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How To Identify A Termite Infestation

Termites are relentless pests that can cause extensive timber damage to homes and structures if left unchecked. Therefore, identifying a termite infestation early is crucial in minimising damage and preventing costly repairs and disruptions. In this guide, we will explore some of the key signs of termite infestations.

Table of Contents

Signs Of A Termite Infestation

Timber Damage: Termites feed on the cellulose found in wood, and as they consume the internal portions of wooden structures, they leave only a thin layer of wood on the surface. Their presence is often detected in door and window frames or skirting boards when hollow or empty sounds become apparent or due to the absence of solid wood, holes appear or are created by contact, often from hands, feet or vacuum cleaners.

Mud Tubes: Subterranean termites build mud tubes to provide moisture and protection while they travel between their colony and food sources. These tubes are typically brittle and are made of soil, wood particles and termite saliva. Check for mud tubes along foundations, walls or other surfaces in contact with the ground. These tubes are usually about the width of a pencil and can extend vertically or horizontally.

Discarded Wings: Winged termites, known as swarmers or alates, are reproductive termites that emerge to mate and establish new colonies. If you notice discarded wings around your property, particularly near windowsills or other light sources, it could indicate the presence of a termite infestation, especially during the spring or summer months. Swarmers are attracted to sources of light and may be seen swarming near windows, light fixtures, or other areas with bright illumination.

Bubbling or Warped Paint: As termites consume wood, moisture can accumulate and cause paint to bubble or warp. If you notice unusual bulges or distortions in your paintwork, it could be an indication of termite activity beneath the surface.

Sagging Floors or Ceilings: In severe cases of termite infestation, the structural integrity of a building can be compromised. If you observe sagging or buckling in your floors or ceilings, it may be a result of extensive termite damage. This should be considered a serious sign of a potential collapse that requires immediate attention.

Clicking, Buzzing or Tapping Sounds: Although termites are generally silent pests, when a colony is large and well-established, you may hear faint clicking sounds coming from the infested area. These noises are caused by the termites communicating by banging their heads, chewing and moving through the properties wood structures.

A Case Of Mistaken Identity

While it pays to be vigilant when it comes to termite infestations, it’s also important to note that some signs commonly associated with termites may have alternative explanations and actually be caused by something else altogether:

Flying Ants: Flying ants are often mistaken for termite swarmers due to their similar appearance. Both insects have wings, but there are distinguishing features that can help you differentiate between the two. Termites have straight antennae, equal-length wings, and a broad waist, while flying ants have elbowed antennae, wings of different lengths, and a narrow waist. If you encounter flying insects in your home, it’s advisable to carefully examine their physical characteristics to determine whether they are termites or flying ants.

Carpenter Ants: Carpenter ants are large ants that build nests inside wood, typically dead or damp wood. They build galleries by chewing the wood and discarding a material that resembles sawdust outside their nest, unlike termites, they do not consume the wood.

Borers: Borers are beetles whose larvae live and feed within timber and have the potential pose significant risk to the structural integrity those timbers. Borers are identified by visual sighting of small exit holes in the timber and frass but live borers are rarely seen.

Great Carpenter Bees: Carpenter bees are large, solitary insects that bore into wood to create nesting tunnels. The appearance of perfectly round holes in wooden structures may lead homeowners to believe they have a termite infestation. However, carpenter bees leave clean, smooth holes without any mud or debris around the entrance. They also tend to hover around the holes they’ve created. If you notice round holes in wood and observe bees hovering nearby, it’s likely a case of carpenter bees rather than termites.

Water Damage: Water damage can cause wood to become weakened, discoloured, or distorted, leading some homeowners to mistakenly assume they have a termite problem. It’s important to differentiate between termite damage and water damage. Termite-damaged wood typically has a hollow sound when tapped, whereas water-damaged wood may feel soft or spongy. Additionally, water damage is often accompanied by signs of moisture, such as mould or mildew growth and a musty odour.

Fungal Decay: Fungal-decay is caused by any species of fungus that digests moist wood, causing it to rot. Some species of wood-decay fungi attack dead wood and some are parasitic and colonize living trees. Fungal decay is identified visually and is often found in conjunction with insect Timber Pest damage.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!

If you suspect a termite infestation, don’t delay. Contact Surekil Pest Control today for a comprehensive termite inspection. Our experts will identify the extent of the infestation and recommend the most suitable treatment plan to protect your home or business. Early detection and professional intervention are key to mitigating termite damage. Trust Surekil Pest Control for reliable termite management and safeguard your property now and into the future.