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    Top 10 Signs of a Termite Infestation

    Tuesday, April 11, 2023 | Mid-Cities Pest Control

    It’s spring again in North Texas, and that means it’s termite season. As the temperatures settle into the 70s, and the humidity rises, the time is right for termites to appear. And not just appear, these destructive pests can emerge in the thousands, taking unsuspecting homeowners by surprise. Finding a termite infestation in your home is always unpleasant, but discovering it only after it’s been there for years is downright gut-wrenching, not to mention potentially devastating on your finances. Did you know termites cause roughly 5 billion dollars in damage annually?! As with so many things, early detection can mean the difference between a relatively simple fix and a massive undertaking. So how do you discover a termite infestation before it’s too late? Keep reading to find out!

    #10 Nearby Homes Being Treated for Termites:

    This one hits number 10 on the list for a reason; it’s hardly a guarantee that your house has a termite issue. However, since these pests don’t generally travel very far, if your neighbor’s house has active termites looking to expand their territory, it’s definitely possible they will find your home to be the best new buffet in town. So if you know that your neighbor is contending with a current infestation, it’s worth putting in some time and effort to look for any of the other 9 signs on this list, and then call The Bug Dude if you come across any of them.

    #9 Outdoor Issues:

    Termites don’t just live inside homes; they love to infest unhealthy or dead trees, wood piles, gazebos, and just about any untreated wood you could have in your yard. Not only can they exacerbate an issue in an already unhealthy tree, potentially killing it, the damaged/dead tree can pose a safety hazard to your family and house if it subsequently falls. In addition, having termites in your yard means they could already be on the way to your home as they look to expand their colony.

    #8 Bulging Walls:

    If your interior walls appear to be bulging, this is generally a sign of either a significant termite infestation or of moisture build-up. If you notice uneven or bubbling paint on your walls, the issue is more likely moisture, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of the wood; this excess moisture is not only structurally an issue in its own right, it makes your home more susceptible to wood-destroying pests like termites and carpenter ants.

    #7 Sounds in your Walls:

    Though a termite infestation might generally be viewed as a silent threat to your home and your wallet, they actually can sometimes be heard making distinct noises. So what does a termite sound like? No, you won’t hear them chewing away, but you could hear a quiet clicking or rustling noise inside the wood of your home. These noises are actually the sounds of soldier termites banging their heads on tunnel walls as a warning to other termites that there is a threat nearby.

    In addition, if you notice that a previously solid piece of wood suddenly sounds hollow if you tap on it, that is a definite sign that a wood-destroying insect could be causing some serious damage.

    #6 Termite Workers:

    Worker termites are the ones directly responsible for the damage caused to your home. They are approximately 1/8” long, are a translucent cream color, and can be (mistakenly) called “white ants” due to a general similarity in appearance to the common ant. You are unlikely to just happen upon a worker termite wandering around your home. However, if you are doing any sort of home renovation and see “white ants” inside your walls, call The Bug Dude immediately at 800-310-BUGS (2847) to have a technician evaluate the level of infestation and put together the best treatment plan for your needs.

    In addition, if you’re doing any work in your yard or garage and uncover “white ants,” know that these are termites and you need to call The Bug Dude to evaluate the issue.           

    #5 Wood Damage:

    Often wood damage caused by termites will be discovered during home renovations. You pull off a baseboard, tear down some drywall, and suddenly you discover that the wood beams of your home have a sort of honeycomb damage pattern. If, however, you notice this type of damage on exposed wood, it likely means that the infestation is particularly bad, as termites tend to destroy wood from the inside out. Though the honeycomb-like damage is a sure sign of termite activity, if you notice any unexplained wood damage to your home, it’s worth calling on The Bug Dude to check for wood-destroying pests before they cause expensive damage to your house.

    Also, keep an eye out for tiny holes in hardwood, called kick-out holes. These holes are made by drywood termites as a sort of excrement chute where they kick the frass (see #4 below) out from inside their tunnels.

    #4 Frass:

    Frass is a term for drywood termite poop, though it can also be used as a term for the piles of wood shavings and excrement expelled by carpenter ants while they excavate a wood source for their nests. Either way, frass is essentially a pile of what looks like sawdust or pepper, and these piles are generally found around baseboards and windowsills. Though this is an extremely noticeable sign of an infestation, in North Texas it will more often be a sign of a carpenter ant problem rather than a termite problem, as we tend to have more subterranean termites than drywood termites. Nonetheless, if you see piles of frass in your house, contact The Bug Dude immediately at 817-354-5350 to take care of the wood-destroying pest that’s invading your home.

    #3 Mud Tubes:

    Mud tubes are created by subterranean termites as a sort of protected highway to travel between their living spaces in the soil and their food sources (wood) in your home. These tunnels are primarily constructed of mud and are quite firm. They can range in color and size and will blend easily with the soil, concrete and brick that they are usually built on. Generally, these tubes will be built along a home’s foundation, basement walls, piers, expansion joints, near plumbing fixtures, by windowsills, and under porches. Though these tubes are difficult to spot, if you notice one, they are a sure sign that termites are either currently making your house part of their diet, or they are seriously considering doing so in the immediate future.

    #2 Discarded Wings:

    Most commonly found on windowsills in the spring, if you see a pile of 1” or smaller, oblong, clear or white wings, that is a very good sign you have a termite infestation. These are the wings of termite swarmers (see #1 in this list), and the fact that you see the wings but the not the termites means that they have likely finished their flight needs and are working on taking residence in your home.

    #1 Swarmers:

    Termite swarmers are the most easily noticed sign of an infestation. Unfortunately, they are also a sign of a well-established termite colony. Swarmers are winged termites whose mission is to reproduce and create a new colony. Each spring, when the temperature and humidity are right, they will leave their current colony in large numbers and take flight to find a new home. They are approximately 3/8” long, and have a black body with long clear or white wings. Generally, you will notice them inside your house along your windowsills (as they are attracted to light), or outside. Sometimes, however, you can find yourself in the midst of the swarm itself, in which case you will definitely notice the thousands of winged pests flying around the room. If you notice termite swarmers in or around your house, immediately call The Bug Dude at 817-354-5350 to have an expert technician evaluate the infestation and create a treatment plan. Finding swarmers in your home means you have a termite infestation and damage already in your home; the sooner you get it treated, the less you will have to spend on costly repairs.

    Now that you know the top 10 warning signs of a termite infestation, what do you do if you think you’ve encountered one (or more) of these signs? Simple. Call The Bug Dude at 800-310-BUGS (2847) and have one of our expert technicians out to evaluate the situation. Whether the issue turns out to be termites, carpenter ants, or one of the many other pests that can cause you household nightmares, we can help eliminate the infestation before it causes a even bigger dent in your wallet.

    Further Reading:

    “Termite 101” – Alissa Breach – The Bug Dude Blog

    “The Truth about Five Common Termite Myths” – Alissa Breach – The Bug Dude Blog

    “Termites vs. Carpenter Ants” – Alissa Breach – The Bug Dude Blog

    Author Bio: Alissa Breach has been gaining knowledge and experience around pest control concerns over the last 13 years while working for Mid-Cities Pest Control. She has a creative writing BA from UW-Madison and is always pursuing new and interesting writing projects.

    The Bug Dude Blog