flying termites) on the ground.

Swarmers are an early signal of termites.

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Swarmers are flying termites that do not chunk, sting, or eat wooden. However, they’re usually the primary signal of a termite infestation. That is as a result of their solely goal is to breed and set up new colonies through the swarming season. Kelly explains that you just’re most certainly to seek out wings and spot flying termites through the spring. 

One technique to spot whether or not they’ve infested your house is to search for discarded wings, says Kelly. 

“Termite swarmer wings are pale-colored and are often ¼ to ½-inch lengthy,” says Kelly. As soon as swarmers discover mates, they shed their wings, usually leaving them behind on windowsills and different entry factors.  

Signal 2: Hole or blistering wooden

A close up of the corner of a door frame that has been ruined by termite damage.

Wooden harm will seem within the locations the place termites have easy accessibility to your house.

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Broken wooden is one other potential signal of termite exercise. You are most certainly to identify wooden harm in areas the place termites can get into your house via wood-to-ground contact, says Kelly, together with door frames, deck posts, porch steps, and structural helps.

In the event you spot wooden harm, Kelly recommends fastidiously inspecting the broken space for indicators of mould or mildew. Mildew usually has a powdery look whereas mould could look damp or fuzzy. “In the event you discover any, then you’ve a wooden rot drawback.” Wooden rot is not an indication of termite harm, however repeatedly damp wooden can entice pests like termites.  

Dry wooden that comes off simply in chunks is probably going dry rot, says Kelly, a sort of harm brought on when fungal spores come into contact with damp wooden. 

Hole wooden, however, or wooden with tunnels, is an indication of a termite infestation. You possibly can inform wooden is hollowed out as a result of it sounds that means when tapped.  

Signal 3: Frass

Termite wood damage with frass.

Frass are termite feces, and may vary in coloration from beige to darkish brown.

P_Wei/Getty Photos

Termite frass, or feces, is one other signal of termite exercise. Frass signifies that termites are burrowing via and consuming the wooden in your house. Termites create small tunnels to rid their nests of droppings, leaving it behind all through your home. You might typically discover holes close to areas the place you’ve got noticed frass. 

Dropping look varies relying on the species, however they’re typically very tiny and infrequently wood-colored. They might be mistaken for sawdust or filth. In the event you do not see frass, you might be able to odor it, explains Kelly, because it can provide off a moldy or mildew odor.  

Signal 4: Mud tubes

Mud tubes on a damaged wall from termites.

Mud tubes are produced from wooden and soil.

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In line with the University of Missouri Extension Service, the termite species most certainly to trigger harm to houses within the US is the japanese subterranean termite. 

Subterranean termites are most certainly to create mud tubes, that are brown-colored tunnels composed of wooden and soil, measuring about 0.5 to 2.5 centimeters broad. As a result of a majority of these termites have mushy our bodies, mud tubes permit them to journey round your house with out exposing them to exterior threats like dry climate and predators. 

Nonetheless, subterranean termites can discover different methods into your house. Not seeing any mud tunnels on the surface of your house doesn’t suggest you do not have an infestation. Nonetheless, mud tunnels are a transparent signal of termite exercise. Termites usually construct mud tubes in seen areas similar to alongside fences, porches, close by tree trunks, and wall corners.

Signal 5: Tight-fitting doorways and home windows

Close up of an ajar wood door.

Doorways that do not shut simply, inside or outdoors, could also be an indication of termites.

Jacek Kadaj/Getty Photos

Any doorways which might be out of the blue laborious to shut or open are additionally potential indicators of termites, says Kelly.  

As a result of termite exercise can improve humidity ranges, door and window frames can develop, making these entryways more durable to open or shut. This signal is most certainly with subterranean termites, which emit extra moisture than different species.  

If termites are energetic round your doorways or window, you might also discover different indicators of exercise like frass and wooden harm.  

What to do for those who establish one in all these indicators

As a result of it isn’t potential to deal with a termite infestation by yourself, it is essential to name an expert to examine the harm and decide the right course of therapy. 

An expert exterminator is provided with the information to establish the kind of termite and the easiest way to exterminate it.  

That stated, harm would not occur in a single day and there is not any must panic for those who discover indicators of termites. The North Carolina Extension Office explains that critical harm can take between 3 to eight years to happen, so taking your time to discover a certified skilled is extra vital than hiring somebody on the spot. 

Insider’s takeaway 

Many issues, like swarmers, discarded wings, frass, broken wooden, and dirt tubes, can tip you off to a termite infestation. Whereas termites can do critical harm, particularly if left unaddressed, harm takes awhile to develop into critical. Discovering a professional skilled who can establish the kind of termite infestation is essential for eliminating these wood-damaging bugs.


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