As a homeowner, you may occasional find yourself worrying about the value of your home. While insurance can help against the damages of floods, fire, earthquakes, and all other manner of disasters, it never hurts to be prepared for anything that may harm your home’s value. Pests can be quite a nuisance, with termites standing near the top of that particular totem pole and causing around $5 billion in damage to American homes. If you believe that your home has become a meal/residence for termites, there are several things to check for confirmation.
Signs of a Termite Infestation
It should first be noted that there is more than one strain of termite in the United States; subterranean termites that build their colonies within soil and drywood termites that live entirely within wood. While knowing which kind is affecting your home is not that important, a termite inspection held by a trained professional in termite control can help to decide proper treatment.
- Wood that sounds hollow but shouldn’t be. Regardless of the species involved, termites prefer damp, dark areas. This preference means that any feeding done by the insects will come from where humans aren’t likely to notice them. Hollow wood may be a sign that termites have been eating the material from within.
- “Swarmers” or leftover wings. Swarmers are winged termites that fly to establish colonies. Subterranean swarmers will usually act in the spring, while drywood versions are more erratic. Finding a swarm of insects or piles of small, abandoned wings, is a red flag to call your local pest control company.
- Cracked or damaged paint on wooden surfaces. As drywood swarmers can fit into incredibly narrow slots, it is a good idea to seal off any cracks around your foundation, vents, windows, etc.
- Mud tubes along outside walls. A telltale sign of the presence of subterranean termites is tube-like structures made from mud. These tubes give them a source of moisture while they hunt for food. Storing wood and mulch away from your home is a great way to avoid giving termites the opportunity to set up shop.
- Finding “frass.” As drywood termites devour wood, they leave droppings, known as frass. By clearing gutters, crawlspaces, and other similar areas free of clutter and cellulose, you can make sure that these xylovorous insects will find no food to merit the establishment of a colony.