Termites can really cause a lot of havoc in homes. Once they attack and their infestation becomes severe, it becomes difficult to get rid of them. Similarly, repairing their damage costs a lot; for instance, in 2019, termite damages in Australia were approximately over 100 million dollars.
It is not easy to detect the presence of termites. Termites cause a lot of destruction, from tearing into the framework of buildings to weakening home structures. Research indicates that termites infest one in every three houses in Australia.
These insects like hiding in warm and dark areas where finding them is not easy. They also thrive in moist conditions, thus making it best to inspect your home thoroughly, especially during the winter seasons. The impact of termite infestation moves gradually from mild to severe depending on how fast you discover signs of termite infestation and how quickly you use pest control. The earlier, the better.
There are different types of termites; however, this article brings to your attention the general early warning signs of termite infestation.
Early Warning Signs
Flying Termites or Termite Wings
Flying termites move out to mate and establish colonies. With the different species of termites, you are sure to see some fly during the day while some fly at night. Primarily, most termites come out to fly after the rain has fallen. Once they mate, the flying termites drop their wings.
A colony of termites begins with the king and the queen who locate at a nest and start breeding. After they mate, they take good care of their young until they are mature enough. This is why failure to detect them, in the beginning, could lead to a faster infestation.
Therefore, this is one vital early warning sign of termites that you should be on the lookout for.
Tapping of Termite Heads
Soldier termites sometimes tend to be quite violent. To signal signs of danger to the other colony members, they would tap their heads against the wood. This is the sound that you should be keen to hear. Similarly, worker termites make noises when chewing through furniture or wood. With your head placed near furniture or wood, you can hear the sounds they make while eating.
Termites are very sensitive and can detect sounds and vibrations through their legs and antennas.
Holes in Wood
Termites eat wood from the inside outwards making it harder to notice their damage in the early stages. As they chew the insides of the wood, they leave behind hollow spaces. Similarly, termites drill small holes into the wood to facilitate their entry in and out of the wood.
They drill these holes from the bottom of the wood in a honeycomb design. Such hollow spaces in wood or small holes on the surface of the wood are clear indications of the presence of termites.
When we say white ants, we do not mean the literal ants. Most people tend to confuse termites for white ants. There are several major differences between termites and ants.
Termites have straight antennae as opposed to ants whose antennae are bent. Termites are white or translucent. They also have a thicker waist section than ants. Whereas termites have wings of the same size, flying ants have larger front wings than hind wings.
It is vital to be aware of these differences to avoid confusion between ants and termites. You may think that you have seen ants and end up suffering serious termite damages.
Termites have a tendency to create small tunnels from soil, dirt, or wood. These tunnels enable them to reach their source of food and other areas such as tree trunks, ceilings, etc. Such tunnels, also known as mud tubes, are challenging to detect but are clear signs of termites.
However, there are various tested approaches used in detecting such tunnels. For instance, research has indicated that X-rays and infrared detectors could be used to detect the termite mud tubes.
Termite droppings are called frass. Subterranean termites use their frass to build their tunnels. On the other hand, when dry wood termites excrete, their frass looks like wood sawdust. Termite droppings can also be black. Termites like depositing their frass at the entrance of their hiding tubes.
These accumulate after some time to form what looks like a pile of dead ants. Therefore, if you come across such faecal matter, it would be best to inspect your home for termites.
Termites occasionally feed on electric wires and cables; however, their primary source of food is wood. When they feed on the wire insulators, they leave the wires naked, thus high risks of short circuits.
The subterranean termites could also fill the sockets with wet mud, thus causing short circuits. If you notice frequent unnecessary short circuits, it would be best to inspect your house for termites.
Damage in the Garden
Primarily, termites depend on wood for food. Therefore, they could damage the trees, wood fences, or any wood structures on the farm or property. Such damages would be clear indications of the presence of termites.
The presence of termites in the garden would be better instead of the house. It is easier to terminate and regulate them in the garden before they attack the house.
Damaged Roof Tiles
Roof tiles could accumulate moisture, especially if they are loose. However, once they find their way into the loose roof tiles, they would feed on them and cause significant damages to your roof tiles.
If you notice such damaged roof tiles, it could be a sign of termites. It would be best to consider replacing your roof tiles if they are damaged. That could be one way of getting rid of the termites if they are there.
Damaged Floors or Ceilings
Some people prefer having hardwood floors for their pleasing appearance and warm beauty. Others also prefer laminated floors or wood partitioning. Most house ceilings are also made of wood or wood products.
As we have mentioned before, termites depend primarily on wood for food, but they could also feed on anything they come across.
When they feed on such materials, they cause serious visible damages. The sight of such damages could be an indication of the presence of termites in your home.
When To Contact Termite Experts
Termites cause a lot of damage, especially on wood and wood structures such as fences and furniture. The extent of their damage depends on the size of the colony and the species of the termites. Some species, for instance, the dry wood termites, are known to cause a lot of damage. Even though termite damages may seem negligible, they can cost a lot of money to repair completely.
Termite control is difficult due to how termites camouflage and hide their nests. Thus, it is essential to be aware of the early warning signs of their presence mentioned above.
Remember, the earlier you notice their presence, the better. It will be best to contact a professional for a termite inspection if you notice any signs of termites outlined above in this article.