They typically emerge when the ground thaws, entering your structure through cracks in the foundation. Termites are often referred to as ‘silent invaders’. According to the National Pest Management Association, these wood destroying insects are responsible for $5 Billion worth of damage per year! Homeowners may unknowingly have termites eating away inside the walls of their home doing damage to their largest investment.
Subtle Signs Termites Have Invaded
Be aware that the absence of these signs does not guarantee that you don’t have termites. Look out for these termite warning signs around your home:
- You see swarms of insects inside your home. A reproductive termite swarm happens when large numbers of winged termites emerge from the ground. This typically happens on a warm day in the spring or early summer. These reproductive termites are looking to pair up, reproduce and develop their own colony. You may not see the actual swarm happen, they occur quickly, but, finding a pile of wings usually in the basement during the spring time, may indicate that a termite colony is present in your home. A swarm is a telltale sign that termites are present and you should contact a pest management professional. If possible, capture some of those swarmers or their wings in a glass jar to show to the pest management professional so they can make a positive identification of the insect. And please do not apply any chemicals or insecticides. This may cause the termites to move into different areas of the house.
- Evidence of termite activity turns up during a real estate transaction. Whether you are buying or selling a home an inspection is typically conducted and may uncover termite damage. The buyer typically wants to know if termites are active or inactive. Note that this is just not that easy to determine and may, in fact, be impossible. Termites can live inside the walls of your home. It is not feasible to inspect the frame of an entire home and claim it to be ‘termite free’. But, evidence of termites is also not a reason to walk away from a transaction unless the damage is extensive. When treated properly by a pest management professional, termites can be controlled and your property can be protected.
- Termites are uncovered during a home renovation project. Sometimes homeowners are in the midst of a remodel when termite damage is discovered. Termites may be living and feeding inside the walls or foundation. This can be quite distressing as damage may be significant, homeowners were probably completely unaware of the problem and reconstruction costs can be significant. Again, when the problem is addressed by a professional pest management company they can work to address the problem, correct the damage and protect your structure into the future.
- You discover hollowed out wood around your home. While inspecting your home or doing routine maintenance you discover a wooden section that when tapped on sounds ‘hollowed out’. Since termites eat wood from the inside out this finding should be further investigated as possible termite damage. If it is determined that termites were to blame, the wood will need to be replaced and a termite treatment by a pest management professional should be completed. After termites are discovered on a property, ask about installing termite monitors around the perimeter of your home to alert you to further termite activity.
- Mud tunnels or tubes about the size of the width of a pencil are visible along interior or exterior walls. Termite tunnels are built to allow the insects to travel from their nest to their food source (typically the wood in and around your home) in a protected environment.
Being told that you have termites can be quite unsettling, chances are you didn’t realize that the problem existed. A termite infestation is not a problem that should be ignored as damage can occur quickly and repair costs can be significant. Termite problems are not a do-it-yourself project; a pest management professional should be contacted who can treat the structure with one (or more) of the numerous methods available to them today, including:
- Structural Modification
- Baits and Monitors
Remember, termites are typically hidden inside the walls of a structure and simply looking inside the walls periodically to confirm they are gone is not practical. If your home has been invaded by termites an ongoing plan to control them and to control future infestations is in order to protect your largest investment, your home.