Do you suspect that something is living in your walls and slowly eating the house up from the inside?
Relax, as much as this sounds like the plot of a horror movie; we aren’t talking about ghosts! We are, however, pointing our fingers to the next worst thing - termites. These small but irritating insects gnaw and nibble away at your house for years without anyone realising, often until it is too late.
Most of us instantly think of ants, spiders, and cockroaches as the most common house pests, and while termites aren’t as common, they are capable of causing more significant damage. This is why it is essential to recognise the signs of a termite infestation early to prevent it.
Today, we are here to shed light on this matter. We have come up with a guide that will help you understand how to find termites at home by identifying some of the early signs. Plus, this will allow you to figure out what to do next to eliminate these unwanted guests as soon as possible.
Since time is of the essence, let’s get right into it.
How To Find Termites In Your Home
If you are looking to get rid of termites, you may seek professional help for the same. It is also possible to do it yourself using certain home remedies.
However, it is not for the faint-hearted. If looking at a bug infestation brings chills to your spine, it is advisable to pay a little extra and get professional help. After all, professionals will use the right tools to ensure that your home is bug free.
But, before taking the plunge and gearing up for war with these unwanted guests, finding them is the first step. Since they are tiny and often hidden, they might not always be visible immediately, which is why you need to keep an eye out for other signs.
1. Hollow Sounding Wood
If there is even a slight suspicion that termites are eating up the wood in your house, try knocking on it.
A lot of people have found out that they have a termite infestation only after their hands or legs have gone straight through a wooden door or the floor because the bugs have chewed up the inside.
So, before it reaches that state, knock on the wooden surface. If it sounds hollow, there is a chance that termites got to it before it could be saved.
This is a crucial point to consider because this is a dead giveaway. Moreover, if the wood is not checked on time, it can cause more harm than anticipated by spoiling the house’s structural integrity and leading to more financial damage.
2. The Sound of Termites
Termites may be hard to see, but one can figure out if they live in the walls by keeping an ear out for the noises they make.
If you press your ear against any wooden surface that might be infested, there is a strong possibility of hearing a clicking or eating noise. Certain termites make clicking noises to alert the rest of the colony that there is a threat approaching. And the ones that eat wood aren’t the quietest eaters.
3. Winged Pests
Before the onset of termites that eat wood, come the termites that fly (yes, these creatures can fly too)!
A swarm of flying termites is another sign that there might be an infestation happening soon. This is because termites usually fly to look for a new place to start a colony. The time of day for when they fly isn’t fixed, but they will definitely fly right after the rainy season in search of dry wood.
Once a pair of termites mate, they will shed their wings and let the colony they have built do the work. The shedded wings are also a sign to keep in mind when searching for a termite infestation.
4. Stiff Door and Windows
It is common to have tough-to-open doors and stuck windows during the rainy season. However, this could also indicate the presence of termites.
Moisture often tends to mess up the wood, causing it to expand and making it tough to move. Unfortunately, termites also have a similar effect on wood. Once they start eating away the wood, it generates moisture inside, causing it to expand.
5. Ants That Look Different
If you have come across white ants, then those are not ants but termites, and there is a problem on your hands.
Ants and termites look the same at first glance but have many differences. For example, termites are usually lighter in colour compared to ants. There are many other anatomical differences which one might ignore in the first go.
The only thing that is crucial in this case is remembering that there is no such thing as white ants. If there is a “white ant” hanging around the house, start knocking on wood and looking for the colony of termites.
6. Tunnels in the Wood
Finding this one is a little tricky if there is no professional help involved. Since termites munch away, they tend to make tunnels inside the wood.
In this regard, a strong indication of a termite infestation is pieces of wood lying around the house or near any wood surface. This could mean that termites have already made themselves comfortable.
7. Termite Droppings
If drywood termites are infesting the house, then you might notice little dry pellets or black marks around the area that they are eating.
Those pellets or marks are termite droppings and are another strong indicator of an infestation. Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites push out their waste through a hole they make in the wood.
8. Blisters and Ridges
Another indicator that there is a termite infestation on your hands is blisters on the wall. If termites are munching away inside the wall, then the paint will start to peel, and it will seem like there is water damage that is happening.
The minute it seems like water is seeping into the wall, check for termites too. Damage done by them is very often mistaken for water seepage. This will be more common for anyone who could be exposed to subterranean termites.
Additionally, if the affected wall is covered in wallpaper, then you will notice ridges on it. These are usually due to any mud tubes made by the termites.
9. Mud Tubes
Mud tubes are paths that are made usually by subterranean termites. These are pencil-thick pathways that these bugs use to travel from the colony to the wood they are chomping down on. Since they need the moisture, the path locks everything in.
These tubes are usually found near the house’s foundation, in basements, or smaller crevices of the house.
Professional Help vs DIY
While it is possible to get rid of termites without calling the pros, by the time people realise they have this issue, it is too late.
For example, it takes a long time to detect drywood termites. And, usually, by the time they are found, they have completed their life cycle. In those cases, full fumigation of the house is needed. But this isn’t the case for subterranean termites; it is easy to prevent them from building a colony or eliminate them using liquid termiticides.
This is why we advise hiring professional pest management services that use the appropriate tools and know exactly where to look. Depending on the type of termites, the methods used may be different and taking this task on by yourself may do more harm than good.
However, one thing that you can do is take precautionary measures like keeping holes and cracks sealed. Another thing that can be done is ensuring that water from inside the house is drained out properly to minimise moisture build-up that can attract termites.
Additionally, it also helps to keep tight areas like attics, basements and any crawl spaces dry. This can be done by ensuring that the house has proper ventilation.
Termites do not pose any threat to the people who live in the house as they do not bite or transmit any disease. However, they do have the potential to cost people damages worth millions.
To top it off, many homeowners also say that damages by termites are not a part of their insurance. That’s why it is essential to eliminate the possibility of an infestation right from the start. And it all begins with identifying the early signs.
We hope this guide has expanded your knowledge on this matter and helped get a better idea of how to go about spotting potential termite infestations.
Besides keeping an eye out for termites, keep an eye out for more such informative guides by us.
Until then, stay safe and see you next time!