If you run a business in the U.S., there's a possibility you'll have to deal with termites at some point. With billions of dollars in property damage done every single year, termites are equal opportunity destroyers—if there is wood in the structure of your business, you're susceptible. That's why it's so important to stay vigilant and know what to look for. Here's how to identify and track termite damage so you can stop an infestation in its tracks before it takes over your business.
Identifying the signs of termites
Did you know a single termite can squeeze into your business through a crack as small as 1/32nd of an inch? Since termites spend most of their time within the inner walls of a structure, by the time you notice their presence, there might already be extensive damage and a large infestation to deal with.
The sooner you realize there's a problem, the sooner you can act. The best way to track termites is to keep an eye out for these signs in and around your business:
Hollow sounding wood
Termites feed on wood from the inside out, hollowing it out over time and leaving only a thin layer of wood behind. When you tap on the wood it will make a hollow sound—a tell-tale sign of termites.
Tight fitting windows and doors
As termites tunnel through door and window frames, they bring moisture with them, causing the frames to warp. That means windows and doors that used to open easily may become stiff or get stuck.
With a rampant termite infestation, you might notice:
- Bubbling wallpaper
- Bulging sheetrock
- Paint or wallpaper denting inward
- Baseboards showing cracks or holes
- Sinking ceilings
- Dipping floorboards
- Evidence of swarms
Often, the first sign of a termite infestation is the presence of swarmers, also known as alates. In the reproductive stage, these bugs are on a mission to find a mate and establish a colony.
Alates will lose their wings shortly after mating, so if you suspect you may have termites, keep an eye out for piles of discarded wings which are about 6mm to 9mm in length and range in color from colorless and translucent to gray or brown.
To get from the nest to the food source, subterranean termites will build “mud tubes" that look like trails of soil. Usually about the width of a pencil and tubular, mud tubes can be found on a range of different surfaces from concrete walls to metal siding. Mud tubes can also be in less visible places like under baseboards and below flooring.
Subterranean termites—the most common type in the U.S.—build their nests underground and create mud tubes to travel towards a building. If you break up a mud tube and it gets rebuilt, that's a clear sign there are active termites in your building. Mud tubes are also helpful in pinpointing the exact locations the termites are travelling between.
While some other signs may be up for interpretation, if you see an actual termite (or multiple), chances are high there are many more inside the walls. Adult termites are about the size of common house ants and can be white, yellow-brown or black.
Learn more about how our Commercial Termite Treatment can help protect your business.
What to do if you notice termite damage
Termites are difficult to eradicate without a comprehensive strategy. That's why calling a commercial pest control company is the best course of action. An experienced pest control technician will start by evaluating the property and making note of all the signs listed above in order to track activity before recommending a termite control strategy.
Our technicians are trained to spot termite signs that you may not notice and can create a solution customized for your region, business, and operational needs. We'll be sure to come up with a plan that involves minimal disruption to your business and includes a plan for periodic monitoring and continued protection.
Termite control starts with four easy steps. When a Terminix Commercial termite specialist visits your facility, they will do the following:
- Determine how they entered the building
- Evaluate the extent of the damage
- Develop and execute the best treatment plan
Safeguard the property against future infestations
Ready for us to step in? Call us at 877.837.6464 to schedule a free, no-obligation assessment.