What Does Termite Damage Look Like?
If you have termites, you may notice:
- Mud Tubes. Subterranean termites nest underground. They need a warmer, more humid environment, so they create tubes, or tunnels, that block cool, dry air and lead them to their food source - your house. You’ll see these tubes, which are about the size of a pencil where the ground meets your foundation.
- Blistering in Wood Floors. These subterranean pests can also damage your subfloor. Your floor will look like it has water damage, and you’ll see blisters on the surface. You may also notice that your floors and/or ceilings look swollen.
- A Moldy Odor. Subterranean termites emit an odor that is similar to mold and mildew.
- Droppings. Drywood termites prefer to nest directly in their food source. They eat through the wood and keep their tunnels clean by building little holes into which they remove their droppings. Their excrement looks like sawdust or coffee grounds.
- Visible Maze-Like Tunnels. When a termite infestation is severe, you will start to see cracks in the wood veneer and network of tunnels. If the tunnels appear erratic, smooth and contain evidence of droppings, it’s likely drywood termites, which eat across grains. If the pattern is more “neat” and there is mud or dirt evident, it’s likely subterranean termites.
- Hollowed Wood. As termites chew through the wood, they leave long grooves. These weaken the wood and cause structural issues. You may hear a hollow sound if you tap on the surface, and you may be able to see a honeycomb pattern.
- Discarded Wings. Termites will swarm to mate and establish a new colony. They won’t need their wings anymore, so they twist them off. You may find them near doors, windows, and other access points.
Tips for Termite Prevention
Termites can eat a path of destruction through your home, costing you thousands of dollars. To prevent infestations:
- Make sure shrubbery is planted at least 12 inches from the exterior walls of your home. This makes it less hospitable for subterranean termites, and you’ll be able to notice mud tubes earlier.
- Replace mulch with pine needles, pea gravel, or a non-organic alternative. This will deter termites and other pests, like ants.
- Limit moisture around your home. The pine needles, gravel, or non-organic covering will help dry out the area and be sure your sprinklers don’t point at your foundation.
- Remove firewood, lumber, leaves, and other organic debris away from the exterior walls of your home. You want to limit the cozy nesting spots for termites as much as possible.
- If you have a crawl space, make sure it is properly ventilated. Your pest control service can also apply a vapor barrier to minimize moisture.
If you are seeing signs of termite damage or you want to prevent these pests from invading your home, contact the Rid-a-Bug team. As we like to say, “When we appear, bugs disappear.”