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Written by Tim Denner
on March 26, 2019

Recognizing the signs of a termite infestation can be tricky for a number of reasons. Several types of termites have to be in close proximity to moisture rich soil in order to survive. Because of this, termites often start doing damage underneath the house before moving on to more visible locations. This area is not commonly visited by homeowners which results in termite damage often going unnoticed. It is also easy for people to mistake termite activity for other types of damage such as rot. In addition, the winged termites that are typically seen out in the open are easily confused with flying ants. It is a good idea for homeowners to learn how to avoid these common mistakes. Keep reading for some tips on how to recognize the most common signs of a termite infestation.

Visibly damaged wood

There are a number of things that can damage wood including termites, water, and exposure to the elements. If you are on the lookout for signs of termites how do you differentiate between these types of damage? When you know what to look for it is pretty simple to detect termite damage. Termite damage just below the surface of wood can make it look wavy or bubbly. If you notice wood that looks this way you can also tap on it to see if it sounds hollowed out-another sign of termites. Formosan termites are an example of a type of termite that eats along the grain of the wood to create the type of damaged mentioned above. Drywood termites create a different pattern of damage because they eat across the grain. The damage these termites do often gives the wood a honeycomb look.

Structures built by termites

In some parts of the world termites build giant mounds that reach heights well over that of an average adult. In North America you are unlikely to see those types of mounds but you can look for other structures built by termites. Mud tubes are commonly built by termites that infest homes in North America. These tubes provide termites with protection as they travel back and forth between the nest and their food source. They use saliva, soil, and wood to build these tubes. Look along your foundation or under the house for signs of mud tubes.

Termite sightings

Another common sign of a termite infestation is seeing termites around your property. Swarmers are a type of winged termite that emerges from the colony and flies off to start a new location. This type of termite is often confused with a flying ant. Understanding the differences between a swarmer and a flying ant can help you identify the presence of termites near your home. Swarmers have a straight waist, wings that are an equal length, and straight antennae. Flying ants, on the other hand, have a pinched waist, wings that are an unequal length, and bent antennae. In order to tell the difference between these two pests you will have to get a close look.

Keep an eye out for these signs of a termite infestation. If you notice any of them it can be helpful to inform a termite professional of what you saw. But, you should not neglect regular termite inspections because you now understand some of the common signs of an infestation. The reality is that termites can still go unnoticed by homeowners who are familiar with the signs. Look for indications of a problem between inspections and then allow the professionals to come in for a more thorough assessment.      

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