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5 Termite Evidences: Prevent Termite Infestations

Termites cause damage to hundreds of thousands of homes in the United States every year, collectively costing homeowners billions of dollars in repairs and treatments. Sometimes, termites can cause damage for 8-10 years before they’re found and treated, but checking for these signs regularly will help you catch an infestation before it can do any serious damage.

Although termites can be tricky to locate, there are a few things they leave behind that give them away. Regularly checking for these signs can save you thousands and keep you armed and able to respond quickly, long before they can inflict any significant damage to your home in Corpus Christi, TX.

1. Termite Droppings

Because termites eat wood, their droppings (also called “frass”) look like piles of sand or little wooden pellets, or even tiny wood shavings. Many types of termites will make a hole from their wooden tunnels and make a pile of frass to keep the tunnels tidy.

They’re almost like little housekeepers, dumping out the garbage when it gets in the way.

If you find a pile of frass, take a photo of the pile so you can show it to the pest professionals when they come, and then clear it away and watch the spot for a few days. If the pile returns, you’ve probably found a frass dumping spot. Mark the spot and prepare to show the pest professionals when they come for treatments.

2. Mud Tubes

Subterranean termites — which are the most common type of termite in the U.S. — depend on contact with the soil to keep from dehydration.

To travel from their underground colonies to a wood source, they mix dirt with their saliva and create above-ground tunnels, like superhighways that protect them from the dry air and predators. They typically look like mud vines branching up a concrete wall or even vinyl siding.

Keep track of all mud tunnels you find so that you can show a termite professional when they come for treatments.

Pro Tip: Test for Activity

  1. Break open the mud tubes. Termites will either fix the damage immediately, or they might not have noticed yet.
  2. Watch for activity over the next few days.
  3. If the mud tubes and tunnels are repaired within the next week, you’re definitely dealing with an active nest.
  4. If the tubes remain unrepaired and dry inside after a week, the tunnels are inactive and could belong to a nest that died or moved elsewhere.

3. Flying Termites

Mature termite nests develop and release flying termites (also called “alates” or “swarmers”), which leave the nest in the spring and create their own colonies. After they find a mate, their wings fall off and they begin reproducing.

You might notice flying termites right before dawn or around dusk. They tend to fly toward a light source, so you could find them swarming around a porch light or running into the windows at night or early morning.

It’s less common to see flying termites than to find their wings lying around. Carefully inspect your property for discarded wings, both around the yard and inside the house. If you find any wings, there’s most likely a colony somewhere nearby.

The Difference Between Ants and Termites

Termites and ants both send winged reproductive swarmers every year (usually in the spring, but they could appear at any time throughout the year). Ants aren’t usually as destructive as termites, and treatments for each will be different, so you’ll want to tell the difference between them.

Ants and Termite Swarmers — the Difference

  • Ants have wings four wings that are different lengths. All four termite wings are the same length.
  • Ants have a tiny “waist.” Termites have a thick “waist.”
  • Ants have an elbow bend in their antennae. Termites have straight antennae that are made up of a string of tiny beads.

4. Damage to Wood

Termites will eat anything from wall studs to ceiling beams, certain kinds of wall insulation, books, furniture, and wallpaper.

Termites eat wood from the inside out, which makes it hard to detect, but there are things you can do to check for damage.

Start on the outside of the house and work your way inside, checking from the ground up. After you check all the wooden structures outside the house — deck, porch, outside furniture, etc. — inspect the outer walls first and move your way to the center of the house. Don’t forget to check the basement and attic. Use a wooden dowel or heavy screwdriver and tap the wood, listening for any hollowness. You can also press the wood to check for any weaknesses.

Termites also chew into drywall, which will cause the wall or ceiling to ripple. Check for bubbles, unevenness, and shadows by placing a flashlight against the wall or ceiling and splashing the light across it.

Note any wood damage you notice and show the pest professionals when they come to treat. Termites aren’t the only wood-destroying insects, and a professional will be able to tell the difference and help you eradicate the problem.

5. Noises in the Walls

Sometimes, termites create a high-frequency sound while they excavate the wood, which can be most easily heard at night.

Sometimes, the sound is too soft or high-pitched for adults to hear. If your child frequently reports tapping or scratching sounds in the walls, it might be worth a closer look. Test the drywall and wood for damage.

Pro Tip:

Powder post beetles, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and even some kinds of wasps can scratch at the wood. Mice and rats also make nightly sounds inside the walls sometimes.

If you have pests in the walls, a pest professional will be able to help you identify and exterminate the problem.

Professional Termite Control

Many people’s first instinct when facing a pest infestation is to take care of it by yourself. There are products out there that can help you fight termite infestations, such as boric acid, termite bait systems, and food-grade diatomaceous earth.

Many homeowners who try to treat termites without professional aid end up spending more money and more time than calling a termite exterminator in the first place.

Termites are tough to get rid of, so you’ll want to call a company that you can depend on. Fox Pest Control and our Pest Pros have the tools, experience, and knowledge to identify the problem, treat it, and prevent any further infestations.

When you call Fox, you aren’t just hiring a company. You’re joining a family that cares about you, the investment you’ve made in your home, and is just as invested in protecting your family as you are.

Call Fox today to restore your peace of mind. We get the job done right the first time, so when you think pest control, think Fox Pest Control. Because No Bugs is Simply Better.

Posted on March 16, 2020.

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