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Signs you may have termites

As a home or business owner, you should be aware of the risk of termites to your property, especially because termite damage is not covered by most home insurance policies. Statistically speaking, your property is far more likely to be damaged by termites than by fire. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), termites cost Americans more than $5 billion in damage annually. Just about every property in the U.S is at risk of termites.

Early detection of termites can help to minimize the cost of repairs. At Ehrlich, we know how different types of termites operate and after an inspection, can offer methods to not only get rid of them, but prevent them from coming back.

There are several signs of termites that you might have these unwanted guests living in your home. Dr. Nancy Troyano goes over five signs of termites in our video and we’ve added two bonus signs at the end of the list!

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Are you seeing signs of termites? Contact us now

1. Swarmers (flying termites )

Swarmers are usually one of the first signs of a termite infestation. Swarmers are winged termites that emerge from nests in large groups. These flying termites are the males and females that have left the nest to find a suitable mate — which could be near or in your home.

Some species swarm at night and are attracted to light sources. Other species will swarm in daylight, but all drywood termites tend to swarm after rain at particular times of the year.

Read more about these winged termites in our article "Flying termites could mean serious trouble."

2. Discarded wings

Discarded wings that are left behind are another visible sign of a termite problem. After swarmers take flight, they shed their wings. If you have a termite infestation, you may find these piles of wings around your property’s foundation, inside or outside of the home.

3. Hollow or blistering wood

Blistering or hollow-sounding wood can also be a sign of termite activity. Termites usually consume wood from the inside out, leaving a thin veneer of timber or just the paint. When you knock or tap on an area that has termite damage, it will sound hollow or papery. This is because part or all of the timber inside has been eaten away. You may also see unexplained cracks on internal walls. As termites consume cellulose found in timber within walls, the visible cracks could be a sign of termite activity inside. Eating and tunneling through door and window frames can also cause the wood to warp, making it tough to open doors and windows.

Wooden ceilings, beams, architraves and rafters in attics are just as much at risk of termite damage as wooden structures located nearer ground level. Look for cracks on ceilings and cornices.

Termites can also damage laminate flooring and even baseboards. Affected flooring may blister and sag in certain areas and checking underneath the flooring may help to uncover termite activity. You can also check if your floor feels more spongy and perhaps springs more than usual.

Termite damage on wooden post

4. Frass

A key sign of termites, particularly drywood termites, is frass. Frass is wood-colored dry wood termite droppings and can be confused with sawdust by the untrained eye. This indicator of an infestation is something checked for during termite inspections. Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites don’t use their feces to build their tunnels. Instead, they push it out of small holes near the entrances to their nest. This results in small black marks and a dark powdery substance around the area they are infesting.

A pile of frass around the base of a garage door.

5. Mud tubes

Mud tubes are the most common sign of subterranean termite activity. Mud tubes are used to travel between the soil and a food source. They are attached to structures, typically near the foundation.

Mud tubes act as protection for termites and are commonly found near the foundations of your home. They are easy to spot with the naked eye. Subterranean termite species typically build these tubes, made of soil and termite droppings, to provide moisture for them. Avoid attracting termites by eliminating moisture-rich environments, and storing firewood, mulch and wood chips away from the home.

6. Tight fitting doors and hard-to-open windows

Often related to signs of damp and hot weather, stiff windows and warped doors can also mean termites. The moisture they produce when eating and tunneling through door and window frames causes the wood to warp, making it tough to open doors and windows.

7. Head banging or chewing noises

Another sign of termites is quiet clicking sounds coming from the walls. Soldier termites bang their heads against the wood or shake their bodies when the colony is disturbed to signal danger to the other termites. Termites are sensitive creatures and can detect vibrations and noises using several organs which are found at the base of their antennae and on the tibia (one of the segments of the leg).

The worker termites, the ones who love eating your woodwork, are noisy eaters. If you put your ear close to any wood infested by termites you can hear them munching away.

Worried about termite damage?

Ehrlich’s technicians are experts in spotting the signs of termites around your home and have technology to detect them even when there are no visible signs.

Since most insurance policies do not cover termite damage, it is a good idea to have a regular professional inspection to detect termite infestation as early as possible and minimize the risk of costly damage to your property. If termite activity is found, Ehrlich technicians can provide you with recommendations for the suitable treatments available for your property. Contact us for more information and set up a free inspection today if you think you might have a termite problem.

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