6 Subtle Signs You Have Termites

Termites can wreak havoc on the structure of homes, and in some cases, the damage caused by these troublesome insects can leave homes uninhabitable. Identifying termites, themselves, can be difficult because they are so small and are often mistaken for ants. As such, you may not even know that you have termites until they have caused a significant amount of damage to your home. Fortunately, there are some subtle signs you can look for to determine whether or not you have termites, and they are described briefly in the following sections.

1. Light-Colored “Ants”

If you have noticed light-colored “ants” around your house, you may want to take a closer look. As mentioned above, some people mistake termites for ants; however, there are some distinct differences between the two insects. While there are many different types of ants that come in a variety of colors, there are no light-colored ants. Termites, on the other hand, are typically light-colored. Depending on the type of termite, these insects are often white, cream-colored, or translucent.

2. Hollow-Sounding Wood

A type of termite known as the drywood termite eats wood from the inside out. This often leaves just a thin casing of wood and in severe cases, the insects leave only the outer paint. You can check for such a situation by gently knocking on wooden areas of your house. If your knock results in a hollow sound, you very well may have a termite problem. In a worse-case scenario, when you knock on a wooden area, you may find that you knock a hole into the wood.

3. Black Marks on the Exterior of Wood

You may have seen a dark, powdery substance on the wood of your home and mistaken it for dust or debris. This is actually a common misconception. Nevertheless, this substance should not be ignored. The fecal matter of termites, which is known as frass, appears as a dark, powdery substance that leaves black marks on the exterior of wood. This is because when some types of termites relieve themselves, they push the droppings out of various entrances to their tunnels.

4. Tight-Fitting Windows and Doors

If you are like many other homeowners who have tight-fitting windows and doors, you may think that the cause is attributed to moisture. And in some cases, you may be right. But another common cause of tight-fitting windows and doors is a termite infestation. The way this happens is when termites feed on wood, the saliva that they leave on that wood creates moisture that can make the wood of doors and window frames warp. This, in turn, will make them hard to open and close.

5. Small Piles of Discarded Wings

Another sign that you may have a termite problem consists of small piles of discarded wings left around wooden areas of your home. Flying termites, known as swarmers, have two sets of wings of equal size. After these termites locate mates, they shed their wings. Ants differ in this area in two ways: they have two sets of wings too but of differing sizes, and they do not shed their wings. With that said, if you find a small pile of discarded wings around any wooden areas of your home, you probably have termites.

6. Clicking Sounds Coming from Walls

This sign can be a bit hard to distinguish from the scratching sounds that mice make within walls. However, if you listen more closely, you can notice a slight difference in the scratching sounds made from mice and the clicking sounds created by termites. Worker termites (those that actually eat the wood of your home) create these sounds as they consume the wood. Soldier termites (those that protect the colony) create clicking sounds when they bang themselves against the wood in an effort to alert the colony to various dangers.

Keeping your home safe from termites is not an easy endeavor. But there are several subtle signs that you can look for to determine whether or not your home is infested. Taking note of the six signs described above can help you to identify a termite infestation and eliminate it before it becomes a costly problem.

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