When you discover a termite infestation, you need to act right away. Learn the signs of termite infestation so you can call a pest control professional to eliminate the problem before the critters gain a foothold inside your home.
Termites need warmth and humidity to survive, as well as protection from predators. To protect themselves from those hazards, they construct shelter tubes during the night while they forage for food. They look like brown clay or earthen tubes that appear on the walls or joists of your home. Smaller shelter tubes less than 10 millimetres in diameter usually indicate that a small number of termites are on an exploratory mission to find food. Larger ones, many over 50 millimetres in size, indicate a regular pathway for huge numbers of soldier and worker termites. If you see these in your home—call your pest control professional right away. You have a major infestation, which has probably caused significant damage.
Termites who live underground construct tunnels through the soil around your home to transport food to or defend their colony. Not as obvious as the shelter tubes, these tunnels may show themselves when you dig up dirt for your garden or construction project. Look for them in the top part of the soil.
Slits in Tree Trunks
Termites often set up shop inside the trunks and root crowns of trees. When workers form a swarm to colonise a new territory, they make a long lengthwise slit through the tree trunk. Before they go, they seal the hole, creating a scar.
If you have termites that work inside the timber structures of your home, they may construct huge areas of packing along the walls of your home, especially near load-bearing beams or joists. They look like patches of clay along the walls—almost as if someone had applied patching plaster. If you see these structures in your home, they’re not decorative touches—they’re termite packing. Time to call the pest control people.
Termites ready for colonisation by preparing tubes to protect themselves from dry air and predators before they take off. Liken them to the tunnels you go through to get to your plane at the airport. Unlike those tunnels, though, these tunnels project outwards from infested wood. Like most termite construction, they are clay-like in appearance.
Tunnels in Wood
When termites infest wood, they leave the outside layer alone to protect themselves from predators and dry air. If you see tunnels in some of your home’s wooden structures, you can be sure that termites are at work. Small piles of what looks like sawdust also might indicate that termite trouble is afoot.
If you hear a tap-tap-tap during the night, it’s probably not a ghost walking your halls. It’s something even more sinister—a major termite infestation. Soldiers tap their mandibles and heads against wood to warn other termites in the colony about imminent danger. Most likely, you’ll hear these sounds coming from your wooden subfloor.
When a termite colony looks to colonise a nearby structure, its workers grow wings to fly to their next conquest. These wings, called alates, often stick to spider webs and are a tell-tale sign of a termite infestation. During swarming, too, termites often shed their wings after they’ve reached their new home. Look for piles of these wings on your home’s floors. They’re a sure sign that termites have invaded your home.
Termites often leave a musty-smelling odour behind to identify themselves as a member of their colony. If the odour is at a detectable level, you probably have a significant infestation.
Even if the musty smell isn’t from an active infestation, though, it might indicate future trouble. Moisture problems in homes attract termites since these insects thrive in moist environments. Tackle the problem before it leads to an invasion.
Small Scars on Trees
Since termites like to nest in the centres of tree trunks, you may find small scars on the trees that indicate exit points for foraging expeditions. Eucalyptus trees, peppercorns, and oaks are termites’ favourite spots to nest.
Termites work from the inside of wood, not from the outside, since they need the protective shell to keep them safe from predators and dry air. If you find wooden structures with a hollow centre, most likely you have a termite problem.
Blisters or Stains on Paint
When termites enter—and eat—the inner core of wooden structures, the wood often becomes warped. The paint that covers the wood may blister as a result. Stains on your home’s paint may also indicate termite trails. If you see anomalies in your home’s paint, it’s well worth having a pest control expert over to check it out.
Keep Termites at Bay with Regular Pest Control
Because termites often conceal damage behind a wooden shell, it’s often difficult to detect when termites have invaded your home until you have a significant infestation. The best way to keep termites out of your home is with a regular pest control plan. To discover how you can form an impenetrable line of defence for your home, contact the pest control professionals at Dependable Pest Control today.