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5 Ways to Tell if You Have Termites

November 13th, 2015 - Category: Termite Solutions, The Bug Blog

The Monsoon season brings with it many things…the smell of creosote wafts through the air, the temperature drops like a rock and the sunsets are unrivaled because of the clouds our seasonal rains bring. Along with the rain, Southern Arizona also sees a huge increase in Subterranean Termite activity.

The Tucson area, and much of Arizona, sits on one of the most active subterranean termite belts in the United States. Termite invasions are incredibly common in local homes, yet many homeowners do not recognize the signs until the infestation becomes severe. Only a professional inspection can make a positive identification, but it is important to keep an eye out for the telltale signs of a termite invasion. Here are 5 things to watch out for.

1. Swarming

Swarming is one of the most obvious signs of termites, though it happens so fast that you could miss it if you don’t happen to be home. Every spring, reproductive termites emerge in huge numbers, eager to mate and form new colonies. If you have an active infestation, you could actually see a swarm inside your home. If you see swarming outdoors in your neighborhood, you know that termites are active nearby, and it is important to have your home inspected. As the name suggests, a swarm is a cloud of winged termites that fly very close together. They resemble winged ants, so it is important to get a positive identification.

2. Wood Damage

Termites eat wood, but the damage can be difficult to see. This is because they typically consume the wood from the inside out. You might spot visible damage at structural load bearing points, but it is usually easier to detect by gently knocking on the wood with the handle of a screwdriver. Listen for a hollow, resonating sound, and gently probe any hollow-sounding spots with a pen knife to look for tunnels. Be careful, as termite-eaten wood can crumble and split apart at the slightest provocation.

3. Mud Tubes

Subterranean termites build mud tubes to provide moisture while they search for food. Look for tunnels approximately the same width as a pencil on hard surfaces. Pay close attention to your home’s foundation, as well as the water pipes and the basement walls. If you find a tube, cut off a small piece and crack it open. If you don’t find termites, wait a few days. If there is an active infestation, the termites will repair the breach. Termites also use mud to patch small holes and cracks near their colony. Check holes and imperfect spots around the foundation for unusual bits of dried mud.

4. Wings and Debris

Swarming termites lose their wings very quickly, usually within 900 feet of their original colony. Carefully examine your windowsills, floors, and other flat surfaces for piles of termite wings. If you find wings, save them to show your termite inspector for identification. Termites also leave behind bits of sawdust and other debris. If you have noticed odd bits of dirt and dust, especially on or near door frames or other wooden structures, a termite infestation might be the cause.

5. Moisture and Cracking

Like any other invading pest, termites prefer locations that provide easy access to the things they need for survival. Although these elements do not necessarily mean that you have termites, standing water near your home and a cracking foundation create a hospitable environment that can make it more likely for an infestation to occur. Be proactive by sealing cracks and rerouting downspouts to drain water away from your home.

Termites are extremely invasive pests that can cause a great deal of damage to your home. Many people do not discover an infestation until it has been active for many years, leading to very expensive repairs. If you do have termites, it is nearly impossible to eradicate them on your own.

To protect your home, it is important to have regular termite inspections and to treat any infestations right away. In between inspections, keep an eye out for these common signs, and call your termite inspector for positive identification if you suspect a possible invasion. A professional can treat your infestation and halt the damage to your home, but the longer you put off treatment, the worse the problem will become.

With more than 40 years of service and a Tucson family legacy that stretches four generations, University Termite & Pest Control is well prepared to meet even the trickiest termite challenges. Give us a call today at 520-886-4146 (Tucson) or at 800-887-4146 (toll-free) to schedule your free, no-obligation inspection.

Learn more about termites:
Wood You Like To Be My Neighbor
10 Things You Must Know About Termites In Arizona
Subterranean Termite Treatment Products
What Can Homeowners Do to Prevent Termites?

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