Termite Signs & Symptoms
July 9, 2023 - Termites
Author - Tom Miche
Termites, despite their tiny size, can cause significant damage. A single termite usually means there's a colony nearby, and together, they can harm buildings.
Termite colonies are complex, with a queen, workers, soldiers, and others. Depending on the termite type, their lifespan can range from 2 to 50 years, and colonies can last indefinitely. They can have over a million members, all eating wood.
Detecting termite signs early is crucial to control and protect your home. Keep reading to learn more about signs and how to prevent damage.
What Is A Termite Infestation?
A termite infestation is the presence and colonization of termites within a structure, typically a building or wooden components. During an infestation, termites actively feed on and damage wood, potentially causing structural harm and necessitating professional intervention for control and prevention.
What Are The Signs Of A Termite Infestation?
Bubbling Paint or Wallpaper
Mud in Construction Joints
Noises in the Wall
Allergies or Breathing Issues
1. Bubbling Paint Or Wallpaper
Bubbling paint or wallpaper is a potential sign of termite infestation. Termites can create moisture within walls as they feed on and damage the wood. This moisture can cause the paint or wallpaper to bubble or peel away from the surface. When you notice such bubbling or peeling, it may indicate hidden termite activity within your walls, and further inspection by a professional is advised to confirm and address the issue promptly.
2. Damaged Drywall
Damaged drywall can be a sign of termite infestation. Termites can tunnel through and feed on the cellulose in drywall, causing it to become discolored, saggy, or visibly damaged. When you observe such irregularities in your drywall, it may suggest underlying termite activity within your walls. It's crucial to have a professional inspection to confirm and address the termite issue, as untreated infestations can lead to extensive damage.
3. Damaged Wood
Hollowed wood is a common sign of termite infestation. Termites feed on wood from the inside out, leaving the outer layers intact while hollowing out the interior. This can result in wooden structures or furniture sounding hollow when tapped or feeling less dense. When you encounter wood that appears hollow, it's a strong indication of termite damage, and immediate action, such as a professional inspection and treatment, is essential to prevent further harm.
Tunnels In Wood
Tunnels in wood are a clear sign of termite infestation. Termites create narrow, meandering tunnels or galleries within wooden structures as they feed on the cellulose. These tunnels can be visible on the surface of the wood and often have a layered appearance. When you observe such tunnels, it's a definitive indication of termite activity, and professional intervention is necessary to address the infestation and protect the affected wood.
Hard To Open Doors/Windows
Difficulty in opening doors or windows can be a sign of termite infestation. Termites can cause wooden frames to warp or swell due to the moisture they generate as they feed on the surrounding wood. This warping can make doors and windows hard to open or close smoothly. When you experience such issues with doors or windows, it suggests potential termite damage to the nearby wooden structures, and a professional inspection is advisable to assess and address the problem promptly.
The presence of noisy floors, especially when stepped on, can be indicative of termite damage. Termites can hollow out wooden structures, compromising their structural integrity. When the affected wood loses its density, it may produce creaking or crunching sounds when pressure is applied, such as when walking on it. If you notice such unusual sounds when walking on your floors, it could be a sign of termite-infested wood, warranting a professional termite inspection to assess and address the extent of the damage.
Wood Floor Buckling
Wood floors buckling is a potential sign of termite infestation. Termites can damage the wooden subfloor, causing it to warp or swell due to moisture. This can lead to visible buckling or unevenness in the surface of the wood flooring. When you observe such irregularities in your wood floors, it may indicate underlying termite activity, and it's essential to seek professional inspection and treatment to address the infestation and prevent further damage.
A collapsing ceiling can be a severe consequence of long-term termite damage. Termites can weaken the structural integrity of wooden ceiling supports, leading to a collapse when they can no longer support the weight. When a ceiling suddenly collapses, it is a critical and advanced sign of a severe termite infestation. Immediate professional intervention is essential to assess the extent of the damage, eliminate the termites, and repair the structural integrity of the affected area.
4. Mud in Construction Joints
The presence of mud or soil in construction joints is a potential sign of termite activity. Termites, particularly subterranean termites, often use mud to build protective tunnels or tubes that allow them to access wooden structures without exposure to air. These tubes can be found in cracks, gaps, or joints around your home's foundation. When you notice these mud tubes, it's a strong indication of termite infestation, and a professional inspection is crucial to confirm the presence of termites and take appropriate measures for control and prevention.
5. Termite Droppings
Termite Mud tubes
Termite mud tubes are small, pencil-sized tunnels made of mud and subterranean termite droppings. They are a clear sign of termite activity, particularly subterranean termites. These tubes provide protection and moisture as termites travel between their nest and food sources. When you spot these mud tubes on walls, foundations, or other surfaces around your property, it's a strong indicator of a termite infestation, necessitating professional inspection and treatment to address the issue effectively.
Drywood Termite Droppings
Drywood termite droppings, also known as frass, are tiny, pellet-like excrement left behind by drywood termites as they tunnel through wood. These droppings are often a reddish-brown color and can accumulate in small piles near termite galleries or exit holes. When you discover these distinctive pellets, it's a clear sign of drywood termite activity within your wooden structures. Professional inspection and treatment are crucial to address the infestation and prevent further damage.
6. Termite Wings
Discarded termite wings are a sign of termite swarming behavior. Reproductive termites, known as swarmers or alates, shed their wings after mating. These discarded wings are often found in piles near windows, doors, or other entry points. When you see these wings, typically in spring or early summer, it indicates a recent termite swarm nearby. It's a warning sign of a potential termite infestation, and further inspection by a professional is advised to assess and address the issue.
7. Live Termites
A termite swarm is a sudden and coordinated emergence of winged reproductive termites, known as swarmers or alates, from their nests. This event typically occurs in spring or early summer and is a clear sign of an existing termite colony nearby. During a swarm, these winged termites fly in search of mates and new locations to establish colonies. If you witness a termite swarm, it's a strong indicator of an active termite infestation in your vicinity, requiring immediate professional inspection and treatment to address the issue and prevent further damage to your property.
Live Worker Termites
Discovering live termites within or around your property is a direct and conclusive sign of a larger termite infestation. These cream-colored, ant-sized insects are typically found near wooden structures they are feeding on or within their nests. Live termites confirm the active presence of a termite colony, and their discovery should prompt immediate action. Professional pest control experts should be consulted to assess the extent of the infestation and implement effective measures to eliminate the termites and prevent further damage.
8. Noises In The Wall
Termites can produce soft, clicking or rustling noises when they are active within wooden structures. These sounds are often described as faint and intermittent. Hearing such noises, especially at night, can indicate termite activity and should prompt a professional inspection to confirm the presence of termites and address the infestation before further damage occurs.
9. Mold Smells
Moldy or musty smells can be associated with termite infestations. Termites create moisture in their feeding process, which can promote mold growth within the affected wood. If you detect a strong mold-like odor, particularly in areas with visible termite damage or high humidity, it may suggest a termite problem. Professional inspection is necessary to assess the situation, identify the source of the odor, and address both the termite infestation and any related mold issues.
10. Allergies Or Breathing Issues
Experiencing allergic reactions, such as respiratory problems or skin irritations, when in proximity to termites or their droppings can be a sign of termites. Termite infestations can release airborne particles, including termite frass (droppings), that may trigger allergies or respiratory issues in some individuals. If you or others in your household develop unusual allergic symptoms while in or around your property, it could indicate the presence of termites and should prompt a professional termite inspection to confirm the infestation and take appropriate measures for control and prevention.
How Fast Do Termites Eat Wood?
Termites can cause significant damage relatively quickly. Depending on factors like colony size and environmental conditions, termites can begin damaging wood within a few months to several years after establishing an infestation. In some cases, severe damage can occur in as little as six months to a year, making early detection and intervention crucial to prevent extensive harm to structures.
Get Rid Of Termites Today!
You should address a termite problem as soon as it's confirmed. Delaying treatment can lead to further damage and higher repair costs. Prompt action upon discovering termites or signs of infestation is essential to minimize harm to your property. Contact us to schedule an inspection and learn about our termite control options.
Technician was on time, called before arriving- answered all my question and was kind and treated our place with care. I’ll definitely use the service for other properties and will recommend.