5 Warning Signs of a Termite Infestation

by | Jul 17, 2015

termitesWith termite activity so common and aggressive in the Phoenix area, it’s important to understand the potential warning signs that are associated with a termite infestation.  By catching these signs early, it will help you to stop termite damage and destruction early. The longer that termites have to feast on your home, the more extensive and costly the damages become.

Detecting the presence of termites on your property is impossible if you don’t know what to look for. Below are five of the most common warning signs that will tell you it’s time to call a termite control professional.

Types of Termites in Arizona

In Phoenix, there are two main types of termites to watch out for: subterranean termites and drywood termites.

  • Subterranean Termites – The most common type of termite that residents in the southwestern states will encounter. These termites build their nests underground in the soil and travel to your home to feed on wood.
  • Drywood Termites – These termites do not need a moisture source, such as the damp soil, like subterranean termites do. They typically build their nests within the structural wood of a building or home.

Indicators of a Termite Infestation

Whether you are dealing with subterranean or drywood termites in your home, the following signs are going to be your biggest indicators to help you stop these little pests before they have a chance to cause significant amounts of damage to your home.

1. Mud Tubes

Mud tubes are created by subterranean termites. They give these termites a way to travel and a source of moisture while they make their way to the most tasty parts of your home without becoming exposed or drying out. When identifying a mud tube, you may not see any visible termites. However, if you were to disrupt the tube, you will get a glimpse of the termites scurrying back inside the tube towards safety.

Mud tubes are subterranean termites’ primary means of travel, and in all honesty are somewhat crafty in structure, much like an ant hill. These mud tubes are most visible when they are on flat and conspicuous surfaces such as walls, ceilings, floors, etc. They may also be present in the cracks and crevices of your home, so keep your eye out for those mud tubes—they are a sure sign of termites!

2. Wings and Swarmers

Swarmers are winged termites. Both subterranean and drywood termites have swarmers in their colonies. Drywood termites have smaller swarms, usually less than 100, while subterranean termites can have thousands in their swarm. These swarms, when noticed, are typically found outside, while in some cases swarmers can get inside a home as well. These swarms are often missed by homeowners, as they are usually brief and at inopportune times for the homeowner to catch them. If you miss the swarm, keep your eyes open for discarded wings around your home. This will tell you if swarmers have been around. Either way, make sure you call a termite control company ASAP if you see signs of wings or swarmers.

3. Wood Damage

Damaged wood from termitesTermites and wood damage go hand in hand. Different types of termites consume wood in different ways. Drywood termites eat across the grain of the wood, while subterranean termites eat along the grain of the wood.

Wood damage can be detected in any area around your home. There are many tools that the professionals use to inspect homes for wood damage. If you see any signs of wood damage in or around your home, it’s a likely sign of termites.

4. Holes in Paint and Flooring

While damage being done underneath the surfaces of your floors, walls, and ceiling may be extensive, you won’t be able to physically see how bad the damage is. However, what might be visible are the appearances of swollen surfaces, damaged paint, and small surface holes. The same signs that you would expect to find from water damage in a home, you will also see from termite damage; this includes a musty smell.

5. Frass

As with any other pest like rodents or insects, one of the biggest signs that termites are invading your home is by the droppings that they leave behind. Frass, or termite feces, can present itself in different ways. Subterranean termites actually use the frass as a building material for their tubes. Drywood termites leave pellets that look like small wood pieces piled up around active areas. If you find frass in or around your home, there’s probably a very good chance that you have a termite problem that needs to be addressed!

Schedule Annual Inspections to Prevent Termites

Since a homeowner’s eye for detecting termites is not very well trained, it’s important to have an actual experienced and trained professional come out to your home and take a look. It’s recommended that homeowners schedule yearly termite inspections of their home to help prevent full infestations.

Termites can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars in damages if they are left to feed on your home for an extended period of time. To avoid these costly repairs and treatments, a yearly inspection should do the trick! This will ensure that even if termites are noticed during the inspection, it’s likely that the damage will be minimal. At Arizona’s Best Choice Pest and Termite Services, we offer free termite inspections and top-notch termite treatments if needed.

Between inspections, make sure you are paying close attention to the 5 warning signs of a termite infestation that were mentioned above. If you happen to notice one of these signs, call a professional termite control company immediately so they can do a thorough inspection of your home and help you decide on a plan of action to tackle your termite problem before it gets any worse.


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