Because this is the time of year when termites in the U.S. become most active, let’s take a look at how to spot them. You should also know that termite eradication is NOT a do-it-yourself project. This problem, if you have it, calls for professional help.
But, there is one extremely important thing you can do. By knowing the common signs of termite infestation, you can be on the lookout and identify the problem early. Calling in the exterminators sooner, rather than later, can save you plenty of money and prevent untold damage to your home.
Two kinds of termites
Termites that live in the U.S. come in two varieties, subterranean and dry wood. Subterranean pests live in the soil and devour homes in 49 states. Alaska is just too cold for the little wood-eaters. Dry wood termites tend to stick to the warmer states. Both types love to get busy during the springtime, but can do their damage year-round.
What to look for
There are plenty of warning signs that you might have termites crawling around in the foundation, or walls of your home. One expert boiled the clues down to five key categories. Keep them in mind as you do a regular, visual inspection of your home each week.
Taking a half-hour each Saturday or Sunday afternoon to eyeball your home is a productive way to spend your time. You could catch many problems, not just potential termite damage, in the early stages and thus be ahead of the game.
The 5 Signs of Termites
- Wood surfaces that sound hollow when you tap on them:
Termites love to stay below the surface, so it’s easy to miss their handiwork at first. Tap on baseboards and other areas where you have direct access to your home’s foundation.
- Discarded wings or swarms of termites:
This is a sure sign that trouble is afoot. Even if you only notice a few discarded wings near your home’s foundation, it’s a major warning sign of possible termite trouble.
- Odd-looking or distorted paint surfaces:
When termites strike, they prefer to do their eating underneath the surface of wood. It’s more moist and dark down there. Often, their game is given up by swirl pattern on paint or odd-looking, warped surfaces on otherwise healthy wood.
- Walls covered in mud tubes:
Termites typically build tiny mud tubes on the surface of the area where they are active. Be on the lookout for these tiny, telltale clues of termite activity.
- Termite-dropping, technically known as frass:
You might not see any termites at all but notice a strange looking trail of droppings that resemble tiny strips of wood. Such droppings come from active, wood-eating termites and are called frass. If you see it, you almost certainly have an infestation about to occur or already in progress.
Prevention is the best policy
Keep your eyes peeled for any sign of termite presence. If you even suspect that the world’s busiest home-eaters are around, call a professional in to do an assessment. It doesn’t cost much to have your home inspected for termite activity. And, if you do have termites, you’ll be catching them before they do more significant damage. When it comes to protecting your home, prevention is always a wise policy.