There’s nothing worse than fearing your home has a termite infestation . . . except for maybe finding out that you’re right. These creepy crawlies work in colonies, banding together to destroy 2-3 pounds of your home in a week. That’s a lot of property damage, especially because termites cause internal structural damage, helping them go undetected for months or years. What’s a homeowner to do?
Recognizing a Termite Infestation
- Dead or living termites. Termite infestations are typically found in the spring, when swarmers emerge to reproduce and form their own colonies. These swarmers won’t damage your home–they’re unable to eat wood and typically die quickly–but they do indicate a subterranean termite infestation in your home. Because they’re attracted to light and moisture, winged termites are typically found near windows, vents, doors, sinks, and bathtubs.
- Mud tubes. Termites create mud tubes for shelter. Flat and roughly the size of a drinking straw, mud tubes are often found along cracks, by baseboards, behind siding, beneath flooring, beside pipes and chimneys, or near plumbing or other fixtures. But that doesn’t mean they can’t also crop up on exposed surfaces.
- Hollow wood. Many termite infestations are discovered when a homeowner accidentally punctures a feeding canal in the wood. These canals are hollowed out with the grain, and unlike wood damage from other insects, have soil or dried mud lining the tunnels. Termite damage is often invisible from outside the walls, but rippled wood may indicate internal damage. Homeowners can test for termite damage by tapping along floors, baseboards, and windowsills with the handle of a screwdriver. The sound of hollow wood indicates a potential termite infestation and, if the damage is really bad, the screwdriver may puncture the wood, exposing the feeding canals.
The best way to protect your property from termites is to schedule biannual inspections with a trained specialist. Call Progressive Pest Control and ask about installing a termite barrier to protect your home.