What Are the Warning Signs of Termites in your Home?
Termites are pesky little creatures that can cause significant damage to your home if left unchecked. In fact, they cause over $5 billion in damages each year in the US alone. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t realize they have a termite problem until it’s too late. That’s why it’s essential to know the warning signs of termites in your home. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about identifying termite infestations.
Termites are dangerous pests that have a widespread presence in the United States. They live underground and feast on wood, weakening it over time until part of the wooden structure has been eaten away. If you see termite swarms or if there is a sudden infestation in your home, authorities recommend calling an exterminator immediately. In some cases, homeowners may be able to treat the infestation on their own, but it is always best to consult with a professional.
What Are Termites?
Before we dive into the warning signs of termites, let’s first understand what they are. Termites are small, wood-eating insects that live in large colonies. They are often referred to as “silent destroyers” because they can cause extensive damage to wooden structures without being detected.
Do you Often See Small Piles of Sawdust on the Ground or in your Home’s Crawl Space?
You probably have carpenter bees. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about these huge nuisance pests.
The first step is identifying the source of the sawdust, which is typically found on windowsills, doorsills, decks, or siding.
Carpenter bees can’t sting you unless they’re squeezed between your fingers or trapped in clothing.
If you’re seeing a lot of sawdust, and you’re pretty sure it’s from carpenter bees, the next step is to try to determine whether the bees are active. You can do this by looking for their nests. Nests are round, about the size of a grapefruit or softball, and made of chewed-up wood. They often are located in eaves, gables, porch ceilings, or tree limbs that overhang a house.
If you can’t find the nests, the next step is to watch and see if the bees are active. Carpenter bees typically fly around from morning to afternoon. If you’re not sure whether they’re active, try this: Tape a piece of white paper to the outside wall near where you’ve seen piles of sawdust. The bees will land on the paper and you’ll be able to see them (wing stripes vary).
If they look like large, hairy bumblebees, that’s likely carpenter bees. If stings are a concern, protect your face.
If they’re active, the next step is to try to find their nests. Sometimes the bees will be flying in and out of a hole that’s about the size of an adult thumb. Other times you may see them flying around porch lights or screens. Some nests are more obvious than others, but many of them are concealed deep inside the wood.
Once you’ve found the nest, you can treat it with a product like Raid Carpenter Bee & Wasp Killer.
If the bees are inactive, you can try to seal up their holes with caulk or some other sealant. This will stop new bees from entering, but it won’t get rid of the ones already in your home or deck.
As for how to prevent carpenter bees, the best thing is to prevent them from getting inside in the first place. Keep your eaves clean and free of debris so they don’t hide in there. And if you have dead trees or other structural items hanging over your house, trim them back so carpenter bees can’t get into them.
Carpenter bees can be a big problem, but they’re fairly easy to identify, at least the ones that are seen flying around.
Termites are social insects that feed on wood and other cellulose-containing materials. They are commonly known as “silent destroyers” as they can cause extensive damage to your home without you even realizing it. There are three main types of termites: subterranean termites, dry-wood termites, and damp-wood termites. Subterranean termites are the most common type and can be found in every state in the US, except for Alaska.
Signs of Termite Infestation
Termites can cause significant damage to your home if left untreated. Unfortunately, they can be difficult to detect, as they often live in hidden areas such as behind walls and in the foundation of your home. However, there are a few warning signs to look out for that may indicate a termite infestation.
Hollow-sounding wood: If you tap on wood surfaces in your home and they sound hollow, it may be a sign that termites have been feeding on the wood from the inside out.
- Buckling wood or swollen floors and ceilings: Termites can cause wood to become distorted or warped, leading to floors and ceilings that appear to be buckling or swollen.
- Mud tubes on the exterior of your home: Termites build mud tubes to travel between their nests and food sources. If you see mud tubes on the exterior of your home, it is a sign of a termite infestation.
- Discarded termite wings: After termites swarm and mate, they shed their wings. If you find discarded wings near windows, doors, or other entry points to your home, it may be a sign of a termite infestation.
- Clicking sounds coming from walls: Soldier termites will bang their heads against the wood in your walls to signal danger to the rest of the colony. If you hear clicking or tapping sounds coming from your walls, it may be a sign of a termite infestation.
Preventing Termite Infestations
Preventing termite infestations is key to keeping your home safe from termites. Here are some ways to prevent termites from entering your home:
Termites thrive in moist environments. Fix any leaks in your home, and ensure that your gutters are working correctly to direct water away from your home’s foundation.
Seal Cracks and Crevices
Termites can enter your home through even the tiniest of cracks and crevices. Seal any openings in your home’s foundation and around windows and doors.
Remove Wood Debris
Wood debris, such as dead trees or stumps, can attract termites to your home. Remove any wood debris from your property to prevent termites from being attracted to your home.
Use Treated Wood
When building or renovating your home, use pressure-treated wood. This type of wood is treated with chemicals that make it resistant to termites.
How to Get Rid of Termites Indoors
If you have a termite infestation in your home, here are some methods you can use to get rid of them:
Liquid termiticides are chemicals that are applied to the soil around your home’s foundation. They create a barrier that termites cannot cross, preventing them from entering your home. Liquid termiticides are usually applied by professional exterminators.
Termite baits are an alternative to liquid termiticides. These baits contain chemicals that are harmful to termites. They are placed in the ground around your home, and termites will feed on them and bring the chemicals back to their colony, killing off the entire colony.
Fumigation is a more drastic measure that is used when other methods have failed. Your home is covered with a tent, and a fumigant is released, killing off all the termites in your home.
Heat treatment involves heating your home to a temperature that is lethal to termites. This method is typically used in conjunction with other treatments and is effective in killing off termite colonies.
Termites can cause severe damage to your home if left untreated. If you suspect that you have a termite infestation, it’s essential to act quickly and use the appropriate methods to get rid of them. Preventing termite infestations is key to keeping your home safe from termites.
- How do I know if I have a termite infestation?
Signs of a termite infestation include hollow-sounding wood, buckling wood or swollen floors and ceilings, mud tubes on the exterior of your home, discarded termite wings, and clicking sounds coming from walls.
- Can I get rid of termites myself?
While there are do-it-yourself termite treatments available, it is recommended to hire a professional exterminator to ensure the infestation is completely eradicated.
- How long does it take to get rid of termites?
The length of time it takes to get rid of termites depends on the severity of the infestation and the treatment method used. It can take anywhere from a few days to several months.
- Can I prevent termite infestations?
Yes, there are several preventative measures you can take, including eliminating moisture, sealing cracks and crevices, removing wood debris, and using treated wood when building or renovating your home.
- How often should I have my home inspected for termites?
It is recommended to have your home inspected for termites at least once a year, especially if you live in an area prone to termite infestations.