How Do I Know If I Have Termites?
Termites are among the most destructive pests that Texans face. Each year, termites cause roughly $30 billion dollars in damage to crops and manmade structures.
In areas like ours here in Texas where termites flourish, few homeowners go unscathed. These pesky little critters have an awful habit of showing up at the most inopportune times.
And they are about as welcome as a skunk at a lawn party.
Read on to find out how you can keep an eye out for termites and how to protect your homestead from the ravages of severe termite damage.
What Are Termites?
You’d only be asking this question if you’re new to these here parts. The short answer is that these are incredibly tiny creatures that can cause a serious amount of damage to your home or business.
How big are termites? Only between ¼ inch to ½ inch long. But what they lack in size, they make up for in number. A termite colony can easily house between 60,000 and 1 million termite individuals. If you spot termites on your property, you don’t want to let their numbers multiply.
And what’s worse is these little, soft-bodied critters never sleep. Nope. They spend their entire lives running around and chewing, chewing, chewing on anything they can find with cellulose. If that happens to be the wood in your home, you’ll be looking at an expensive repair bill if you don’t catch them early.
So, it’s 112 times better for you to catch them in a New York minute.
How to Check for Termites?
Termites like to hide. Subterranean termites live in underground colonies but build mud tubes to commute to your home. Drywood termites burrow into your walls and rarely poke their ugly heads out to be seen.
This is why the damage can often be extensive by the time you discover termites in your home or business. Though termites don’t show themselves often, the signs of their passing are a little more obvious.
Keep your eyes always peeled for these signs of termites:
1. Termites with Wings
As termite colonies mature, they produce a special type of termite that is more worrisome than the average soldier. These termites are capable of reproducing — and they have wings.
Typically, in early spring, these termites swarm out of the nest and go out into the world to start their own colonies. The problem is that they don’t go far and usually start a new colony right there on your property. The swarm only lasts for a short period so you can easily miss it. But piles of shed wings lying around are a sure sign that one happened.
2. Termite Droppings
Termites are so small you’d think that seeing termite droppings would be nearly impossible. But since they are constantly eating, they are constantly pushing refuse out behind them.
Subterranean termites use their droppings to help build their mud tunnels so it’s not common to see them. But drywood termites leave droppings called frass lying in plain sight — we have a whole passel of these kinds of termites here in Texas.
Termite frass looks like tiny piles of wood dust and can be found anywhere near termite activity. Watch for it around windows and doors where termites have easier access.
3. Stuck Windows or Doors
Here’s one that might seem a little “out there.” If a window or door suddenly starts sticking in its jamb, termites could be to blame. As termites burrow through the wood and cause damage, that wood can warp and no longer fit properly.
Of course, there are plenty of other causes for stuck windows and doors, but if this happens, take a closer look for a possible termite infestation.
4. Noises in the Night
Remember that termites don’t sleep? They literally live to eat and spend all their time chewing.
To hear one tiny termite chewing is probably impossible. But thousands of them together? That can make quite a ruckus. Plus, termites can communicate through vibrations and noises. They’ll sometimes bang their heads against the walls or shake their bodies to communicate an alarm to their fellow colonials.
It’s easier to hear these noises at night when your home is quiet. You can try putting your ear up to a wall where you suspect termite activity. You might be surprised (and horrified) by what you hear!
5. Wall Damage
Spotting external damage caused by termites is like trying to bag flies, it ain’t easy. Most termite damage happens inside your walls, which is why a lot of infestations don’t get discovered until the homeowner opens up the walls during a remodeling project.
However, there are tiny signs of termites in the walls that you can watch for.
They burrow mostly through the wood, but they still need exit holes. These holes are minuscule, like a pinhole. Sometimes they can even make these holes without disturbing the paint on top.
However, if you notice that your paint or wallpaper is peeling, take a closer look. It could be moisture problems, but if you see these pinholes, you could actually have a termite problem.
Who Do You Call When Termites Are in Your House?
Once a termite colony establishes itself, it doesn’t take long for them to cause major damage. Thankfully, termites don’t travel far, so the damage is usually limited to a specific area in your house — until they start sending out swarmers.
If you spot swarmers, this generally means you have multiple colonies and you gotta get going like a house afire to take care of the problem. Neglecting the signs of termites could easily cost you several thousand dollars’ worth of structural damage to your home.
Here at Buckaroo Pest Protection, we specialize in keeping your home and family safe from threats like this. We use as few chemicals as possible because we don’t believe you should trade one threat for another.
For established colonies, we have the knowledge and equipment to find and destroy termites for good. And we have very effective methods to protect your home from future invasions.
Ready to get rid of your termite problem? Give us a holler, we’re always happy to help!