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How to Detect Termites in Your House

According to recent news, more than 600,000 homes in the United States are affected by termites yearly. Landlords and homeowners spend approximately $5 billion on termite control and structural damage. If you have ever had to deal with a termite infestation, you will agree that it can be pretty hard to detect and eliminate.

Eastern subterranean and dry wood termites are the most notorious types of termites. They are known to swarm during the summer and spring months and can be hard to detect. With more than 20 different species capable of chewing through the wood in your home, it pays to know how to detect termites before they spread too far.

We have prepared a detailed insight into some of the most common signs of in-house termite infestation and how to prevent further damage.

How to Detect Termites in Your House

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Stuck Windows and Doors

Has your door or window suddenly become hard to open or close? It can be an early sign of termite infestation. When termites begin to burrow holes through your door and window frames, it causes warping, which makes it difficult to close or open your wooden structures. It can also lead to other structural problems like sagging ceilings and crumbling baseboards.

Causes of Stuck Windows and Doors

Apart from warping, it is also imperative to note that seasonal changes and wood rot can lead to stuck windows and doors. Look closely for tunnels with dried dirt or damaged wood with termites to determine if your house is infested. Depending on the type of termite infestation in your home, it is recommended to contact a professional exterminator to help you get rid of a termite attack.

How to Spot Stuck Windows and Doors

Apart from visible cracks, blisters, or sags on the surface of your wooden doors and windows, there are several ways to spot stuck windows. Try to knock on the timber you suspect is infested with termites. If it sounds hollow, there is a likelihood of termites. If there is cracked plaster or paint on the walls, you might have to call an expert. The damage always gives your windows and doors a “honeycombing” effect, which causes the paint to crack.

Discarded Wings

A colony of termites consists of soldiers, swarmers, and workers. Swarmers are also known as alates and are the reproductive members of a colony. They have two large pale-colored pairs of wings about inches long and only emerge in early spring to find a mate and start a new colony.

You will find them around doors and windows or areas with light during this time. Unfortunately, they don’t have a longer lifetime, and you will likely find discarded wings and dead swarmers near doors and windows.

Identification of Discarded Wings

Swarmers shed their wings after mating. As a result, you will find piles of them in spider webs, doors, and window sills. The timing of swarmers depends on the weather conditions and species of termites. Besides, people often mistake flying ants for swarmers. They are very similar, but swarmers have two evenly-sized pairs of wings and straighter bodies. Flying ants have wings that are unevenly sized and a pinched waist.

Causes of Discarded Wings

Swarmers leave their nest once or twice a year- during spring or fall. They leave the comfort of their homes to mate and start a new colony. After mating, they shed their wings. Many homeowners tend to miss swarms on the exterior of their homes. It is because swarmers swarm only for a short time in the afternoon or morning when no one is home.

Prevention of Discarded Wings

The best way to prevent discarded wings is to keep the termites away from your home. Besides the need to leave the nest to start new colonies, termites can find all the conditions they need in wood burrows, including water, food, optimal temperature, and the ideal shelter. Ensure you check for the signs of a termite infestation and eliminate them to avoid discarded wings in your home.

Mud Tubes

Mud tubes are one of the most obvious signs of termite infestation. Technically, termites such as subterranean require a particular shelter once they emerge from the ground.

What are Mud Tubes?

As termites eat through your wooden structures, they create miniatures known as mud tubes. They look like narrow veins running from the ground to areas with exposed wood. The shelter is made of termite droppings or dirt and often resembles miniature tubes. Mud tubes are mainly designed to conserve moisture and provide protection from predators.

The tubes also act as a bridge between the wood and the colony. Remove the top of the mud tube to check for signs of termites before contacting a professional exterminator. Mud tubes can last long and do not directly indicate an active infestation.

Causes of Mud Tubes

Termites are the leading cause of mud tubes. They are used to house colonies within the material they feed. As the pests feed, they make chambers and tunnels within the furniture and walls. They leave behind small feces that look like pellets.

How to Identify Mud Tubes

It is easy to identify mud tubes. Look for mud workings that look like tubes moving from the ground to the area of infestation. Mud tubes signify termite infestation but will require you to break off their outer layer to check for live termites. Termites always repair their mud tubes. Therefore, ensure you return after a day or two if you don’t find any termites. They might have moved to another part of the wood.

Dirt Mounds

Termites create small pin holes and channels when feeding on wood paneling on your walls. They, as a result, create small dirt mounds on the floor. Sometimes, the termites make the holes without disturbing the wallpaper on the surface or the thin coat, which makes it hard to notice the damage.

What are Dirt Mounds?

They are small mounds of debris and dust created by termites as they dig their way through the wood- usually on ceiling boards. The piles are mainly mixed with frass or termite droppings. The droppings are wood-colored and look like wood shaving or dust.

Causes of Dirt Mounds

Dirt mounds are mainly caused by termites that eat their way through wooden walls or ceilings. Although termite activity can take months or years to become visible, having your property inspected once in a while is necessary.

How to Identify Dirt Mounds

Dirt mounds are easy to identify because they resemble dirt and wood shavings on the floor. The dirt comes from digested wood pushed out to avoid build-up in the tunnels. Ensure you contact a professional termite exterminator to prevent further infestation once you discover these mounds.

Termite Droppings

Also referred to as “frass,” termite droppings is yet another common sign of termite activity. However, you need to know how to identify frass. It is pellet-shaped and looks like wood shavings. Some species, such as subterranean termites, use the droppings to build their dirt mound, which explains why you might never see termite frass.

Identification of Termite Droppings

The pellet-shaped termite droppings are mostly found underneath kick-out or exit holes in a termite’s burrow. Drywood termites are the most common type of termite species that create kick-out holes to remove frass from their burrows. They are also the most notorious because they show few signs of activity in your wooden structures.

Causes of Termite Droppings

Termite infestation is the leading cause of termite droppings or frass. As dry wood termites eat through your wooden structure, they digest wood, which comes out as pellet-shaped droppings that look like wood shavings.

Prevention of Termite Droppings

The only way to prevent termite droppings is to get rid of the termites themselves. Contact a professional termite exterminator to help you get rid of the termites. Getting rid of them might be tricky because their tunnels are located beneath the wood.


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Types of Termites

There are more than 20 types of termite species. However, the most common types are; subterranean and dry wood termites. Drywood termites are primarily found in the southern climate, which is a bit warm. They feed and build their houses within the wood. On the other hand, subterranean termites build their burrows underground and only come out to feed. They make mud tubes resembling veins on the surface.

Hire the Services of a Professional Termite Exterminator Today!

The termite extermination process can be daunting and should be conducted by a professional. Some types of termites, such as dry wood termites, require special treatment to get rid of them completely. Ensure you consider the above warning signs the next time you detect signs of termite infestation and contact a professional exterminator.

At Gentry & Associates Termite Control, we pride ourselves as one of the best termite exterminators, with over 33 years in the industry. We are a trusted provider of wood repair services and termite control in Orange County. You can schedule an appointment today, and let us ensure you never have to worry about pests.

Questions other  homeowners have asked Termite Fumigation:

how to prepare for termite tenting

Please watch the video below to help you understand the process.  Feel free to call to schedule an appointment!

Questions other  homeowners have asked Termite Fumigation:

How long does termite tenting last

Typically it will take three full days to kill all termites.  We will walk you through the process to ensure all safety steps are completed.  See your tent fumigation list.

To Kill 100% of Termites takes Termite Tenting!

As you may already know, homes need a periodic termite inspection. Gentry & Associates specializes in termite control. Feel free to look around to learn more about Termite Infestation prevention. Here at G&A, we are confident you will be well pleased with our courteous service. Fill out the form, and one of our courteous team members will call you to discuss setting up a free termite inspection. We look forward to assisting you!

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