Termites are devastating pests that will wreak havoc on your home. Here are a few signs that your home has a termite infestation. Termites are small insects almost the size of ants that live in the ground in groups called colonies. Their main source of food is dried wood which we use in some of our homes as the main structural support beam. Dry wood is basically timber that was chopped off from a tree and is not growing anymore. Once it has been cut, it loses all the moisture inside it.
Termite colonies can grow to accommodate up to millions in a single colony. That said, the damage they cause to your wood is immeasurable. Because they are so many, they have the ability to consume large amounts of wood in even in a single day, depending on the size of the colony.
Some termite species prefer areas with warm and moist climate as it is suitable for their breeding. In order to avoid the damages caused by termites, it is important to recognize signs of an infestation early enough to deal with the problem before it is too late. Here are a few signs you should look out for that will help you recognize a termite problem.
Clicking Sounds on Your Wood
One sign of a termite infestation is a soft clicking sound originating from the walls of your house. This clicking sound is as a result of soldier termites banging their heads on the wood or shaking their abdomens in order to alert others in the colony of impending danger. The worker termites are the ones responsible for the destruction of your furniture.
This bunch of insects is very noisy eaters for their size. If you listen closely to an area with termites feeding, you will be able to hear them chowing down on the wood.
Termites are sensitive to noise due to the vibration sound produces. Their antennae are able to easily detect to these vibrations, hence the head banging by the soldier termites. Loud and fast music does not go undetected to termites, they recognize and respond to music such as rock. If you are not sure about the clicking sounds from your wall, a simple experiment would be to put on fast music and listen closely. If the frequency of the clicking sound increases, it is the termites responding to the music.
Flying Termites Near Your Home
This is normally one of the first signs of an infestation. Flying termites are also known as swarmers or alates. These flying insects consist of the termites that have left the colony in order to establish another one by mating. The problem with this is, the new colony might be founded near your house. If you do not see swarmers, it may be because some species fly at night and are attracted to bright lights. Street lights and bulbs on the exterior of your house can act as a trap. They will normally collect under bright bulbs in groups. By dawn, most of them have flown their wings off and died of either exhaustion or dehydration under the light source.
Another sign of termite presence is fallen discarded wings. Termites shed off their wings shortly after mating. Mating is a sign of a new colony on the way. Discarded wings on your front porch should, therefore, be a warning sign of an infestation to come. Although many termite species die after mating, their eggs which outnumber them in by hundreds live on to hatch.
Presence of Mud Tunnels
Mud tunnels along the walls of your house are a sure sign of a termite infestation in your home. They are normally about the width of a pencil. Termites build these tunnels as passages for transporting their food to their nests from the source of their food. Some species such as the subterranean termites use their droppings to construct tunnels. These tunnels are fragile and can be broken without much force. For further proof, you can break down a small part of the tunnel and check visually for termites.
Termites feed on dry wood from the inside coming out. This means that they leave air pockets inside the wood to make it hollow. If you tap on the wood, it will produce a hollow sound. This sometimes proves a costly loss as you would have to replace the wood due to structural integrity concerns it has.
Termite droppings are also known as frass. Dry wood termites do not use their droppings to construct their tunnel passages, they instead dispose of them through small openings adjacent to their nests. Frass forms a black powdery substance around where it is dumped. If you happen to see termite droppings near your house, you should contact professionals to come over and inspect the area.
Stiff Wooden Doors and Windows
sometimes the doors and windows made of wood can suddenly be tight fitting or difficult to open and close. A lot of times, this is attributed to hot and damp weather because the wood absorbs this moisture and sags making it squeeze into its allocated space. Other times, it can also mean termites are at work. As they are feeding, they release moisture into the wood. After a while, the wood starts to deform and get heavier due to the extra weight of water. This makes it swell therefore making it a harder fit into its frame.
Presence of White Ants
White ants are often confused with termites as they have a very similar appearance. They are however different in a couple of ways, the main one being the almost translucent look of the termites’ body. They are also slightly bigger around the abdomen area compared to ants.
What You Should Do About the Termite Infestation in Your Home
Dealing with insects is not an easy task. It is both a risky task and a delicate one as well. It is not advisable to take it on as a do it yourself project. if not dealt with properly, a termite infestation can get out of hand as they tend to spread out when they are not completely wiped out of their nest. Should you spot any of the above signs, take the safe course and contact a termite professional to help you deal with them.