Did you know that termites communicate using simple rules? For example, they’ll bang their heads against the walls of their tunnels when they sense danger.
Interesting, right? They’re self-organizing entities with the potential to execute simple orders with precision.
Termite communication is swift and effective because there is no political jockeying or hoarding of information. Every action is for the good of the entire colony.
But where does this perfect organization leave you as the homeowner? Termites are very destructive. If you suspect an infestation, you need to act fast.
Here are 7 signs of termites to look for in your home.
1. Visible Damage to Wood
Does the wood in your home or yard look like it’s been eaten by termites? This is by far the most obvious sign of termite activity on your residential property.
Unfortunately, signs of termite-caused wood damage aren’t always visible, so consider employing sophisticated pest detection technologies such as portable x-ray devices to spot any hidden damage.
Learn more about how to probe termite infestation here.
2. Discarded Wings
This is the first sign of infestation near or in your home. When termites are looking to establish a new colony, male and female termites leave the nest, and their next destination might be your home.
Some species swarm during the daytime, while others at night. Some other species swarm at particular seasons. Your likely unwanted ‘guests’, the dry wood termites, swarm after it rains.
The dry wood termites pair up and crawl into a suitable nesting site. When they’re pairing up, there is a significant chance they’ll drop their wings.
Tiny wings around or in your house are the first sign your ‘guests’ are in your home.
3. Termite Head-Banging and Chewing
Head-banging is one of signs that your home is infested. Not your head though, but the termites’ heads. It is one of the smoke signals used by termites to communicate.
Soldier termites bang their heads against surfaces to signal the queen of danger. This typically happens when their colony is disturbed.
The worker termites responsible for constructing tunnels are the ones who eat your woodwork. They can be quite noisy and you can hear a dry rattling when your house is quiet.
Upbeat vibrations encourage termites to munch your woodwork much faster. This is why they say people say termites love rock music!
4. Termite Droppings
Termite droppings are one of the main indicators of an infestation. Subterranean termites use their feces to build their tunnels.
However, dry wood termites don’t need to use their feces to build the tunnels. In fact, they need to push away their droppings so that they can have a perfect tunnel.
The termites push their feces near any hole along the tunnel to ensure the feces drop. How can you tell it is termite droppings? Look for tiny black marks around the area infested. The other sign is a dark powdery substance on furniture.
5. Hollow-Sounding Woodwork
Worker termites eat wood as they make tunnels. Hence, they can cause structural damage to wood components of your house.
When you tap woodwork that has been infested, it will sound papery. This is because the inside of the timber has been munched and what remains is a tunnel.
When cleaning your house, take heed of any unfamiliar sound produced when you tap woodwork. Deliberately tap on woodwork on occasion to check for potential termite infestation.
Otherwise, one day you will press a finger into a door frame and that finger will go right through the frame. When it gets to this point, the damage may be extensive and dangerous.
6. Distorted Paint
Distorted paint on your wall could be a sign of a termite infestation. Termites need water to survive. However, they will not emerge into open light to look for water since dry air and light harm them.
The termite galleries below the wood surface will be filled with moisture brought by termites. The painted surface above termites habitation my bubble or peel.
This is because any painted surface that has moisture underneath it reacts and becomes distorted. This is why it is important to protect your house from moisture.
Another reason why this paint may peel is because the termites attack the wood from within, leaving a tunnel. The tunnel means there is no hard surface to hold the thin coat of paint, so it eventually peels or cracks.
If there’s a bubble or peel on the paint, look for water leaks.
If you can’t see any leaks, there’s a high chance your house is infested by termites.
7. Mud Tubes on Walls
To protect the king and queen from external dangers such as predators and bad weather, termites construct mud tunnels using their saliva and dirt. These tunnels are used to transport food to the tunnel.
If you start seeing mud tubes on your walls, those are external tunnels that termites use for transportation. This is a strong sign that a colony is established in your home.
Don’t Ignore Warning Signs of Termites
You need to keep the above signs of termites in mind because it will save you money and stress. A bad infestation will wane your home’s woodwork dramatically. This will force you to spend a lot of money on renovations.
Watch out for any of the above signs and be ready to fight back!
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