In the U.S., termites do 5 billion dollars worth of damage to the living investments of American homeowners, more than any other natural threat. When the insects inhabit the wood-based structures of your home, they begin to eat away at parts of the house that are key to its structural integrity, in some cases rendering it worthless.
The threat that termites pose to your living investment is reason enough to become aware of the ways your home may be at risk. If caught early enough in the infestation, you can minimize costly termite damage and potentially save your house.
If you notice some of these major signs where you live, consult a professional for a full inspection of your property; the life of your home may be at risk.
Discarded Wings or Groups of Flying Insects
Usually, you won’t ever actually see the insects destroying your house, but during reproductive seasons some of the termite population takes flight to recolonize. Occurring in the spring for some species, you may see swarms of insects near your home or many discarded wings left over from the group’s relocation. Typically, this signals that there is already a colony active in your home, or that a new colony has begun to move in so it is key to seek a professional inspection as soon as possible.
Hollow Wood or Damaged Paint
Termite damage is often undetectable, at least in its early stages, but there are key signs within the structure of your home that may tip you off. For example, in parts of the house that contain solid wooden structures, you may notice a gradual hollowness building in the wood. Hollow wood sounds different than when it is solid, so taking stock of the pitches in your home’s wooden walls and floors can help detect the appearance of termites before you see any damage. The same is true with cracked or warped paint on wooden parts of your house: when termites eat through wood in your home, they may damage surfaces evident by changes in the integrity of the paint.
Chances are you won’t see the actual damage from termites in your home until the effects are extensive and costly. There is a chance, however, that you’ll notice the appearance of the wood debris that termites leave behind as they burrow through the wooden foundations of the house. This sawdust substance is called frass, and is a sure sign that your next step should be to contact a professional.
Termites typically find their way into your home through small cracks in your foundation and areas where there is contact between wood and ground outside your home. Exterior wooden surfaces will usually exhibit damage first if the insects access your home in this manner, so be watchful of potential signs. Additionally, to supply moisture while they burrow into foundation cracks and holes, many termites form structures called mud tubes, clusters of mud near a crack or other opening on the exterior of your home.
The Key Is Early Detection
If your home exhibits damage from the presence of termites, you probably won’t be able to tell how extensive the damage is and how far it spreads. The best way to protect your home and prevent further damage is to schedule a consultation with a licensed pest control specialist who can analyze and explain the situation and come up with a plan to stop these destructive insects in their path.