Termites are the dread of every homeowner—and rightfully so. These insects have a seemingly insatiable appetite for cellulose, which is essentially what comprises wood. A termite infestation can make quick work of residential lumber, rendering it structurally unsound faster than you might think. What’s worse: termites behave like secret agents on a covert operation—you won’t see them in action because they feed on wood from the inside out. Also, termites don’t live in the wood they’re destroying; they live in the soil surrounding your home. So, even though it can take several years for noticeable damage to occur, you could be unaware of their presence unless you know what signs of termites to look for and hire a pest professional.
Identifying Termite Activity
The best defense against termites is a good offense. By offense, we mean a proactive inspection program like the ScherZinger Guardian Plus or Guardian Complete programs. Unless you live in Alaska, termites are a threat to your home, as they exist in every other state. Take a few minutes to learn some of the warning signs and schedule annual home inspections from a pest specialist beginning immediately.
Because termites live in the soil and feed on wood, they don’t leave many physical clues. However, one sign of termite activity is the appearance of muddy-looking substances on wood surfaces. The mud you see is actually soil and waste from the termite that is visible when they “eat through” to an outer surface of a board. It can give the wood a muddy appearance and leave residue.
The most common type of termites are eastern subterranean termites. They fly and typically swarm in the spring, shedding tiny, noticeable wings; they’re typically found around windows. The most common condition is a large number of swarming termites—either from outside or within your home—that make the wings noticeable when they are shed. Signs of termites are often difficult for anyone unfamiliar with termites (or not specifically looking for physical signs) to readily notice and identify termite wings.
Professionals Can Help
Because there are approximately 40 species of termites in the United States, it’s best to leave the diagnostics to a professional. However, if termites are feeding inside a piece of wood and you expose it, you will be able to see them. Generally, they are quite small and appear white or yellow—not unlike the color of the wood they’re consuming. Swarming termites are black with wings twice the size of their body.
Small holes and mud tubes in wood are also common signs of significant termite activity. If you see holes and mud tubes in a structural board that should be solid, tap it with a hammer. If termites have eaten away the inside, the board will sound hollow when struck.
A proactive inspection of your home on a routine basis may help you detect termites. However, because of the complexities in identifying termites as well as the remediation of an infestation, the best measure you can take to protect your home is to arrange for home inspections from a pest professional like ScherZinger Pest Control.
ScherZinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton and Columbus. We’ve been pioneers who have engineered new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-943-9466 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.