When it comes to spotting the signs of termite damage, time is of the essence; otherwise, your entire home could fall into disrepair within one or two days. But how do you know what counts as termite damage? How do you tell it from the simple aging signs of homes?
Here are some of the most common signs of termite damage that help you quickly spot termites as the culprit and get you to act fast in their extermination:
1. Shelter Tunnels
One of the first signs of a termite infestation is the appearance of tunnels on wooden surfaces. These tunnels are created by termites chewing their way in and out of homes. Sometimes, there will be mud, soil, and feces along the tunnels to retain the moisture termites need to survive. You should be able to identify them by their thin, irregular shape.
2. Excavated Wood
If you see large holes and craters in firewood piles and tree stumps, they are clear signs of termite damage. Take it a step further by pressing on the wood; if it crumbles, termites were definitely the cause.
What most people don't realize is that even if wood looks solid and whole on the outside, termites usually devour structures from within. This is why it's important to test the surface of suspected termite-damaged areas rather than simply looking over it to determine their presence.
3. Smell of Mold
Subterranean termites, or termites that dwell in the ground, need to stay in areas with high levels of moisture, which is why infestations can sometimes reek of mold or mildew. If you start experiencing water damage and tunnels visible in the walls near bathrooms or sinks, these are probably signs of subterranean termites.
4. Buckling Paint
Painted walls, ceilings, or floors with buckling paint are additional signs of termite damage. This occurs when termites invade the wood and push the paint up. Likewise, buckling paint may have small holes where termites break through to reach the wood.
5. Live Termites
Of course, the most tell-tale sign of termite damage is the appearance of actual termites. Both subterranean and drywood termites resemble ants, only larger with white, translucent bodies and longer antennae. Adult termites will also have wings which are used for traveling between colonies for mating purposes. Swarms are most likely to occur during warmer temperatures and heavy rain.
Remember, if you see any of the above signs of termite damage, there's a good chance the damage has already spread. Contact a local pest exterminator to have your entire home evaluated by a professional who can device a termite control plan to keep your home's foundation standing strong