Palmetto Homeowners' Termite Activity Identification Guide
Do you have termites in your home? Would you know it if you did? The signs of a termite infestation are subtle and difficult to see. Even if you know what to look for, you can still miss them. But it is still important to know what signs to look for and where to look for them if you want to protect your home from the damage termites can do. Subterranean termites are a multi-billion dollar problem in the United States, and the most destructive species of subterranean termites live right here in Florida. Here are three steps to help you detect termite activity.
Step 1: Knowing What To Look For
Swarmers — When subterranean termites get into a home, they stay almost entirely out of sight. This is because the worker termites, and the soldiers that protect them, stay inside the tunnels they create in wood. You're not going to see workers or soldiers crawling on your walls. You may see winged termites (called swarmers) but winged termites are released from the nest, which is often a distance away from the structure the termites are feeding on. If you see swarmers on the outside of your home, it is important to understand that they are a warning sign of an active and mature colony on your property. Termite swarmers are black with long white wings that stack on top of each other and are rounded at the tips.
Tubes — Worker termites sometimes create shelter tubes out of soil and moisture. These tubes may also be called mud tubes because that is essentially what they are. Mud tubes will be the color of the soil around your home, and they may only be as wide as the width of a pencil. Termite workers make these tubes to protect themselves from the drying effects of the air. Inside their tubes, it is nice and humid, just the way workers termites like it.
Damage — You might see damage caused by termites. If termites feed up to the surface of structural timber, you might see it begin to have a honeycomb appearance. If you do some home renovations, you may open up a network of termite tunneling in a piece of wood. This tunneling will look like trenches stacked on top of each other.
Step 2: Knowing What To Listen For
When subterranean termites feed on wood, the inside of the wood becomes hollow. If you tap on a timber that has termite tunnels inside, it may have a hollow sound to it.
On rare occasions, termites can be heard. If there are many termites in a small area and there is a threat, such as an ant attack, you might hear a very subtle rustling sound. That sound is the sound of thousands of termites tapping their heads on tunnel walls to warn each other of the danger.
Step 3: Knowing Where To Look and Listen
There are two things that termites love. Use these as a guide for where you should look for the warning signs above.
Moisture — If you want to see shelter tubes or termite damage, you need to look in damp places around your home and humid places inside your home. Workers do not like to expose themselves to dry air.
Darkness — Worker termites hate the light. This causes them to create shelter tubes and do damage in locations that are dark. If you want to detect termites, you're probably going to have to get into some tough places to look for them.
What To Do About Termites
It is not a good idea to wait till you see termite activity, your home is always at risk for termite damage. It is best to be proactive. Get termite protection in place around your home and safeguard your investment from damage that could impact your retirement and your savings account. For assistance with this, reach out to us. Our certified termite control specialists are here to help.