Seeing shelter tubes running from the soil to above-ground wood outside a house can be quite alarming. Termites feed on cellulose found in wood and can cause very serious structural damage and eventually can be very expensive if not treated right away. These tiny pests, only about a centimetre in length, can be subtle and relatively difficult to spot. That’s why a lot of homeowners are baffled by the extent of the damages these pests have already done when they see it.
Like all things, the key is immediate action. If left ignored, the damage caused by these termites can worsen and the affected structure will eventually be too difficult to save. If you have spotted an infestation early on, it’s best to bring in your local pest control company treat the damaged area immediately before it’s too late.
How to tell if there’s a termite infestation? Here are a few ways to help you determine if there’s something already brewing under your nose.
Look for flying termites or discarded wings.
Also known as swarmers or alates, these flying termites are both males and females that have left their nest to find their mate and create a new colony. There’s a good chance that there’s a nest near your house if you find these winged termites flying around. As such, flying termites or their discarded wings near windowsills and doors, are usually the first and visible sign of a termite infestation. These shouldn’t be confused with other pests like bed bugs, where you will find similar shells, eggs, faeces etc.
Check for mud tubes or frass.
Pesky pests such as subterranean termites create mud tubes to travel from the soil to their food source – which is obviously inside your home. They are about the thickness of a drinking straw or a pencil and look like dried up dirt. Drywood termites, on the other hand, leave droppings near the areas they feed on. Seeing frass is a tell-tale sign of an infestation. They look like really small wood shavings or pellets. If you see these mud tubes and droppings this indicates that there are termites active in your home.
Listen for clicking sounds.
You’ve seen discarded wings, and frass on a couple of areas in your home but, you still want to make sure that there are termites before you call for help. That’s not a problem! Although, this next clue is not that very easy to find as you really have to listen closely – literally. If you put your ears on the surface of the area where you found the frass, you could hear quick clicking sounds coming from it. Termites are sensitive creatures. They can detect vibrations and even the softest of sounds, and when they do, the soldier termites bang their heads on the wood to signal danger to the other termites. While it’s soldier termites that makes a noise to warn the others, the worker termites are not that quiet either. These little munchers are the ones who love to eat your wood and their noisy eating habits are the ones that get them detected.
Knock on wood.
Or just tap it lightly. Tap different sections of the surface of the wood with a screwdriver or even just with your hand. With a stethoscope try to listen if the wood sounds hollow or papery. If it does, it’s a clear sign that there’s a termite infestation and part or all of the timber inside has been eaten away.
If you are convinced that there is, in fact, termite infestation in your home, it’s time to call your local pest control company. They will perform an additional check and recommend the best treatment for your problem. A good rule of thumb is to check your house regularly to detect termite infestation and minimise the risk of having your hand go through that wall very easily.
If you’re unsure whether a property you’re purchasing or already own has termite damage, contact us today for a building and pest inspection.