Nobody wants them. Unfortunately, countless homes and businesses get infestations of them every year: termites. These small insects usually start to swarm in early spring as the weather warms up, and by the end of the year, they cause billions of dollars in structural damage across the United States.
It’s a smart idea to inspect your property periodically for signs of termite damage. After all, what starts as a small infestation can grow into a major problem, resulting in significant property damage and unsafe living conditions.
What Does a Termite Infestation Look Like
- You see swarms of termites, which are often confused for flying ants
- You see "white ants" which are actually termites
- You find tunnels in the wood of your home
- You hear clicking sounds in your walls
- You find termite droppings, also known as frass
- You notice your windows and doors are warped
- You find mud tubes around your property
What Causes Termites to Swarm?
Termites swarm for the purpose of leaving their current nest, mating, and starting another termite colony somewhere new (your home, for instance). Discarded wings are another sign that swarmers have visited your neck of the woods. However, don't mistake flying ants for swarming termites!
How Can I Tell the Difference Between a Flying Ant and a Termite?
- Wing shape: Both flying ants and swarmers have a set of front wings and hind wings. However, an ant’s front wings are longer than their hind wings, whereas a termite’s front wings and hind wings will be roughly the same length.
- Antennae shape: An ant’s antennae bend at about a ninety-degree angle, whereas a termite’s antennae will be relatively straight or droop slightly.
Are White Ants and Termites the Same Thing?
Ants come in a variety of colors, but white is not one of them. If you see yellowish, milky-white ants, it’s time to call for pest control because “white ants” are actually termites one hundred percent of the time. Another telltale sign will be the bug’s “waistline.” Compared to termites, ants have a much thinner waist section.
How Do Termites Damage Wood?
As termites eat the cellulose in wood, they form grooves and tunnels (also called “galleries”) inside it. As a result, the wood becomes hollow and weak, and unfortunately, you won’t always be able to tell just by looking at it. If there is exposed wood on your property, you can inspect it by pressing and tapping on it to check for hollow-sounding spots, especially if the wood looks weathered or cracked anywhere.
What Kind of Noise Do Termites Make?
Termites are voracious chewers. Once they start eating their way through a piece of wood, they will keep going. The faint clicking sound you hear coming from your walls is the sound of them chewing.
You might also be hearing the sound of “headbanging.” Termite soldiers will smack their heads repeatedly against the wood they’re standing on if they suspect danger is nearby. This banging sound serves as an alarm to the rest of the colony.
What is Termite Frass?
Just like any other creature, termites create droppings. They also like to keep things tidy inside their galleries. To do this, they make holes in the wood and push out their excrement (frass), which ends up forming what looks like little piles of sawdust or coffee grounds.
How Do Termites Warp Doors & Windows?
While heat and humidity make windows stiff and doors harder to open, a termite infestation can worsen the problem. As termites chew through window frames and door frames, they produce moisture. This moisture can warp those frames in a similar manner to extreme humidity.
Do Termites Always Have Mud Tubes?
Subterranean termites create mud tubes to protect themselves from predators and prevent dehydration as they travel from their colony underground to their above-ground food source. They build these tunnels out of their saliva and a combination of wood and dirt. If you find mud tubes around your house’s foundation, you can bet that termites are using these little highways to access your home for food.
Have you noticed signs of termites? Our experts at Sage Pest Control are ready to help! Give us a call at (704) 413-3398 today for an inspection and free quote.