When it comes to household pests, termites are some of the most disastrous. Each year, termites cost homeowners $5 billion in structural and agricultural damage, according to Today’s Homeowner.

Termites can significantly damage the structural integrity of a property in as little as six months to a year, and many homeowners are unaware that they even have a termite problem until it’s too late.

Knowing the early warning signs of a termite infestation is imperative when it comes to preventing your home from costly damage and repairs. Here are seven of the biggest signs to look out for if you suspect, you may have a termite infestation on your hands, as well as some of the most frequently asked termite questions. 

The Trouble With Termites

Termites themselves aren’t directly harmful to humans. However, they can be destructive to the structure of your home, as well as any books, papers, insulation, and more wood-like items you may have around your home.

Additionally, they can wear down trees, shrubs, and other foliage on your property. The worst part? You may not even know they are pulling up residence. Termites are notoriously difficult to spot. However, we have a few tips to help you spot a termite infestation early.

7 Early Warning Signs of Termites

1. Spotting Pellets Or Droppings

Like many pests, the easiest way to discover an infestation is by finding droppings. Drywood termites may leave behind small, wood-colored pellets. You can find these deposits anywhere. As they tunnel, termites like to keep their areas clean. To do that, they must remove their excrement from their path. Their droppings can often have the appearance of coffee grounds or sawdust.

2. Wings Left Behind

If you discover discarded wings near a closed window or door, you may need to consult a termite control expert. Termites swarm in the spring near well-lit, warm areas. Afterward, they will shed their wings. While you may mistake them for flying ants, note that termites have specific differences.

Termite wings are all the same size, and the insects themselves are not segmented. Flying ants’ wings are not the same size, and their bodies are segmented. If your home is playing host to a colony, finding piles of wings is a dead giveaway.

3. Termite Swarms

In addition to finding discarded wings, you may be able to spot the insects during their mating season. Termites tend to swarm in the spring when both males and females leave the colonies to mate and build a bigger colony. Unfortunately, that could mean bigger trouble for your home.

If you didn’t have termites, discovering a swarm is a sign that they may be ready to form a colony in or around your home. If you discover these swarms more than once, you may have an infestation.

4. Discovering Termite Bodies

A sure sign of a termite infestation is finding dead or living termites. This can be tricky since termites steer clear of highly trafficked areas. Also, if you do spot them, it’s possible you will mistake them for white or flying ants. Unfortunately, one is much more destructive.

A good rule of thumb when telling the difference is that there are no white ants. In addition to seeing termites, you may hear them in your walls as well. You may also hear a clicking or munching sound coming from the inside of your walls. 

5. Mud Structures and Tubes

Certain species of termites need to stay moist, which is one of the reasons why subterranean termites create mud tubes to get around. If you discover these tube-like mud structures, you may have a termite problem. Termites will create these tubes from moist soil to get from their colony to their food source. Mud tubes can often be spotted around your home on hard surfaces or your foundation. 

6. Swollen Panels on the Floor or Walls

If your infestation is serious, you may see the damage before you spot any termites. Raised floorboards or bumps in the wall are some of the most common signs of an infestation.

Often masquerading as water damage, swollen panels are not a good sign. Termites live just below wood surfaces, which can cause panels to swell. This can also cause the paint to bubble. If you’ve ruled out water damage, termites might be your problem.

7. Hollow Wood

Regarding termites, the damage is real – and it could be easy to find. Simply knock on any wooden structures in your home. You can easily hear the hollow sound of punctured wood.

Often, you can see cracks on the surface, splitting, or other extensive damage. These disastrous pests will often create “galleries” or tunnels within the wood. They empty spaces that run parallel to the grain, leaving wooden structures hollow. This could be a sign of a serious infestation.

Common Types of Termites

While there are dozens of different termite species found across the U.S., there are three main types to be aware of: subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. 

While drywood and dampwood termites can cause much damage, subterranean termites are known to be much more destructive. In fact, most damage to residential homes is caused by subterranean termites, as they make their way into residential properties by nesting in the ground and traveling through mud tubes. 

Subterranean termites are the most common types of termites found in Pennsylvania, while drywood termites are most often found on the West Coast. Dampwood termites are known to prefer more humid, tropical climates and are often found in southern states like Florida. 

Knowing the Signs: The Importance of Regular Termite Inspections

There are several telltale signs you may be dealing with a termite infestation, and knowing what they are can help you catch an infestation in the early stages before significant damage is done. Some of the most common signs of a termite infestation include: 

  • Discarded wings near windows and light sources
  • Cracked or bubbling paint
  • Small holes in wood and drywall
  • Hollow-sounding wood
  • Sawdust-like frass
  • Termite droppings

Familiarizing yourself with these signs is a good idea for any homeowner, and performing routine termite inspections can save you a lot of money and heartache down the road. 

When You Should Call an Exterminator

Because of the incredibly destructive nature of termites, you should call an exterminator at the first sign of a termite infestation in your home. Knowing the signs to look for, such as discarded wings and cracked or bubbling paint, can help you catch an infestation before it gets out of control and can even save you hundreds of dollars in damage. 

Termite Infestation FAQs

What is the average cost of termite treatment?

When it comes to treating termites, the cost will depend on a number of factors, such as the severity of the infestation. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $400 to a thousand dollars to treat an active termite infestation. [Learn more: How Much Does Pest Control Cost? Price Guide]

Does homeowner’s insurance cover termite damage?

Termite damage is not typically covered by homeowner’s insurance, as most insurance companies view termite infestations as preventable. Because of this, you can expect to pay for termite extermination services out-of-pocket.  

How fast do termites damage property?

Termites can do an extensive amount of damage to a home within three years and can destroy the structure of a home in five to six years. This is why it is imperative to contact a pest control professional at the first sign of a termite infestation to take care of the problem before it gets worse. 

Why do termites shed their wings?

After mating, termites shed their wings to signal to other termites that they are a couple. You may notice discarded wings around your home, a telltale sign that you may be dealing with a termite infestation. 

Can I prevent termite infestations on my own?

There are several ways you can prevent termites from invading your home, from keeping firewood away from your home to replacing your soil with sand, as termites cannot build tunnels through sand. It is also a good idea to perform routine termite inspections, as knowing what signs to look for can help you catch an infestation before it gets out of control.   

[wpforms id=”1017″ title=”true” description=”true”]