PUBLISHED ON January 27th, 2012
Winter is here, and for many homes that means a short break from seasonal pests. However, although termites do tend to move underground in winter, they can remain a year-round residential pest control problem, especially in milder climates. To compound matters, they are also very good at keeping out of sight – at least until an infestation grows to the point that you take notice.
If you can spot an infestation early on – or signs that one may be brewing – you can bring in your local pest control company to perform a home pest inspection and curb the problem before significant damage is done to your home. Here are 10 warning signs that signal you might have a termite problem:
1. Flyers. Flying termites that are attracted to the exterior lights around your house could be from a nearby outdoor nest, and not necessarily from inside your home. But if you see these flyers frequently, or regularly find termite wings around your home, you should play it safe by having a professional conduct a home pest inspection.
2. Shelters. If you notice mud tunnels or termite holes – pencil width – on or around the foundation and grounds of your home, contact your local pest control company for advice. A larger mud nest on a tree near your home is also something to keep an eye on. Just because the termites haven’t moved indoors yet doesn’t mean they won’t.
3. Remains. In addition to termite wings, if you find termite carcasses in cobwebs or window cracks inside your home, take note. Termites also leave sand-size droppings, which are noticeable if they collect in one main area (usually near the wood they are harvesting). Any of these signs requires taking prompt residential pest control action.
4. Excess dirt or water. Most termite species need lots of water to survive and stay moist. This is why they enjoy the ground and other cooler, wetter areas of your home or yard. If you see water stains on your walls, or water or dirt on the floor of your basement, consider a home pest inspection.
5. Outdoor sightings. Damaged trees with termite holes in them are a sure sign of a nearby colony. You will need to keep your residential pest control senses on high alert if you see such damage. Also, look for mud tunnels on any damp ground around your house.
6. Window and door cracks. Cracks and seams on window seals and doors are areas where termites can enter your house with ease. Seek out your local pest control company for advice on how to defend these areas effectively. Spot treatment may not be effective, depending on the species of termite.
7. Indoor sightings: More often than not, sightings of termites indoors mean you have an infestation or a nest nearby. A few scouts or stragglers may wander in, but it is not uncommon for entire colonies to set up shop in your home before you’ve seen your first termite indoors. Any sighting of a live specimen should result in an immediate home pest inspection.
8. Hollow wood. If you suspect termites in your home based on sightings of them, go around your home and knock on the main wood beams and boards. A hollow sound might indicate termites eating away at your home from the inside out. Immediately contact a pest control professional if this is the case.
9. Exterior wood damage. If you encounter wood that is damaged on the surface, then you could have a very drastic termite infestation on your hands. Signs to look for include cracks and fissures in large wood beams, and small holes and shredded areas along floor boards and ceilings. The value of your home is at stake, which is why quick residential pest control action is essential.
10. Swarms. Possibly the worst sign of a termite infestation is when you see flash swarms in your home. By this point, the time for nipping the problem in the bud is past. Swarms can happen suddenly and unexpectedly, pouring out of the cracks of your walls and floors – reminiscent of a scene from a horror film. Any swarming, even a small swarm, is a sure sign that you have a termite infestation.
In conclusion, you can prevent termites from spreading in or near your home by looking out for the early warning signs mentioned above. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call your local pest control company and schedule a home pest inspection.