When you’re looking for evidence of termite damage, professional exterminators dig (literally) for information beyond the ones provided by a simple visual inspection. We’ll pierce tree stumps, walls, and steps with a screwdriver or knife. We’d even pull back any mud trail to expose the termites inside.
As a homeowner, you might not want to take it that far and that’s okay. We’re sure no property owner wants to be leaving ugly holes on pristine wooden surfaces. Thankfully, there are other, less invasive ways to tell if your house is currently getting attacked by termites.
People often mistake termites for ants, often calling the ones they see as ‘white ants’. It’s understandable, however, since ants and termites seem to share similarities in terms of shape, size, and behaviour.
They are sensitive creatures, though. It’s unlikely that anyone would find them roaming in open air because their thin bodies need moist, protected environments to survive and thrive. This is why they can go undetected for years, causing massive structural damage before you realise that they’re around.
You certainly must watch out closely for signs of a termite infestation as they can be very elusive.
Once you notice these few signs, it may be best to call your trusted pest control company immediately (before it’s too late).
Termites consume wood from the inside out, typically leaving a thin veneer of timber or paint behind. If you tap an area that has sustained considerable termite damage, it will sound hollow, even papery. That’ll only mean that part or all of the timber inside has been eaten away.
A common story you might read about how some homeowners discover this is when their vacuum cleaner goes through a skirting board or have a finger pressed into a door frame (and it goes through the said frame).
Do you hear quiet, clicking sounds coming from your walls? That’s one sure sign of termites living inside them. The sound is often produced by soldier termites banging their massive heads against the wood or shaking their bodies whenever the colony is disturbed. This is to signal danger to other termites. Meanwhile, the worker termites are noisy eaters and you can hear them munch away at the wood if you put your ears close enough to an infested timber.
Termites are sensitive to vibrations and noises and they detect these using organs found at the base of their antennae as well as those on the tibia. They will often send out immediate warnings as soon as they detect anything they deem as potential threats to the colony.
One unmistakable sign that you’re dealing with a termite invasion is any sighting of frass or termite droppings. As a matter of fact, it’s one thing inspectors look for during standard property termite inspections.
This is a behaviour that’s specific to drywood termites, however. Their subterranean cousins use their faeces to build underground tunnels, after all. Drywood termites, on the other hand, push their faeces out of small holes near the entrances of their nest. The faeces look like small, black, dark, and powdery substances that are often found around the area they are infesting.
A first sign that termites are about to call your place their home is the presence of swarmers or alates. These flying termites are males and females that left their original nest to find a mate and establish a new colony elsewhere. Sadly, seeing these means they plan to set themselves up near or inside your house.
Some termite species swarm at night and are typically attracted to any source of light. Others do in daylight but drywood termites, the ones commonly known to invade properties, swarm after rain at particular times of the year. Now, if you haven’t found flying termites, be on the lookout for discarded wings. Swarmers typically drop theirs after finding a mate. Yes, this could be bad news for you.
Although damp and hot weather are two common culprits for these, warped doors and stiff windows can also mean termites are nearby! That’s because they produce moisture as they eat and tunnel through door and window frames, causing the wood to warp sooner.
Those doors and windows that are tough to open? There’s indeed a good chance that termites may be the ones doing that.
These are quite difficult to see in plain sight but any broken pieces of timber inside or near your house can exhibit this one. And if you do see them, it’s a sure sign that termites have set up camp in your abode.
Thankfully, there are tools that can be used to detect tunnels of termite activity without having to break down portions of your wall. These include electronic odour detectors, sound detectors, moisture detection, borescopes, motion detection, infrared detectors, and even dogs! To be fair, however, only a few have been tested in laboratory conditions by professional technicians.
Every year, one and a half billion dollars are spent on termite damage and the cycle doesn’t stop. After all, termites are always in constant search for new food sources and your home can definitely be their next stop! Even worse is the fact that most insurance policies don’t cover termite damage.
By being aware of the signs of a termite infestation, you can detect a possible invasion and be able to minimise the risk of dealing with extensive property damage. Plus, early detection affords you more time to plan how to better intervene with proper and professional treatment—ultimately saving you considerable money down the track.
Beyond vigilance, you need preventive treatments, baiting systems, and barriers to give your property an extra line of defence against these voracious pests. To set up the best options in this regard, don’t hesitate to call our exterminating team!