Termites are extremely destructive pests. While there are various species of termites, it's estimated that subterranean termites cause as much as $5 billion each year in damages to homes and other structures. Homeowners with termite damage can expect to spend an average of $8,500 in repairs.
Recognizing the signs of a termite infestation as early as possible is critical in treating termites and minimizing costly damage. Learn more about termite infestation signs and what a termite infestation looks like.
What is a termite infestation?
A termite infestation is when a colony of termites takes up residence in a home or other man-made structure. An infestation must be addressed quickly to avoid mounting damages to property.
A termite's diet primarily consists of cellulose, which is found in wood, paper, and cardboard. In nature, termites help to clean up dead trees and other plant material, feeding off of the cellulose in these organisms. However, when present in homes and structures, a termite's appetite for cellulose can cause serious damage.
What are the signs of a termite infestation?
Termites can become a damaging and expensive problem if you don't take care of them quickly. Left unchecked, they can damage the structural integrity of your home. If you suspect that you have an active termite infestation in your home, you can verify this by conducting a visual inspection, or calling in a termite control professional to determine the nature of your problem.
Some of the signs of a termite infestation that you'll want to look for include:
- Mud tubes. Termites build these tunnels as a sort of highway for them to get around. Check the foundation of your home and look for mud tubes that extend across floor joists and support beams as these are also ideal feeding spots for hungry termites.
- Freshly damaged wood. Termites tunnel their way through wood, consuming the cellulose to produce energy. In their wake, they leave behind tunnels within the wood that can compromise its structural integrity.
- Blistered wood flooring. If your hardwood floors are beginning to blister, there's a chance that termites are to blame. They may be feeding on the wood beneath your floors.
- Termites with wings. A sure sign of termite activity is a swarm of winged termites, or alates. These termites are only present once a colony has matured and intends to grow. Even if you don't see winged termites, you can still tell if they're present. After a termite colony swarms, the swarmers will lose their wings as they move on to their new nest leaving behind ample evidence in the form of piles of discarded wings.
- Live termites. This is one of the hardest signs to spot, but if you actually see termites, you have a problem. They can be found in the soil around your home, in rotting or damp wood components of your house, or anywhere on your property where they can feed on organic matter that contains cellulose.
What does a termite infestation look like?
Depending on the type of species of termite you're dealing with, a termite infestation may look slightly different. However, if you're noticing soft or hollow-sounding wood, blistered floors, or mud tubes (small holes in the wood that termites plug with mud) around your home, these are some telltale signs of a termite infestation.
You may not realize it, but a termite colony is a very complex social network consisting of a queen, workers, soldiers and other reproductive termites. Depending on the species and each termite's social status, a termite's life cycle can last anywhere from 2 to 50 years. A colony of termites can have over a million individual members, all hungrily chomping away at any wood they get close to.
How do I treat a termite infestation?
While it's important to take immediate action to treat a termite infestation, it's equally important to be careful about the type of treatments you use in and around your home. Different termite species have different behaviors and treatment should be specific to the species you're targeting. Using the wrong DIY or over-the-counter termite solutions can often be ineffective and potentially dangerous. The best course of action is to call a termite control professional to help diagnose your problem and recommend proper treatment.
Schedule a professional termite inspection and today
The most effective way to treat a termite infestation in your home is with the help of a termite control professional. That's where Terminix comes in. We have 90+ years of experience in dealing with these household pests. Our experienced pest and termite control professionals know exactly what to do to find and help eliminate even the worst termite infestations.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation termite inspection. We'll send one of our termite control specialists to take a look around and to talk with you about your termite problem. Your termite control professional will then work with you to develop a personalized treatment program that's designed to help eliminate your termite problem and protect your home from these destructive pests for years to come.