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Termites are terrifying insects. They may not bite as ants or sting like wasps, but their damage is troubling. Termites can destroy structures worth thousands or even millions of dollars. The good thing is it is possible to stop them in their tracks before they cause irreparable damage to your home through regular pest inspection.
How To Identify Termites
Unfortunately, termites are secretive, making it hard to detect them. In fact, you are more likely to notice the signs of termite damage before spotting the termites themselves. But worry not! After reading this article, you will be armed with information to determine if that bug you spotted crawling around your house is a termite or not.
Termites are very similar to ants in size which often brings confusion. But the two insects vary in body characteristics, with termites being characterised by:
- A tiny body that is less than a quarter of an inch long
- Transparent wings with uniform length
- No identifiable distinction between the thorax and abdomen
- Short antennae that are not segmented
Common Signs Of Termites
Even though termites have a distinctive look, you cannot easily detect their existence in your home. But since they have predictable habits, there are several signs you can watch out for. Let us look at the signs that signify the presence of these unwanted guests in your home:
Check your property for mud tubes, especially around the foundation, on the exterior cladding, underneath the wallpaper, and near plumbing. Termites build mud tubes that serve as their hideouts. However, the tubes may be from a past solved infestation. To check if it is still active, break a small section of the tube. If you find termites inside, you have an active infestation. To avoid wrong assumptions, get experts to undertake a building and timber pest inspection on your property.
Check dead tree stumps around your property. Termites infesting tree stumps is entirely normal and nothing to worry about. But immediate action should be taken if you notice termites inhabiting a dead tree stump to prevent them from migrating to your building.
Strange Structural Problems
Weird structural issues in your home, like a sagging ceiling or a buckling floor, may be due to rot or damage by termites.
If you notice mud splatters on the exterior of your property, it could be patches left by termites trying to seal their hideout from dry air to lock in humidity.
When renovating your property or cleaning around, you should be observant. Look out for damages like hollow wood, which indicates a termite problem. Contact professionals for immediate termite treatment to prevent further damages.
Frass is termite excrement that is small and tan-coloured. Usually, dry wood termites eject their faeces from their habitat through tiny holes. As a result, you will find black marks and a powdery substance around areas of infestation. Remember, the larger the frass, the larger the termite infestation.
One significant indicator of termite invasion is a faint banging or clicking sound from your walls. Soldier termites shake their bodies or bang their heads on the wall if their colony is disturbed. The banging serves as a warning to the other termites. Worker termites, on the other hand, are noisy eaters. And if you listen closely to an infested area, you will hear them chewing on wood.
A termite colony is made up of workers, alates, and soldiers. The workers are white or light brown and form the largest part of the colony. Their appearance makes people assume that termites are white ants. So, how can you tell termites and ants apart?
- Termites are white, while ants are dark or brown.
- Ants have elbowed antennae, whereas termites’ are straight.
- Termites have a less defined waist, with ants having a wasp waist.
Regardless of their differences and similarities, you should know that there is no such thing as a white ant. If you spot a ‘white ant’ around your house, then it is high time for inspection.
Tunnels In Wood
The tunnels are not easily visible from the wood’s exterior. But if you see them in a broken piece of timber around your house, it is a sign that termites are camping in your home. Several types of technology detect termite presence in tunnels, such as electronic noses, infrared detectors, and sound detectors.
Flying termites are male and female swarmers looking for mates to start a colony. Swarming is usually the first sign of termite infestation. Most swarmers fly at night and especially around sources of light. Another sign of their presence is discarded wings. Swarmers lose their wings once they find a mate.
Professional Termite Inspection
Remember, most of the above signs are visible after months or even years of termite presence. The best way to protect your home is to take insurance cover. However, most insurance policies do not cover damages caused by termites. Therefore, consider having an annual professional termite check. Professionals are trained to notice even the slightest termite activity, potentially reducing the risk of costly termite structural damage.