Common Signs of Termite Infestation

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Residents of Phoenix are highly aware of termites and the damage they can bring. Preparing and preventing a termite infestation includes knowing what the common signs of termite infestation are. Termites are sneaky critters. Sometimes called the “silent destroyers,” homeowners oftentimes don’t even realize they have a termite infestation. To an untrained eye, noticing certain signs of termite infestations can be difficult. Being aware of these different signs can make you more aware of termite activity that may be present at your home or property.

Signs of termite infestation include:

  • mud tubes,
  • noticeable swarms,
  • termite droppings,
  • discarded wings,
  • buckled or warped wood

Be sure to familiarize yourself with these signs and be on the lookout for them in order to spot and call in experts to treat a termite infestation problem. Termites are so common here it is recommended to periodically inspect the home for termite activity and to take other preventative measures to protect your home and property from termites.

Look for Mud Tubes

Subterranean termites live and breed in the ground, and they build pencil-sized “mud tubes” that connect their colony to your home. These mud tunnels are made from tiny pieces of wood, soil, termite feces and debris, and they allow termites access to food sources above and below ground. These wormlike mud tubes also protect the termite colony from predators and retain moisture within the tubes. If you have a termite infestation, you may find these dirt tubes around the foundation of your home. Sometimes you’ll even spot them hanging from the rafters in your basement or attic. Many of these tubes are behind walls and hidden from view.

Identify Termite Swarms

Both subterranean and drywood termites create termite swarms as they reproduce. In Arizona, both species are attracted to light, and you will typically find them in light fixtures around your home and in windowsills. Males will often fly up into the light cover on your ceiling fixture, and you’ll see a large swarm of them lying in the bottom of the cover. Subterranean termites tend to create massive colonies, producing anywhere from hundreds to thousands of termites in the swarm. Drywood termites are a bit sneakier because they produce small swarms, only ranging from 10 to 100 per colony.

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Termite Droppings

Drywood termites tend to leave behind droppings after they consume wood, and these droppings are commonly referred to as “frass.” Frass can be all kinds of different colors depending on the type of wood the termites have been eating. Oddly enough, termites are good housekeepers, so they push droppings out of their home and into yours. The droppings from their colonies will form in little piles next to the infested wood. If you see these little piles of feces next to a small hole in the wall, there’s a pretty good chance you have a termite infestation. Their feces tend to smell like mold and mildew, look like piles of coffee grounds and are pretty easy to spot.

Discarded Wings

Termites are active year round in Phoenix, Arizona. We experience an increase in termite activity during the spring time and the monsoon season because of the rain during these periods. Moisture is a conducive condition to termite activity. During these seasons, winged male termites and female termites without wings mate and form new colonies. Immediately following their reproductive cycle, the male termites shed their wings. Although often difficult to identify and spot, at times, you may be able to see a pile of discarded wings around your home. These wings are different than your typical insect wing because they are clear and look a lot like fish scales.

Buckled or Warped Wood

Signs of termites on the inside or outside of your home may appear to look like water damage at first, especially because termite infestations produce a scent similar to mold and mildew. Buckling wood, warped floors, swollen ceilings and cracks in your walls and on the floors could be signs of termites – especially if you notice these issues in areas where there is no possibility for water damage. It can be tough to decipher whether or not these are signs of termites or if it is indeed water damage, but either way, it’s important to get these areas of your home checked out. Neither water damage nor termites are issues you want to leave unresolved for long.

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