• How to Detect Termites Early

Termites can cause extreme structural damage to a home, serious financial damage to a homeowner’s bank account, and unhealthy levels of stress to residents. These unwanted pests, on average each year, damage roughly 600,000 homes in the United States.

While annual inspections can help you detect signs of an infestation, only looking for termites once per year could mean that damage is happening right under your nose for months at a time. Knowing how to detect termites early can help you catch infestations early, avoid damage, and prevent costly repairs.

What Do Termites Look Like?

In a single termite colony, there could be anywhere from a few hundred to a few million individual insects. Not all of those insects look alike, even if they belong to the same species. Depending on where they’re at in the life cycle and what their caste is, they could have very different characteristics from the other termites in their nest. The main castes in a colony include:

  • Nymphs: This is the youngest stage of the termite life cycle, right after they hatch. They look a lot like workers, but they have softer bodies and are generally much smaller. 
  • Workers: This caste typically makes up the majority of the nest. They often have a creamy white body that is very square in shape, unlike ants that have narrower waists. Worker termites also have straight antennae. 
  • Swarmers: Swarmers are the reproductive-age termites, and they’re what you’re most likely to come across when wandering outside. They are darker in color and look very similar to winged ants. However, unlike ants, they have straight antennae, a thick waist, and wings of equal size. 
  • Queens: While some termite colonies have just one queen, many have multiple—which is why it’s so hard to get rid of these pests. Queens are much larger than the workers and almost resemble creamy-white slugs or worms. They spend most of the day laying eggs to expand the colony.

Signs of Termite Activity

Since termites rarely leave their colony, it’s a lot more likely that you’ll come across signs of their activity—including wood damage—long before coming across a live insect. Knowing what to look for could help you spot an infestation far earlier than waiting for your annual inspection. Here are some of the most common signs of termites and where you might find them.

1. Mud Tubes

Termites need specific humidity levels to survive, so they cover themselves in damp soil whenever they wander from place to place. This leaves behind a trail of “mud tubes”, which usually connect wooden areas to the soil. 

By inspecting the areas of your house where it meets the ground, you’ll be able to identify any of these mud tubes that can lead to a termite infestation. The tubes are usually shaped like a pencil and help block out dry, cool air, making your home a better place for termites to live. 

If you discover a mud tube that looks like it hasn’t been used in a long time, you can remove a middle section of the tube and leave the rest of it intact. If termites are still active in your house, they will rebuild the middle section and continue on.

2. Leftover Termite Wings

Termites usually swarm in the warm spring weather to find mates and establish new colonies. If you come across swarmers, these pests are likely hiding out in or near your home. However, even if you don’t come across live termite swarmers, you may find their discarded wings instead. 

Discarded termite wings are typically found near points of access around your home. You should check the areas around each window, door, and any other home-access points. This is a great warning sign of termite presence in your home, so if you notice a significant amount of discarded termite wings, you should seek professional help immediately.

3. “Kick-out Holes”

Unlike subterranean termites, which need moisture to survive and are known for building mud tubes, drywood termites don’t have to surround themselves with soil. So, they’re able to squeeze the wood with their gut and get moisture out of it that way. These holes aren’t actually called termite holes, technically. They’re called “kick-out holes.” 

The wood kicked out looks like mustard seeds, and you can see grooves where their gut has squeezed out the moisture. If you’re wondering if what you’re looking at could be termite holes (or kick-out holes), look for a pile of these tiny wood seeds on the floor. Chances are you’ll be sweeping them up for months before you realize you could have a termite problem on your hands.

What Does Termite Damage Look Like?

When it comes to termite infestations, most people are worried about the damage that these pests are causing. While it’s never a good idea to wait until you see actual termite damage to take action, keeping an eye out for it can help you quickly identify problem areas should they crop up. Termite damage typically looks like:

  • Cracks on wooden structures like walls, beams, and stairs
  • Weak floorboards or sagging wooden floors
  • Cracking, warping, or bubbling paint
  • Areas that look water-damaged, but without moisture
  • Broken roof tiles
  • Doors and windows that don’t fit the frame anymore

Especially in the early stages of an infestation, it’s often pretty challenging to spot termite damage with a naked eye. That’s why it’s important to keep up on your annual inspections; professionals use a wide variety of tools to detect termite activity deep inside of your walls, which will keep this type of damage from spreading throughout your home.

Protect Your Home From Termites

Wondering if termites have invaded your home? Or perhaps it’s time for that annual termite inspection? At Dixon Pest Services, protecting your space from termites is our specialty. With 60 years of trusted service in Thomasville, we’re equipped to tackle any termite challenge. Rely on our expertise to detect signs of damage early on, ensuring your peace of mind year-round. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late – reach out today to learn more about our effective termite control solutions or schedule your appointment today.

How to Detect Termites Early in Thomasville, GA

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