Are you seeing mysterious holes in your baseboards and walls without logical explanation? If so, you might have a termite infestation. The market size for pest control products was estimated at USD 24.87 billion in 2021.
Termites are parasitic insects that can enter your home. They feed on wood and rarely reveal themselves until they’ve done so much damage.
If you suspect you have a termite infestation, the sooner you catch the culprits, the better. But how can you tell if you have a termite problem?
Here are some early signs of termites and what to do next.
Important Signs of a Termite Infestation
Early detection is an important aspect of reducing the risk of termite infestations in any home. Several signs can point to an infestation, and the earlier the homeowner discovers them, the more likely they will be to prevent further damage.
Wood That Begins to Sound Hollow
Pay attention to your wood floors, trim, and furniture. If you tap the wood and it gives a hollow sound, termite activity has likely weakened it. This can be dangerous in hardwood flooring as the termites can damage the wooden structure. They feed on cellulose materials.
A blistered wood flooring results from the termites tunneling under the wood surface and pushing up against it, creating bubbles in the wood. All wood that is being eaten by the termites will be weakened, making it easier to break or crumble.
Inspect the wood for small holes, bits of sawdust, and bug wings to confirm an infestation. It is important to note that if you find any damaged wood, you should immediately replace it, as termite damages can be quite costly to repair.
Piles of Wings From Swarmers
Subterranean termites, one of the most destructive species of termites, can fly through doors and windows, and their wings are an important indicator of an infestation. Piles of termite wings near a window or door are a telltale sign of a termite problem as these wings are left behind after swarmers emerge from the nest.
Swarmers are termite reproductive adults that undergo a process of metamorphosis during which their wings fall off. This occurs when they pair up and begin searching for a suitable space to build a colony.
The presence of these wings, even if they are now decomposing and degraded, shows their activity. An infestation is present, and it is thus important to take the proper steps in finding and treating it.
Mud Nests Built on Sides of Exterior Walls
The termites build mud nests along the area of the house to create safe and warm movement above the ground. Also, they construct these structures as protection for them against predators and other threats. These structures are the walls of termite homes built with pieces of wood, soil, and saliva.
As termites often inhabit such structures, these mud nests are a surefire sign that a termite infestation could be present or may soon be developing. Therefore, inspect the exterior walls to check for these mud nests or shelter tubes, even if you have not yet seen other signs of a termite infestation. Experts suggest one should be vigilant and inspect these shelter tubes periodically.
Visible Colonies in Basements or Crawl Spaces
If basements or crawl spaces contain mud tubes, these can be the telltale sign of a termite infestation, as the termites use these mud tubes to travel back and forth from their colonies.
Drywood termites often leave traces of fecal pellets and shed wings as they look for fresh food sources. If dry-wood termites are present, their pellets resemble grains of sand or sawdust, and their wings look similar to fish scales. If any of these signs are present, you must take immediate action to reduce and eliminate the infestation.
Wet or Slimy Wooden Surfaces
One of the significant signs of a termite infestation is wet or slimy wooden surfaces. When termites infest, they consume the wood, leaving a slimy residue. This slimy residue shows an infestation and should be a major warning sign.
In serious termite infestations, this can lead to fungal growth on the affected surface. The appearance of this residue can happen. Yet, it is often noticed after heavy rain or flooding.
To identify this slimy residue, inspect any wooden surfaces in your home, and look for any gum-like secretions, discoloration, or an increase in moisture and wood softening.
What to Do If You Suspect You Have a Termite Problem
If you suspect you have a termite problem, the most vital step is to contact professional termite services right away. A qualified pest control operator can inspect your home, identify if termites are present, and determine the degree of the infestation.
If you find a termite infestation, the exterminator will suggest the best treatment plan to take. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the infestation:
Baiting and Colony Elimination
A professional will bait the area with special wood stakes that attract termites. Once it attracts the termites, the baits will release a chemical that will work to eliminate the entire colony.
After this, remove the infested wood and treat it with a pesticide to prevent future infestations. A yearly termite inspection is still recommended because, even with baiting, there is still a chance of a future infestation.
Liquid Barrier Treatments
A liquid barrier treatment involves applying a liquid or foam insecticide to the foundation of your home to create a barrier that keeps termites away. The insecticide will kill any termites that come into contact with it and has a long-lasting effect, meaning termites won’t be able to breach your home’s defenses.
Spot treatments involve treating only the infested area instead of the entire building, so they can be a quicker, more efficient way to rid your home of termites. The termite exterminator will identify the exact location of the infestation and apply the spot treatments most effectively. They are only effective if the infestation has been limited to one area, as untreated termite populations could relocate and cause further damage.
Look for These Early Signs of Termites Infestation
Termites are a serious issue, and the best way to handle them is to catch them early. Early detection signs of termites include things like wood beginning to sound hollow, mud nests, visible colonies, discarded wings, and slimy wooden surfaces.
If you notice any of these signs, contact a pest control company right away. Taking fast action can help reduce the damage and cost associated with termites.
For more home advice, check out our other articles.