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How to Detect Termites in the Home?

April 7, 2016 | Termite Signs & Symptoms

how to detect termites

Termites look similar to ants but they can be highly destructive to wood. If you find them in your home, you’ll want to hire an exterminator immediately. There are ways on how to detect termites in the home, before extensive damage is done. Use a flashlight during your inspection.

Termites are in an insect formally called Isoptera, from the Blattodea classification and Infraorder rank. They are larger and more colorful than your standard ant. Their bodies are small, pale and soft. They live in colonies with many different castes, with each being assigned a working job. They prefer to live in a mound of cemented earth. They like to eat wood, trees, timber, as well as dead plants, and wood. Their mouths are capable of tearing apart woody materials, hence they cause great damage to the frame of a home. This is why it’s so important to learn how to detect termites in the home.

Termite kings and queens have wings, and can be as long as half an inch, and are black or brown in color. Worker termites are sterile and usually keep a low profile. They are one quarter inch longer, white, and wingless.

The trouble with finding termite damage is that it’s not easy to discern on the exterior of the home. Termites can burrow inside concrete or wood walls. The damage may not be apparent until the home has experienced significant damage. It’s beneficial to find the termites before they cause extensive damage.

There may be lines of mud-like material that are in a pattern that isn’t random. Termites also like to excavate a material to make it into a home, leaving only a thin layer of wood on the surface. Eventually, this layer will break off, so they will repair these holes with a mixture of soil, mud, and feces. You can visually detect this damage.

When a termite colony has gotten too large, swarmers, or flying ants, may be noticed near light sources, as they attempt to find their own home to begin a new colony. Swarming often happens in March to June of each year. Swarmers may also leave piles of wings behind. This happens when termites enter their next phase of development.

While you may find termites outdoors, you’ll still need to detect whether they have made it indoors or not. Termites will create their mud tunnels in a variety of materials. Places to look include window sill cracks, cracks and voids in the foundation and walls, inside house stucco, porches that have earth beneath them, around steps, terraces, and patios.

Should you find any suspicious mud paths or tubes, break them open to see if there are termites inside. Other damage such as buckling paint, or holes in wood may indicate an infestation.

A pest control professional can also inspect your home for potential signs of damage, should you feel you don’t know how to detect termites in the home. If termites are found, they can spray your home with pesticides to kill the termites. The sooner you detect termites in your home, the less likelihood that they’ll cause permanent damage to it.

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