Since they are very hard to get rid of and they do serious structural damages to properties, they are the worst nightmare of every homeowner.
If you can’t detect the early warning signs of termites in the ceiling, drywall, and other parts of the house, things might get beyond control.
The termite droppings, sawdust, etc. are some clear signs that you should not miss at all. If you are seriously worried about the dangers of termites, you should read this article carefully.
Surefire Signs of Termites Invasion
Here is a list of early and already termites infested signs to watch out for:
- Buckling floors when walked upon.
- Munching and headbanging sound inside hollow walls.
- Swollen ceilings or floors.
- Hard to open windows and doors.
- Discarded wings and dead bodies of termites near door and window.
- Maze-pattern on wooden floors, furniture, and walls.
- Any loose tiles.
- Peeling paint on ceilings or walls.
- Mud tubes on exterior walls & foundations.
- The smell of mold and mildew.
- Hollow sound when knocking on walls.
Don’t try to take some time to understand fully. Contact the pest controller ASAP as soon as you observe such signs before the damages become beyond repair.
Clear Signs of Termites Elaborated
Termites are called the silent destroyers where you become totally defenseless if detected too late. They can make your properties totally useless and potentially dangerous!
But to take timely actions, you need to detect them first. If detected at the primary stage, you can get rid of them yourself.
If the infestation is too large to handle yourself, you can always hire a professional! Look for those obvious signs so that you can take action ASAP!
- Mud Tubes
The reason they are so hard to detect is because of their avoidance of light at all costs. Hundreds of thousands of them can live inside your house and you won’t have any clue at all.
That’s because the Subterranean termite workers prefer darker places where there is no human disturbance at all. And they are pretty good at finding hidden places inside your house!
Since they like to stay out of sight and hate light so much, they build mud tubes in damp and dark places. Don’t expect to see them in plain sight!
Termite mud tubes are nothing but above-ground tunnels that are made of soil found around your home and saliva. These tunnels are the link between the ground and the wood sources above the ground.
Remember, these mud tubes are made from soil found around your home. So, if you notice any mud lines on the foundation walls, they are clear signs of termites.
Now, such mud tubes may have many appearances and I will try to help you familiarize yourself with a few of them.
Again, don’t expect them to be in your plain sight. You need to look for them in undisturbed areas of your home.
Sometimes, such tubes may appear to be a straight line only just like the size of a pencil. Some of them may have the shape of a river and so on.
Be proactive and do some dirty works to identify such mud tubes.
You may get into crawl hidden spaces, pull up boards on some external structures, slide under the deck. Also, use a flashlight and mirror to inspect concrete piers to look for such mud tubes.
Depending on the structures of your home, the difficulty of the above processes will vary. Do the same in your garages or other properties.
Even if you accidentally come across such mud tubes, take it seriously.
- Spotting Frass – Termite Droppings/Pellets
It’s the same case for every other insect as well. Discovering the droppings is the easiest way to detect any insects.
Like other insects, dry wood termites also leave behind their wood-colored droppings or pellets.
Of course, termites keep their areas clean while tunneling but identifying such droppings are not so hard. Identifying such coffee-color droppings is the surefire sign of termites’ sawdust
- Termite Swarms
During the spring, both the male and female termites leave their colonies to mate and build a bigger colony for them.
So, if you see a swarm nearby your home, it’s a clear sign they are here to build a new colony around or in your home.
It is seriously bad news if you notice such swarms more than once. Because it indiecates there is already an infestation!
Let’s check how you can identify a swarmer…
With long wings and black color, a swarmer can be as long as 3/8 inches. The wings of a swarmer are larger than its body and those wings are stacked on top of each other.
They may be tiny in size and very hard to see, but you should notice their wings. When you notice those wings, take things seriously.
Recognizing a couple of swarmers is not an early sign, it means there are plenty of mature termites in your home and it’s too late. They are already here for years!
But still, when you see dark-colored and white-winged insects crawling in your house, you have a termites’ infestation problem.
- Observing Termites’ Activities
Before it becomes a full-fledged infestation, you can detect the early invasion of times by observing their activities.
Yes, it’s hard to detect Subterranean termites, but you can follow the highly effective ways to uncover their activities in your properties.
Go to your lawn or yard and if you see any wooden boards there, turn them over. You may find termites between the soil and boards.
Any damages to the woods near the soil indicate the presence of termites.
Look for wooden posts in the ground or supporting your back deck. If you see any damages to the wooden posts near the soil, it’s bad news.
You will see such damages where the soil is always damp.
It becomes hard to notice any termite’s activities when they live inside a log, stump, or drying tree.
To find the termite workers living inside them, you need to break off a piece and look inside.
- Difficulty in Opening Doors and Windows
As the termites’ infestation signs are very subtle and very easy to miss, here is another eye-opener for you.
It’s a red sign when you face any difficulty opening your door or window. Out of so many reasons behind that, termite infestation may be one of them!
This is how they make it difficult to open…
As termites keep digging tunnels, they produce moisture and damage the doors and windows. This moisture can warp the doors and windows and can cause visible water damages.
Even if the door or windows become a little stiff, you should check for any water damages.
- Damaged Wood
This is a sign you can’t miss! In fact, most homeowners realize they have a termite infestation only when they see any damaged woods.
Now, you can come across such damaged woods in many forms. Such woods may simply be crumbling or withering away!
If there are maze-like patterns within your floorboards, furniture, or walls, it indicates termites are burring just below the surfaces of that stuff.
And that’s an obvious sign of drywood termites. They will not only eat those wooden structures but also build colonies within them.
When fully infested, these structures will look like water damaged. So, if you notice any discolored drywall, that’s a sign you can’t miss!
Even if you have tile floors, you will notice loosening tiles due to the produced moisture of the termites.
So, when you see any such structural damages and you don’t have a clear reason, you are already infested with termites! Learn to get rid of termites naturally before it’s too late.
- Left-behind Wings And Dead Bodies
Another obvious sign of pesky termites is detecting discarded wings near your door or window. It indicates your house is most probably been infested already.
As you know they swarm during the spring to mate near warm areas, they shed their wings afterward.
Don’t confuse the flying ant’s wings with the termites. The size of the termites’ wings is the same, but it’s a different size for the flying ants.
Also, the bodies of the flying ants are segmented but it’s not segmented for the termites.
Another way to distinguish between the dead bodies of termites and flying ants is that there are no white flying ants!
So, if you notice those same sizes of discarded wings, call your pest controller to have an assessment.
- Moisture Patches
For obvious reasons, termites love moisture. They start eating from that side as soon as they detect it.
So, spotting such moisture patches anywhere in your house including the basement, walls, or floors is a red sign of termite damage.
Alternatively, if any leak in the attic causes any rainwater to drop in or your basement is the floor, I consider them as termite signs as well.
You should call a termite expert to inspect those areas where they have been exposed to such moisture and dampness for a while.
It may sound being paranoid, but once infested, termites can do unthinkable damages to your properties. Just for the peace of your mind, have a little inspection for those moisture patches.
This is how I do the inspection…
Not just for termites, I check my home on a routine basis. And I become very diligent in checking the basement and attic to detect those patches before it’s too late.
- Weird Munching & Headbanging Sounds
Worker termites don’t chew keeping their mouths closed as civilized human do. For such small pests, they make surprisingly loud noises.
If you want to prove this, get a termite-infested log and put your ear up to it. You can hear the munching sound of worker termites inside it.
Instead of worker termites, there may be more solid termites inside that log. In that case, you will hear headbanging sounds instead of munching.
If you don’t know, this is how the solder termites warn others about the imminent danger.
They keep their heads banging in the woods to create a vibration which is called the ‘danger signal’. Through this danger signal, they warn others in the colony about the danger.
Now, you can hear the same headbanging and munching sound if they are inside the walls of your house eating and headbanging.
However, detecting termites present in the home in this way needs a little bit of patients and growing a listening habit.
If you pay attention to how your home sounds on various segments of day and night, it will be easy for you.
You need to be really good at differentiating various sounds like the refrigerator hum, air conditioner sound, and so on.
To do so, you need to develop a habit of listening.
So whenever you hear a different kind of sound like the munching, it’s worth checking further details.
Types Of Termites
After you have checked up on all the signs of termites, it’s also helpful to learn about the different types of termites.
Usually, there are three types of termites that you may come across in your household. Here are the termites you will get to see-
- Subterranean Termites
These are the most major form of termites. They build the biggest of nests in the USA than any other insect.
Usually, they start living in the soil and then make their nests. Later on, these nests connect with the mud tubes that we discussed earlier.
Their food sources are trees, posts, and timbers in your house. They do the most damage among all other termites in the U.S.
Their wood preference is the soft wooden part that you can find between the wood grains. So, you can hardly get anything out of the wood they damage.
- Dampwood Termites
As you can tell by the name, these termites are attracted to damp wood and have higher moisture. These termites are the largest of all termites, so that you can see them pretty easily.
They usually infest in damp wooden sources like tree branches or fallen logs that are almost dying out.
The only way they can enter your home is through damp wood. So, if you have any wet wooden parts or touching the soil, it’s a gateway for damp wood termites.
And these are the termites that you want least at your house. They don’t make any mud tubes, so it’s a bit difficult to track them down properly.
- Drywood Termites
These termites are the complete opposite of damp wood termites. They don’t need any moisture content or soil contact of the wood to infest. They can go through infestation on dry wood.
You get to see these kinds of termites in wood placed on the roof as it’s the driest wood they can find. There are two ways they might have entered your house.
It’s either wood already exposed to outside, or you have brought in an already infested wood. You can easily identify these termites through their discarded wings around the wood.
These are the basic types of termites. Within these three types, you can find a lot of species as well. So, knowing about them is very helpful in preventing and getting rid of the type of termites from your house.
Preventive Measures For Termites
I don’t recommend waiting for termites to attack your home, as it can be disgusting. So, the best thing to do here is to prevent them from coming and infesting in the first place.
Here are some things you can do to prevent termite attacks.
- Soil is the primary way termites can come to your house and attack it. So, you have to reduce soil contact with any wooden items at your home. Whether the windows or timber structures, keep all wooden items in your home as far away as possible from any soil.
- Another important thing to do is, keeping your plants clean and tidy. Plants can be a gateway for termites to enter your house if you don’t care for them daily. So, make sure you are treating your plants every day.
- Try to keep the foundation of your house as dry as you can. Moisture is a great advantage for termites, and you don’t want to give that advantage to them. So, make sure your home foundation stays dry.
- The best food sources for termites are rotten wood, especially dry wood termites. So, you have to keep those woods away from your home. Also, whenever you bring any wood home, check for termite infestation before bringing them inside.
Aside from all these, it’s always a great idea to go for a regular termite inspection every once in a while. Look out for the signs that I discussed, and you will be good.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Untreated lumber or firewood, wood in contact with home foundations, moisture, cracks inside building exteriors, and other factors attract termites inside your house.
Only if you use a stethoscope. They make very faints sounds and you can’t hear them with bare ears. But if you tap any hollow woods eaten by termites, you will hear a hollow sound.
These are the signs:
Buckling floorboards (wooden/laminate).
Peeling paint that looks like water damage.
Hollow-sounding woods when tapped.
Smaller holes in drywall.
Look for these surefire signs:
Flying ants, black garden ants, moisture ants, etc. are often mistaken for termites.
Termites pools are tiny in size that look like oval-shaped capsules with rounded ends.
At least once every two years. But if you have homes made of wood mainly, you should do the termite inspection every year. In reality, most homeowners don’t do it even within 5 years!
Yes, the worker termites make a clicking sound while tunneling through woods including rustling sounds. Besides, you can hear the buzzing sound of flying termites during their springtime mating season.
Preventing termites is always better than getting rid of them. Removing them from your house is even better than doing nothing!
But like every problem, detecting the early warning signs of termites is key to whatever corrective measures you take. Don’t let those pesky insects invade your home!