Few pests are quite as destructive as the dreaded termite. While rodents, ants or spiders make their presence known through easily identifiable droppings, holes or webs, termites are often a silent, hidden menace wreaking havoc on your home right under your nose. You may not even find the colony until it’s too late and you have a full-blown infestation on your hands. However, it’s possible to track down termites if you know what to look for. They often leave subtle clues behind that could be used to track down and eliminate the colony before it becomes a major problem in your home. Keep an eye out for these signs of an infestation to minimize damage to your home and property.
Termite Tunnels or Tubes
Termites certainly don’t enter your home via the front door. Typically, these off-white pests bore a tunnel or take advantage of a crack to get into your house from the yard or foundation. Once they’ve found a suitable crack or tunnel, termites mix mud, saliva and feces together to create a clay-like material used to cover the tunnels or cracks and seal them off from the outdoors. This clay dries hard and protects their tunnels from heat, light and predators. Shelter tubes, as they’re called, appear brown in color and often span multiple barriers and materials, allowing termites to enter your home effortlessly. For example, a termite colony may construct a shelter tube that leads from brick to concrete foundation, and from foundation to drywall.
If you notice some brown, gritty, branching cracks in your drywall or foundation, you may have an infestation. The size of the shelter tubes can also inform you of the severity of the infestation. Shelter tubes are the termites’ highway system through your house, and termites use them to transport soldiers, workers and food to the colony. If the shelter tube you find is narrow, it is likely used to transport individual termites. If the tube is significantly wider, though, it is probably both a worker highway and a food storage area, which means the colony headquarters may be close by.
Other pests carry diseases and pose health risks to you and your family. Termites, on the other hand, can be an unhealthy addition to your household as well as a structural concern once they make their home in your walls and floors.
As termites eat away at the framing and drywall of your house, stability could become an issue. If you begin to notice your walls and floors are bowing out, buckling, cracking or loosening without any apparent water damage or other cause, you may want to begin investigating the possibility of a termite infestation. The more the insects eat, the weaker your home’s structure becomes, placing anyone inside at risk of injury if any section of your house collapses suddenly.
Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort and Indianapolis have no shortage of beautiful historic homes, but as these cities grow, many are being replaced by new, modern constructions. You may expect squeaks, creaks and groans when you live in an older home, but if you hear noises in your relatively new house, it’s time to do some sleuthing.
If your home suddenly has hollow sounding walls or floors, or if the floors begin to creak, these could be signs of a termite infestation. When termites consume the framing of your home, they weaken the structure. With continued normal use, the weight and tension of daily activity can cause the remaining material to strain and emit the creaking noises you may recognize from the oldest homes in the area.
Like with other pests, one of the most obvious signs there’s an infestation is the sighting of droppings around your home. Mouse, rat and cockroach droppings are often easily identified, but termite droppings may be less recognizable. They typically appear in small mounds around entry points like cracks in the foundation or walls, shelter tubes, doors or windows and may look like salt and pepper.
Those who have a fear of insects may wish to avoid thinking about this, but termites are one of the many species of insects that have wings. Though not every worker will be able to buzz around like a bee, reproductive termites grow wings when they come into sexual maturity. These termites are often called swarmers and will use their wings to fly to other locations and build new colonies. Subterranean termites swarm in spring while dry wood termites tend to swarm at any time of year.
Once termites are past reproductive maturity or have founded their own colony, they will lose and discard their fish scale-like wings. Keep an eye out for piles of wings by entry points like cracks, gaps, windows or doors. If you notice a mound of them, you likely have an infestation well underway.
Fight Back Against Termites With OPC Pest Services
Termites give many people the heebie-jeebies, and for good reason! They are destructive and stealthy little pests that can enter and damage your home without alerting you to any trouble. If you’ve noticed some hallmarks of termite infestation around your home or simply want to check and make sure your home is termite-free, you need a thorough, knowledgeable team of pest control experts on your side.
At OPC Pest Services, we know how difficult it can be to track down the source of an infestation without the right expertise. That’s why we offer Kentucky and Indiana residents comprehensive services performed by some of the region’s most highly-trained and well-certified technicians. We’re proud to provide peace of mind. Contact us online or call (800) 964-PEST to schedule your service today!