Termite infestation is one of the greatest worries a property owner can have because of the devastating structural damage termites can cause.
Termites are social-animals living in organized and structured colonies inside or underground. They are usually found in wooden material like trees, wood logs, or the walls of a house. Termite infestation can take place year-round and poses health, safety, and great financial burden risk.
The financial loss that can be caused by a termite infestation can be astronomical, costing thousands, tens of thousands, or even render a home uninhabitable. Sometimes, the extent of damage can be irreparable. The cost of repair can range from a few hundred dollars into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. DIY treatments are often unfruitful and do not eliminate the problem. Professional pest control companies are the best option for both termite infestation inspection and treatment. Wanting to know if you have a termite infestation without calling out the pros? Read on to know the 5 most common sign that you have a termite infestation at your home.
What is a Termite Infestation?
Termites are considered the most dangerous pests in the World that cause heavy damage to property. Termites live in colonies in the house and infest wooden structures for nesting. They range in size from 1/8 to one-inch long-varying in the body shape and shade depending upon the type. They are often mistaken with other flying insects because of their wings and antennas. Not all termites, but some species can fly. About 2000 species of termites are known to exist in the world. Forty-five species of termites are found in the United States-infesting the both residential and commercial buildings.
Basically all termites fall into three primary categories:
Drywood Termites: As the name indicate they don’t need much moisture, and build their colonies in the dry wood. They don’t need wood to be in contact with moist soil. These termites don’t bite humans but cause structural damage. Drywood termites are common to cause an infestation in the coastal regions:
- Southern California
- South Florida
- Southern Arizona
Subterranean Termites: Subterranean termites are dark black in color with a size of about ¼ to 1/8 inches. They need moisture to build their nest-most often they live underground-where the wood has contact with the mud or soil. Subterranean termites eat paper-based, cellulose-based, and plant-based products. They are the most common type of termite in the United States and are most prevalent in the humid climates of North America.
Formosan Termites: They are also known as super termites-because, they quickly damage and destruct the walls, floors, and foundation of buildings. Formosan termites are aggressive termites and build their nest above ground-localized to the southern part of the US. They depend upon water for their survival and existence, so they cannot go long without water.
How does Termite Infestation Occur?
Wood building material is the main cause for the termite infestation to occur on your property. The ideal food source for termites is the crawl spaces leading to the wooden material. Termites multiply in numbers within few days to such an extent that we call infestation. Even they can spread to 100 feet to all the sides from the center of the area. In general, they need 5-8 years to damage the house.
Termite infestation can occur in two ways:
- Winged termites leave their colonies and mate with the swarmers, land in a new place, shed their wings, and start a new colony. The repetitive procedure of reproduction significantly increases the termites’ colonies leading to infestation.
- While the other termites search for the food-hunt the wood in contact with the moisture-build mud tubes, and develop their colonies. They reproduce at a faster rate to infest your house.
Generally, the following factors become the cause of the termite infestation.
Moisture or Water
Moisture is the first and foremost attractor for the termites-especially for the subterranean termites-because they build their colonies in contact with the moist soil. They are responsible for causing heavy structural loss to the property. Termites get moisture from these sources:
- Standing water in the lawn or near foundations
- Leaking pipes providing water to the soil
- Improper drainage of the home
- Blockage in the roof gutters
- Poor airflow
If you want the termite treatment before their infestation-maintaining water flow and cleaning of standing water are the best options.
Wood In Contact With The Moisture
Wood serves as a bridge between your home and ground-that provides the feasibility to the termites for their action and feeding. The wood in contact with the soil is the best shelter for the subterranean termite to feed and breed. Termite crawl to your home if the wood is in connection from the exterior to your home. If you want to eliminate the breeding places for the termites-opt the following measure:
- Remove stack firewood in connection with the home foundation
- Clean up the mulch and trim the tree limbs touching the wooden structure
- Get rid of stumps, vines, trellises, and overgrown shrubs
Cracks or Crevices In The Building
Any crack or a breach in the home foundation provides space for the termites to get inside. Subterranean species build mud tubes insides the fissures to make their way to the home. Even they use the holes in the concrete to travel to their foraging. Any crack inside the doors and windows allows the swarmer to enter the house and build their colonies.
If you know any of the defects and crack in your house or wooden material-seal it using caulk. Taking these preventive measures saves you from the loss caused by the termite infestation.
Environment And Location
Living in a region susceptible to a termite infestation is a major risk and needs treatment. Some states’ environments support the reproduction of termites-like the San Antonio has humid and warm environments with adequate rainfalls. Termites exist everywhere in the United States except Alaska-you can check the home level risk of infestation due to the environment.
Does Home Insurance Covers Termite Infestation
Stats show termites cost $5 billion to homeowners each year for repair and to control the infestation. The costs of termites damage are not covered by the standard insurance policies-it is considered the responsibility of homeowners to protect their home. Homeowner insurance covers the accidental home damage-if the termite chew the wiring and cause a fire-home insurance company may take a step to minimize the loss.
Can termite Infestation make you sick
Despite the structural loss to the property-good news is-termites are not known to cause any disease in humans. But there is a possibility of allergic reaction and asthma attacks by the frass or dropping of termites in vulnerable people. The heating or ventilation system of the home contributes to the spreading of dust and droppings of termite. But you are not likely to get any serious diseases by the termite infestation.
Signs of Termite Infestation
If you earlier get the signs of termite presence-more it will be feasible to have treatment to control or minimize the loss. Although it is difficult to locate the early signs of the termites-but a meticulous eye can lead you to detect. Here are the five signs that help you to figure out the termite presence.
Blistered or damaged Wood
There could not be a more visible sign than a damaged or hollowed wood to locate the termites. The blisters indicates-termites are feeding inside or underground the floor. The subfloor damaged by the subterranean termites expose the wooden floor.
Termites chew the walls, floors, wooden siding, and many more to make their tunnel to search for food. With time, the wood becomes damaged and hollow with no sound.
The termites leave moisture while making their tunnels-which leads the doors and windows to wrap and stiff to open and close.
More often, the tunnels of termites are not visible from the exterior of the wood. They appear after the wood had been damaged. Various instruments are available in the market to detect the termite galleries and presence without visible signs.
You can knock the damaged area-it sounds hollow or papery-mean the inside is eaten away by the termites. Look for the cracks in the ceilings, corners, roofs, or walls.
Visible Mud Tubes
Subterranean termites are notorious for building mud tubes over the walls. The mud tubes serve as a shelter for the termites and provide a bridge to move from their colony to the wood they eat. Termites build the protection tubes by the dirt, debris, moisture, and soil. These tubes are easy to locate near the foundation of the house- in connection to food sources like a tree or shed. Besides the pencil size mud tubes that are continuous along the walls-you can observe pinholes of mud on the ceilings of sheetrock, wood paneling, and other wall coverings.
You can make a test to detect if the termites are living in the pinholes. Scratch away the mud and observe after few days if it is rebuilt or not. Termites don’t like the outer air or dry environment, so they build the pinholes to repair the accidentally damaged area of their habitat. If the mud area or pinhole is recovered after a few days-it is a sure sign-your house is at the risk of termite infestation-which can be extensive or severe.
Formosan termites don’t eat foam insulation but tunnel through it in search of food. They can even make the shelter tubes in the interior wall or ceiling, soft, or fascia board. The Formosan termite may have built the mud tubes to access the leak ceilings or above-ground moisture source. This could be a sign of serious infestation because the termites have penetrated inside of the house and wooden structure. Professional exterminators start the termite treatment after the identification of mud tubes.
Swarmers are the winged termites responsible for developing the new colonies. They are half-inch long and are of back color. These male and female swarmers mate and increase in number-multiply in our houses. Either in the spring or fall season-swarmer leave their colonies and get to a new place. You can miss the chance of seeing the swarmers because they may come out in the morning or afternoon. When the swarmers mate-they shed their leaves. You can easily find the piles of swarmer wings in your home foundation like window sills or doorframes.
Seeing the swarmer wings don’t need other signs to stamp the presence of termites. Their wings indicate they have mated and developed other colonies to infest your home. That’s the reason most dead bodies of termites are wingless. Termite wings are the early sign of infestation-you must get professional pest control services for the treatment.
Swarmers also build the swarm castles of moisture and mud for their protection. These may be 3 inches wide and built on the roofs and walls. If you observe any of the mud castles in your house-break it and you will see the soldiers coming out for the defense.
Droppings of Wood
Have you ever observed the sawdust or frass in your house? You should worry-because the wooden dropping is the major indicator for the presence of termites eating away the wood. When the drywood termites tunnels through the wood-they tend to keep their tunnels clean. They push away the woods out of their mud tubes which create mounds of pellets. Drywood termite doesn’t use their droppings to make the nest and excrete them from their mud tubes. These fecal mounds, droppings, or frass indicate the presence of termite presence which needs immediate treatment to prevent the house from severe damage.
Damaged Paint or Wallpaper
Although water damage can cause the swelling of the walls and roofs paint. But it may be a sign of the termites’ infestation. Because the termite builds up the mud tubes full of moisture, which causes the paint to sunken up. They eat all the wood paneling and outer cardboard covering of sheetrocks without disturbing the sheetrocks. It leads to the sunken areas or trails in the sheetrocks.
If the termite infestation is severe-you can observe the signs after the removal of old wallpaper. In case if you have any doubt about the termites’ presence in your house-possibly check all the susceptible areas of roofs, walls, wooden material, and lawns for detection of termites.
Observation of hundreds of the termite is a clear indication of severe infestation that needs professional treatment. You should get a professional inspection of your house by the best pest control company to secure your property.
Termites are the social insects-build the structured colonies of various castes. They vary in shape and size depending upon the type-more than 2000 species of termite are known to exist in World. Termite infestation could be of devastating damage for you owing to the great loss to property. If you don’t pay attention to the early signs of termites presence-infestation could be severe-damaging the infrastructure of your property.
Various signs indicate the termite colonies-from the mud tubes to the frass or fecal droppings. You can observe the shed wings of swarmers-it is the sign of early infesting colonies of termites. In case if you observe any sign of termite infestation, call on a professional pest control company for best and expert treatment.