How to Tell If You Have Termites in Your Walls

If there’s one pest that homeowners dread more than any other, it’s termites. This pest isn’t just terribly destructive—causing thousands of dollars in damage to your home—it’s sneaky. It’s easy for a termite infestation to slip under the radar, which is why it’s so important to know how to tell if you have termites in your walls.

How can you tell if your wall has termites? Today, we’re giving you all the signs you need to know. Keep reading to find out how a termite problem can do undetected and how to spot the problem—before it’s too late.

How Termites Go Undetected

Termites are sneaky little pests. Unlike rodents, ants, stinging insects, and other obvious pests, they can go undetected for months or even years. How?

Essentially, termites live, travel, and eat where you can’t see them.

The termites in our area—the most common being eastern subterranean termites—live underground in colonies. Termites leave the colony in search of food; however, they don’t go crawling down the sidewalk like ants. Instead, they build mud tubes (made of soil, wood, and termite salvia) to act as pathways. The mud tubes protect them from predators and provide the moisture that termites need to survive. Using the mud tubes, the termites can then creep into your home. Once inside your home, the termites move through your walls and floor, chewing through all the wood they can reach.

Because termites go from underground to inside the walls of your home, it’s easy for them to go overlooked.

You could have termites in your home right now and not even realize!

How to Tell If You Have Termites in Your Walls

Termites love walls because there’s a large surface area exposed to the soil. Plus, many termites can feed on the same piece of wood, so they don’t have to travel as far.

Of course, having termites feasting on your walls unchecked is a catastrophe. Over time, the damage can compromise the strength of your walls and affect the structural integrity of your home. Anything made of laminated plywood or particle board is even more quickly affected.

To protect your home, stay on the lookout for the signs of termites in your walls. Here are the ten most common signs.

#1 Mud Tubes

As we mentioned above, mud tubes are how termites get inside your home. They are typically earth-colored and about the width of a pencil. They often look like veins in the way they meander across the surface. You can typically find mud tubes on the exterior walls of your home, your foundation, or the walls of your basement. However, mud tubes can also be hidden—inside cracks in your foundation, behind baseboards, and inside crawl spaces. For that reason, you also need to know the other signs of termites.

#2 Pinholes in Your Walls

When termites eat through the paper coating on drywall or through your wallpaper, it results in small pinholes. (Yes, termites will eat wallpaper: they’ll eat anything made of cellulose!) You might also see dirt in the hole left behind by the termites.

#3 Lines or Mazes in the Drywall

As termites tunnel through the drywall’s paperboard, it’s often possible to see a faint “map” of the tunnels. This typically looks like lines or mazes from the outside of the wall.

#4 Bubbling or Peeling Paint

Termites bring moisture with them. When they’re inside your walls, that moisture can react with the paint on your wall, which causes the paint to bubble, peel, flake, or crack.

#5 Discolored Plaster

Over time, the presence of termites can cause discoloration, as mud from the termites seeps through the plasterboard. The discoloration often shows up as a brownish stain, or lots of small brown dots on your wall.

#6 Wings Near Your Windows

Older termite colonies (those four years old or older) eventually get so big that they hit capacity. At that point, winged termites are sent out to form new colonies. This is a process called swarming, in which winged termite pairs mate and start their own new colonies. During swarming (which typically happens yearly in the spring), you can often find discarded wings near your windows and walls, inside and outside your home. This sign is a tricky one, since swarming happens only once a year and can occur away from the original colony. Not to mention–lots of insects have wings, so it’s hard for the average homeowner to know whether the wings are from termites.

#7 Hollow Sounds in the Wall

If your wall sounds hollow when you tap on it, this can be a sign of termites. A hollow sound is a sign that termites have eaten the wood framing inside the wall. Tap on a few of your walls to compare.

#8 Crumbling Baseboards

Termites will chew through the wood trim in your home from the inside out. If your baseboards crumble when you nudge them with a vacuum, this is a clear sign of termites.

#9 Sounds Coming from the Walls

Listen closely enough, and you can often hear extensive termite infestations. This is especially true at night, when the house is quiet and there aren’t other sounds drowning them out. You might hear a clicking or rustling sound coming from the walls.

#10 Your Home Has Shifted

When termites have been left unchecked for years, they can cause a massive amount of damage. This damage can cause your home to shift and settle as it loses structural integrity. Signs of this kind of structural damage can also include cracks above doors and windows, or doors and windows that don’t close properly.

Call Us Today

If you suspect a termite problem, we’re here to help: we can determine whether your home has termites, find out the scope of the damage, and create a comprehensive plan to eliminate the infestation. We know every home is different, which is why we offer personalized treatment plans to keep termites out for good.

Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our websiteFacebook, or Twitter.