When termites explore their way through wood, drywall or any other fibrous material that may be inside your home, they sometimes open a tiny hole to the outside world. These small ‟termite holes” are almost immediately capped with soil particles or other materials termites have readily available.
They do this as soon as the termite hole presents no more food-gathering opportunities. This keeps the temperature and humidity in their workspace under control. If they decide to work on the surface of the material they’ve created the holes through, they immediately start building mud tunnels to protect themselves as they explore the area around the new termite holes.
WHAT ARE EXIT HOLES?
Exit holes are small markings in wood, drywall and other building material that are created by certain types of termites just before mating season. Some of these holes are used as escape routes by flying termites for their first flight out of the nest. After flying termites escape, a nymph termite will cover the hole again using a brown, plaster-like substance made of feces, soil and wood particles.
DISTINGUISHING TERMITE EXIT HOLES
Beetles and carpenter bees also leave behind exit holes in wood, but beetles rarely cover them up and carpenter bees never do. The best way to distinguish other holes from a termite hole is by the size and the substance used to cover the hole. Other wood-destroying insects such as carpenter ants and acrobat ants typically leave behind larger holes and use frass, a powdery-like substance similar to sawdust, to re-cover the hole. A termite exit hole will be round, one-eighth inch or smaller and filled with a brown, plaster-like substance.
Exit holes made by termites are usually found in dry wood during the spring and summer months when it becomes warm enough for termites to leave the nest. While termite-mating season typically takes place during this time, flying termites may leave the nest much earlier if the temperature is warm. This means that homeowners who live in warmer areas such as Florida can experience more than one cycle of termite swarms in a year.
Termite exit holes are small and hard to find. The best way to protect your home from a termite infestation is to call a professional pest management company. Large companies offer termite protection plans that can save both time and money.