Perhaps you’ve spotted a termite in your home. Or, you may have heard tapping noises coming from your walls at night. Either way, if you suspect that termites are eating their way through your house, you should call in a pest control team to conduct an inspection. You want to determine how bad the infestation is, what damage has already occurred, and how you can get rid of them for good.
It’s necessary to point out to your pest control team any places in the home there is damp or you have water leaks. These are prime spots for termites to set up a nest. An experienced pest controller, however, will do a thorough inspection of the property (inside and outside the home). This will enable them to determine if there are live termites, even if there are no visible signs of them. They may use thermal imaging and radar technologies, for example.
Here are some of the 5 unmistakable signs of termites they’ll be looking for during an inspection:
1. Termites wings
It’s true that termites typically burrow underground and establish nests behind walls. However, above ground they will look for signs of wings, which will have been dropped by subterranean termites after a termite swarm. These occur when the humidity starts to rise as we head into spring and summer and can be triggered during a hot, torrential downpour.
The termites swarm as part of their natural reproduction cycle, but die off and drop wings in the process. The winged termites are sexually mature adults called alates. The wings of a termite are equal in length and width, which is different from flying ants that have longer wings on the bottom.
If your technician finds discarded wings on your property, it’s a sure sign that breeding has occurred thanks to swarmers and there is a healthy termite colony somewhere in or near your house and has been for some time. Termites start new colonies from nests that already exist. They only begin to produce winged termites when the colony is very well established – this usually takes a couple of years.
2. Mud tubes
These are also called shelter tubes. They are small, mud tunnels that termites make when they want to move through exposed spaces. Because they can’t go through concrete footers, for example, they will build a highway around or over it.
Termites can become dehydrated rapidly. To protect themselves from exposure, they build these mud tubes out of soil, wood cellulose, and other materials to create a microenvironment that maintains humidity levels for them. It also protects them from predators.
It’s unlikely you’ll spot a mud tube, but a trained pest controller will know to look along your foundation and close to your pipes. The tubes are similar in thickness to a straw and can be straight or vary in shape. They will also search your crawlspace, attic and other areas where termites may have found access points to your home.
3. Mud in strange places
Termites are hard workers, and will continuously strive to create suitable spaces to establish nests or feed. Just because you can’t find mud tubes, it doesn’t mean there aren’t termites actively sealing gaps, holes, and cracks with dirt to make them more comfortable.
Your technician will also look for signs of crusted dirt in places such as concrete or construction joints.
4. Wood on your property
If a pest control technician doesn’t search your yard for signs of termites, this is a red flag that they are not doing a thorough enough inspection. Termites are always on the hunt for new sources of food (wood). Prime culprits that need to be checked are wood fencing, wood mulch that has been placed close to your home’s foundation, piles of firewood, dead wood from fallen trees, decks, sheds, and playsets.
Only pressure-treated wood is resistant to termites. All other sources of termite nourishment will need to be inspected for signs of termites. Termites are attracted to the smell of wood. They’re likely to discover these in your yard while foraging, before moving onto your home.
5. Signs of damaged wood
You may not notice that your skirting boards are damaged, but your inspector will have a close look to see if they are. If they detect that there is hollowness, they may remove a section to see if the wood inside is compromised.
Termites eat wood starting from the inside, so there are no outside signs of their feasting. A skirting board can be virtually demolished, leaving only the paint on the outside holding the scraps together. If there have been termites at work inside, you will see excavated sections with deep grooves (usually parallel to one another). Termites prefer soft wood, so they will avoid the parts of hard wood and focus on the spring-growth sections. There may also be mud debris.
Pest-Ex have been providing professional pest control services in Brisbane for more than 20 years. For more information you can visit their website.