Although many people believe that termites are active only in the spring, they are actually active throughout the year. Swarms, the most visible sign of termite activity, occur most often in the spring, but detecting the less obvious signs of an infestation could save you a lot of money and stress. Be sure to partner with a trusted professional.
5 signs of termites
- Hollow-sounding wood: Termites prefer to be in dark, humid environments, so they do not typically feed on the surface of wood, where they would be visible to the human eye. In fact, the wood’s surface might appear smooth, even if termites are inflicting damage. If wood sounds hollow when tapped, it may be because termites are eating the wood from the inside out.
- Groups of winged insects (“swarmers”) or discarded wings: Reproductive termites called swarmers take flight to create new colonies. Subterranean termites typically swarm in the spring, whereas drywood swarms are less predictable. If you see a swarm of insects or groups of discarded wings, call a termite specialist to inspect.
- Cracked or distorted paint on wood surfaces: Swarming drywood termites can enter through openings smaller than the edge of a dime, so monitor and seal any cracks in the home’s foundation and near roof siding, vents and windows.
- Mud tubes on exterior walls: Subterranean termites build mud tubes on surfaces, such as a home’s foundation, to provide moisture while they are searching for food. Store mulch, firewood and wood chips away from the home to avoid creating moisture-rich habitats for termites to survive and thrive.
- Frass: Drywood termites produce wood-colored droppings called frass as they eat their way through infested wood. Keep gutters, downspouts and crawl spaces free of debris and cellulose materials to prevent food sources for termites.
Termites pose a serious threat to your biggest investment: your home. If you suspect termite activity, call a licensed pest management company to do an inspection or call your management company. A termite specialist can recommend a customized treatment and prevention plan that may involve liquid repellants, wood treatments, baits and, if necessary, fumigation of the entire structure.
article is from Ron Harrison. Harrison is an entomologist and serves as the technical director for Orkin. Article appears on realtors.com