The word “termite” can strike fear into any homeowner: These tiny insects, once established in a given area, are capable of doing an immense amount of damage. If you live in a warm climate, termites can do more than just harm your home, too: Drywood termites, which are found throughout the Southern United States, are notorious destroyers of furniture.
Saving Furniture Before It’s Too Late: Recognizing The Signs Of Drywood Termites
Termites can be difficult to detect as, unlike many other types of wood-boring insect, their activities make no sound—you can’t actually hear them eating away at wood. However, as early intervention is key to saving your furniture from destruction, it’s important to learn to recognize the many subtle signs of termites in furniture, which include:
- A “hollow” sound when you tap on the wood parts of your furniture. Try gently the hitting the wood in your furniture with a metal instrument—if the sound returned has a “hollow” note to it, it’s likely that you have termites. The hollowness you’re hearing is caused by the many tunnels they burrow throughout the wood.
- The presence of raised “tunnel” structures. Look at the wooden sections of your furniture and see if you can identify the presence of slightly raised tunnels. Usually about the width of a pencil, these tunnels are made of the termites’ saliva, fecal matter, soil, and other byproducts.
- The presence of fecal matter. Termites leave behind piles of tiny, light-to golden-brown colored fecal pellets, which can usually be seen either under infested furniture or in holes and crevices in the wood of the furniture. Drywood Termite feces is characterized by its distinctive elongated shape, which is rounded on either side, and its flattened surfaces.
- The presence of shed wings. Termites often form “swarms” which include winged individuals. These “swarmers” shed their wings periodically, so if you find clusters of silvery wings littering your home, it’s probable that you have termites.
- The presence of sawdust. While just the presence of sawdust alone is not enough to verify a termite infestation, when it is seen along with the other signs on this list, it’s a likely indicator that your furniture is home to a termite colony.
If you find evidence of termites in one piece of furniture, note that it is extremely important to check your other pieces of furniture as well as the infestation may have spread. In order to effectively get rid of termites, you will need to have all areas where they are present treated; if you do not, the colony can often simply re-establish itself.