Termites can be found throughout most areas of the United States, and these tiny pests are responsible for causing extensive and expensive damage to homes each year. As a homeowner, it is in your best interest to keep your eyes open for signs of termite infestation in your home; if you believe that your house may have termites it is important to contact an experienced exterminator as soon as possible. Some of the most common signs of termites include:
1. Exterior Mud Tubes
When termites find a new source of wood to attack, such as your home, they often build mud tubes around the exterior walls and foundation which gives them the moisture that they need while looking for food. Take some time to examine the exterior walls of your home on a regular basis to look for any evidence of termite mud tubes.
2. Hollow Wood
Discovering a termite infestation can be tricky, since so much of the damage is done where it is not easily seen. The surface of any wood material in your home may look fine, but in many cases termites destroy from the inside out. One red flag to look for is wood that sounds hollow when you knock on it- this is a sure sign that there may be termites in your home.
Termites are rarely seen in the early stages of an infestation, but they do leave evidence behind showing that they are there. One thing to look for is frass, which is termite droppings. This material typically looks like dirt, as it primarily consists of wood shavings. If you find unexplained mounds of "dirt" under cabinets or in crawl spaces, you should consult a termite exterminator.
4. Wall Irregularities
When termites get inside the walls of a home, they often eat the paper that covers sheet rock, which can cause irregularities to the paint or wallpaper on the wall. The damage is not always obvious looking straight at the wall, but if you shine a flashlight along the length of the wall you will be able to better see the damage. Any damage to an interior wall should be investigated as soon as possible.
Termites typically stay hidden, but as a colony grows the reproductive termites, called "swarmers" will begin flying around. In most cases the presence of swarmers indicates that a colony has been growing for a few years, and is likely in your house or underneath the foundation. If you see a swarm of small winged insects in or near your home, or begin finding discarded insect wings around the house, you should contact a pest control specialist as soon as possible.