Termites. Just the name of these tiny pests can send shivers down the spine of a homeowner, and for good reason. Termites are known for sneaking into homes through cracks in the foundation and wreaking real havoc to the interior wooden structure, sometimes literally right under a homeowner’s nose. Worst of all, termites have a penchant for staying silent and subtle, making it difficult to spot their dirty work until it is too late.
Difficult, however, is not the same as impossible. If you keep your eyes open, you might be able to spot the telltale signs of a termite infestation in the works and react accordingly.
5 Termite Signs
Five common signs of termite activity include:
- Tapping Sounds Ever wonder what termites sound like, or if they make any sound at all? As a matter of fact, soldier termites are known to bang their heads against the wood while feeding on wood. They are also known to make sounds in order to signal danger to other termites. Termites soldiers are noisy eaters as well, so if you put your ear close to wood that you think is being munched on by termites, chances are that you will be able to hear them munching away!
- Early-Summer Swarm Termites reproduce after a swarm of their winged forms emerge on a warm spring or early-summer day. These swarms actually come straight from the ground, so if you witness this happening, you know its termites. If you don’t see the swarm, you might see a lump or large collection of little wings instead, possibly down in the cellar.
- Hollow Wood Do termites really eat wood? Yes, and they love it. Hollow wood is a huge sign signifying termite activity. If you are doing a little bit of carpentry to repair a part of your home and find holes or hollows in the wood frame, a termite family has been feasting there. Sometimes you can do a quick-check for termites by rapping your hand onto wooden sections of your home, especially down in the basement or anywhere near the ground; if it sounds hollow, it probably is, and termites are probably to blame.
- Tiny Mud Tunnels Nothing scares a termite more than being exposed to the elements for too long. This is why they live inside the wood they eat, and why they build tiny tunnels made of mud along, near, and around their colonies. If you see little mud tubes – usually no thicker than a pencil – running along your walls, termites have created their own highway system and are probably still lurking inside your home.
- White-Looking Ants Often times people tend to mistake termites with ants. It could be tricky to spot the difference between the two insects, as they are similar in size and shape. The difference between ants and termites are primarily found in color: ants tend to be dark in color, such as red or black, while termites are light in color, usually white. It could also be hard to tell the difference between flying termites and flying ants. One way to know is to look out for discarded wings; because some termites tend to lose their wings shortly after mating. If you notice white-looking ant-looking insects or tiny discarded wings, it could be a sign that you have termites in your home.
If you see any of these termite warning signs, you need to act quickly. The longer you let termites stay in your property, the more damage they will do. If they are wide-spread enough, you might be looking at a massive repair job to ensure your home is structurally sound.