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5 Signs of a Termite in Your Home

Termites damage hundreds of thousands of homes throughout the United States, and $5 billion are spent each year to repair and prevent the damage. Termites are tough to find and spot, and can even stay hidden in a home for 8-10 years before they’re found and treated.

Luckily, there are plenty of signs they leave behind that you can learn to look for. Inspecting your home for these 5 signs can prevent an infestation before your home has significant damage and save you thousands of dollars of repairs to your home in Lexington, KY.

1. Termite Frass

Termite droppings are called frass, which looks like piles of sand or tiny wooden pellets. Termites are like little housekeepers, and some species clear frass from their tunnels by opening a hole and dumping the frass in neat piles.

If you find a pile of sand or sawdust in or around your home, take a good-quality photo that you can show the pest professional when they come. Then clear away the frass and watch carefully over the next few days without disturbing it. If the pile reappears, chances are good that you have termites actively working there.

When the pest professionals come to treat your home, be sure to show them all the signs you’ve found.

2. Mud Tunnels

Subterranean termites (the most common type of termites in the U.S.) have soft bodies that can dry out easily and are susceptible to predators, so they create tubes made of dirt and saliva to safely travel from their underground colonies to a source of wood.

You can find these mud tubes and tunnels branching up the side of a concrete wall, metal pole, tree trunk, a kitchen wall, or the vinyl siding of your house.

>Pro Tip:

To test for termite activity, break open one of the tubes. Termites will either move to repair it right away, or they might fix it over the next few days, so check it regularly.

If the tubes aren’t repaired after a week and are dried out on the inside, the termites probably abandoned the tunnels, but they might still be somewhere nearby.

3. Swarmers

Usually during the spring, or sometimes throughout the year, mature termite colonies send flying termites that mate, shed their wings, and create a new colony elsewhere.

You might notice termite swarmers gather around a porch light or hit the windows early in the morning or around dusk, but seeing swarmers isn’t common. You’re more likely to see their discarded wings inside the house or somewhere near your property.

Termite Swarmers and Ant Swarmers

Ants and termites both send out flying reproductives that shed their wings and create their own colonies. Most ants aren’t nearly as destructive or as difficult to exterminate as termites are. Knowing the difference could save you time and money.

  • Ants have four wings of differing lengths. Termites have four wings of equal length.
  • Ants have a tiny “waist” where the abdomen connects the body. Termites don’t have a visible waist and are thick from nose to tail tip.
  • Ants have an elbow bend in their antennae. Termites have straight antennae made up of a string of beads.

4. Wood Damages

Termites eat anything with cellulose, which makes up all plants and is indigestible for most animals. They eat ceiling beams, wall studs, books, furniture, sheetrock, and even wallpaper

There are plenty of other kinds of wood-destroying insects, but termites are one of the only kinds that eat wood from the inside out. This makes them tougher to detect than some of the others, but not impossible.

Perform a home inspection, looking for hollow or weak wood. Do this by tapping a heavy screwdriver or wooden dowel on the wood and listening for a hollow echo. You can check for weakness in the wood by pressing your hand against it.

Start outside the home by checking wooden structures like wood sheds, porches, and wooden poles. Check from the ground up and work your way toward the house. Inside the house, start with exterior door frames and window frames. You can also check for any imperfections or damage to the drywall by placing a flashlight against it and splashing the light across it. Look for ripples, bubbles, and any other unevenness.

Mark any damage you see, take a photo, and show the pest professionals when they come. If you’ve accidentally misidentified an infestation as termites, any termite professional will be able to tell the difference and either be able to address the problem or give you advice on how to proceed.

5. Nightly Scratching Noise

Termites often create a high-pitched sound while they excavate, which is most easily heard at night.

Adult ears are usually not sensitive enough to hear the sounds, so if your child repeatedly reports noises in the walls, it might be a good idea to take a closer look.

>Keep in mind that there are many kinds of wood-destroying insects that make sounds in the walls — powder post beetles, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and wasps are just a few. Mice and rats also make audible scratching sounds in the walls as well. It can be easy to misidentify an infestation.

Any termite professional should be able to tell the difference, so don’t be afraid to call the experts for help.

Professional Termite Extermination

Some people’s first instinct when facing a termite infestation is to treat it by themselves, and there are plenty of products out there that can help, like boric acid products, termite bait systems, and food-grade diatomaceous earth. But most people who try to treat termites on their own end up spending more money and time than they would have by contacting a professional in the first place.

You’ll need a professional with the experience, knowledge, and tools necessary to get rid of an infestation for you. You’ll need someone who cares as much about your family, your home investment, and your peace of mind as you do.

Fox Pest Control can be that company for you. When you call Fox, you aren’t just hiring a company that will eradicate your termite problem, you’re joining a family that cares.

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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