How do you know if you have termites?

In Southern California, we have the perfect environment for termites. There are two types that are found in this area: drywood and subterranean termites. Drywood termites burrow into your walls and furniture, or anywhere above ground, while subterranean termites burrow into your foundation or basement if you have one.

Termite damage is one of the leading causes of damage to wood structures so catching it early is important to keeping the cost of extermination down. Checking for termites should be a part of your home inspection when you buy a house so you’re not surprised by it later. Read through the 6 signs of termite infestation to decide if your home and/or furniture is housing termites. 

1. Piles of termite frass in or around the home.

Termite droppings, also known as frass, are tiny pellets the color of wood and are found near the termite’s entry site. If you find a pile of dropping inside or outside your home, there are termites nearby. Termite feces on its own may not mean you have a termite infestation but it means there are termites in the area.

2. Piles of discarded wings on your property.

After termites swarm, or reproduce and find a new nest, they shed their wings. The little wings look like fish scales and are usually piled together like termite frass. Similarly, a pile of discarded wings doesn’t necessarily mean you have a termite infestation but termites are nearby and could end up in your home next.

3. Cracked or distorted paint.

Damage to paint on the walls is one sign of termites but it can also be a sign of water damage. If you see damage to the paint paired with any of the other signs of termites, you might have a major infestation on your hands. Termites need water to survive so it’s highly likely that the damage to the paint is a result of termites bringing moisture into your home’s wood.

4. Mud tubes along external walls

To protect the colony from external dangers like weather and predators, termites build mud tubes made of mud, dirt, and saliva to and from a source of food. If you start seeing small mud tubes along your external walls, you have termites. If you start seeing them inside your home, you’ve let the termites really settle into your home.

5. Cracks or tiny holes in the walls or foundation

If you find piles of termite frass and wings around your property and your home’s foundation and/or walls have holes or cracks of any size, it’s highly likely that termites have nestled into your home. Termites can get into very small openings and begin burrowing throughout your home or wood furniture.

6. Sagging floors and hollow wood

Termites burrow into wood in a honeycomb pattern without ever coming to the surface. This makes it hard to detect an infestation visually, but it significantly weakens the wood. This causes wood floors to weaken and sag and wood beams in walls to sound hollow. If you suspect a termite infestation, walk around your home and tap on the walls to check for hollowness. If you’re ok with causing a little damage to termite infested walls, take a screwdriver and press it lightly into wood that may be infested. If it sinks easily into the weakened wood, call an exterminator.

Catching a termite infestation early on can save you stress and money. A bad infestation can deteriorate your home’s infrastructure dramatically, which can lead to a need for renovations. Keep the above 6 signs in mind and If you notice that your home is infested with termites, call an exterminator near you immediately.

If you are a homeowner preparing to sell your home and you notice a termite infestation, talk to your First Team real estate agent for pest control recommendations near you. An agent will know the best pest control companies in the area so you don’t have to worry about working with a subpar company.

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