When it comes to destructive insects, termites are some of the worst. In fact, termites are considered the single most destructive insect pest in homes across the United States. They can cause thousands of dollars in damage to not only a home’s external structure but also the contents inside it. Fortunately, early detection and treatment are possible if you know what to look for.
Regardless of where you live, it’s essential to know the early warning signs of termites. By catching termites early, you may be able to save yourself a lot of money and avoid further damage to your home.
In today’s article, we are going to talk about the early signs of termites and how you can stop these pests from wreaking havoc on your home immediately.
But First, Let’s Talk About Termites
Termites are small insects that are often confused for ants.
Termites are small insects that live in colonies in the soil. Termites eat cellulose, which is found in wood and other plant materials. In order to digest cellulose, termites have special bacteria in their guts that help them break down this material into simpler forms of sugar they can digest. This process is called decomposition. Even a small colony of termites can cause significant structural damage to your home.
Termites can cause extensive damage not only to buildings but also to other structures such as decks and fences if left untreated or uncontrolled. They feed on wood from the inside out, which makes them particularly destructive. A single colony of termites can eat up to 40 grams of wood every day, which means that if there is an established nest in your home it could consume quite a bit of your timber within just 12 months!
Though widely considered a single pest, termites are actually not a single species, but a group of related species. In the United States, there are about 45 different kinds of termites. These termites fall into three subcategories including subterranean termites, dry wood termites, and damp wood termites.
Subterranean Termites – Subterranean termites live underground, usually in areas of high moisture, such as along streams and rivers. These termites build permanent nests that are made of soil, sand, and clay. The workers go to the surface to find their food source. They nest in wood but do not eat it. When they find a good spot, they bring back soil and mud to create tubes and chambers for themselves. The queen lives in the central chamber of the nest and lays eggs for her colony.
Termites can survive for long periods without food if there is moisture present in the wood they are feeding on. They will also build their nests near sources of water so they can drink from them when necessary.
Dry Wood Termites -Dry wood termites are the most common type of termite in the United States. They can be found in both tropical and non-tropical areas, but are more common in drier climates. The dry wood termite is responsible for most damage to timber structures throughout the United States, including damage to houses, fences, and outdoor furniture.
These pests live in the soil below a building or structure and eat the wood from the inside out. When they find a source of moisture such as an electrical conduit or plumbing pipe, they will often follow it back to its source and enter through cracks in the wall or floor. Once inside, they tunnel through the wood to get to their food source, which is cellulose (a type of sugar found in all plants). These tiny insects can be seen as they move along tunnels with their body raised above ground level. You may also see small piles of sawdust around their holes when they are feeding on your home’s structure.
Damp Wood Termites – Damp wood termites are also known as “rotten wood” or “ground” termites. They normally live in the ground, but they can also nest in wood structures such as cabins, sheds, and homes. These termites are light brown in color with orange heads and bodies. The queen is larger than other members of the colony, measuring around 0.65 inches long.
Damp soil termites live under the ground in moist soil areas such as flowerbeds or lawns where there is enough moisture for them to survive year-round without needing to go into their nests in search of water during dry weather conditions.
Why You Might Have Termites In Your Home
Older homes or homes with lots of wood furniture or wood interior may be more attractive to termites.
It is not uncommon for homeowners to come home from a trip and find little piles of dirt on their floors. They may even notice that their furniture or baseboards have been nibbled away by tiny insects. These are all some early warning signs of termites in your home. But why might you have termites in your home, and is there something about your home that makes it more appealing to these insects than other homes in your neighborhood?
Actually, the answer is yes. If termites have chosen your home over other homes to target, chances are there is something about your home that is attracting them.
The first attractant to termites is wood. Termites love wood (and they’re not picky), so if your home is made out of wood instead of stucco or brick, you may be providing a smorgasbord for termites. If you have a lot of wood in your home as well, like wood banisters, wood walls, wood beams along your ceiling, or even wood furniture, it’s more likely that you’ll have termites coming around looking for a meal.
Another attractant to termites could be the type of soil your home is built on. If you live in an area where the soil is sandy or acidic, this could also make your home more susceptible to termites. Termites like these types of soils because they’re easier for them to burrow in and move around in.
Termites are attracted to moisture as well, so if there’s water damage in your home or leaks near the foundation, this can lead to a termite infestation.
Older homes have also been found to be more susceptible to termites, most commonly because they are made of wood or wooden structures, and they have often experienced some sort of water leak at one point or another that could have made the home more vulnerable to termite attacks.
But while termites in homes can be annoying and even expensive, are they dangerous to your health?
Termites are considered one of the most destructive pests in the world, as we mentioned above. They can cause damage to homes, furniture, and other structures by eating wood. This often goes undetected until serious damage has already been done.
With that said, termites are not immediately dangerous to people or pets. They only feed on dead wood and other cellulose materials. They do not eat living trees or shrubs, so they are not typically dangerous for gardens either.
However, they can be dangerous over time if they cause enough structural damage to your home. A home that has severe termite damage may not be safe to live in and should be immediately repaired by an expert.
The good news is that there are early warning signs of termites that indicate you may have a termite problem before it gets out of hand. If you know what to look for, it’s possible to get rid of termites before they cause significant damage.
Below are some of the most common early warning signs that you have a termite infestation:
- Walls That Appear To Have Water Damage
- Drooping Drywall
- Hollow Sounding Wood
- Groaning Or Squeaking Floor Boards
- Windows Or Doors That Stick
- Patterns In Wood That Look like Mazes
- Loosened Tiles From Bath Tubs, Sinks, Or Floors
- Small holes In Wood Or Drywall
- Damaged Wood That Appears To Be Crumbling
- Swarms Of Flying Insects That Look Like Ants
Let’s learn more about the early warning signs of termites.
1. Walls That Appear To Have Water Damage
Peeling paint or what looks like water damage could be a sign that termites are nearby.
Termites eat wood, but they also like to live in it. If your home has wooden siding and the paint is flaking or peeling off, this could be a warning sign of termite infestation. Termites often chew on the interior side of the siding or wallboard to create homes for themselves; if they do this, the paint will show signs of peeling or flaking on the exterior side.
This can also happen if you have water leaks inside your house — water leaks can cause mold growth, which will eventually lead to peeling paint on walls inside your home as well.
If you actually do have water damage on the walls or ceilings of your home, it could be due to a leaking roof or plumbing problem. However, if these leaks continue for several months without getting fixed, it could be an indication of a serious problem with your foundation walls and basement floors. Termites love damp conditions so they often build their colonies inside walls where they can find plenty of moisture to survive on.
2. Drooping Drywall
Drywall that appears to be drooping or slumping could be another early warning sign of these pests.
If you notice that your drywall is starting to droop or sag, it could be an early warning sign of termites. Termites will attack wood and cause it to rot, which can result in sagging drywall.
This occurs when termites tunnel through wood materials like drywall and eat away at it from the inside out. The resulting holes cause the drywall to droop or bend downward from the weight of the material above them. As a result, homeowners often notice sagging ceilings and walls when walking through their homes.
If you have any sagging or cracked drywall in your home, there are several things you can do to make sure that the problem does not get worse. The first thing to do is contact an exterminator. The exterminator will be able to tell if termites are eating away at your home and how much damage has been done already. The exterminator will also give you advice on how to fix the problem and prevent further damage from occurring.
3. Hollow Sounding Wood
Termites consume wood from the inside out, as the above log shows. This leaves behind a hollow sound.
Another one of the early warning signs of termites is hollow-sounding wood. This is when a piece of wood sounds hollow when tapped with your fingernail. If you hear this sound, it means that you may have termites and it is best to take immediate action.
The reason why hollow-sounding wood is one of the early warning signs for termites is that it’s typical of dry wood termites and subterranean termites. These species will eat away at the cellulose inside the wood until there’s nothing left but hollow areas inside.
If you hear a hollow sound when tapping on any part of your home, then you should call in a pest control professional immediately. The sooner they come to check things out, the better chance they have at stopping these pests before they wreak too much havoc on your home or business property.
4. Groaning Or Squeaking Floorboards
Are your floorboards extra loud? This could be a sign of termites lurking below.
If you have noticed your floor boards are groaning or squeaking, it could be one of the early warning signs of termites. Termites can cause serious damage to your home and can cause you thousands of dollars in repair costs when it comes to flooring.
If you have noticed that your floorboards are groaning or squeaking when you walk across them, then it is likely that there are termites present in your home. Before calling a pest control company, there are some things that you need to do first. You will want to check the rest of your house for signs of termite damage and try to identify where they may be hiding. If you find any areas of damage or small mud tubes around windows or doors, then this is definitely a sign that there are termites present in your home. You should also check for any nests as well as droppings from the termites themselves which look like small brown grains of rice.
The first step that you need to take when trying to fix groaning or squeaking floor boards caused by termites is calling professional pest control to get rid of the pests. Next, contact your local home repair resource for help.
5. Windows Or Doors That Stick
Windows that stick when you try to open them could mean termites are eating away.
Are your doors or windows sticking when you try to open or close them? These could be some early signs of termites! The reason that windows and doors sticking is one of the early warning signs of termites is that termites will eat away at the wood in your home, causing it to become soft and weak. As a result, when you open and close doors or windows, they may stick for a moment before opening fully again. This can be annoying and frustrating for homeowners who have to deal with this issue on a regular basis.
It’s also a good idea to check for signs of termite damage near the door and window frames. If there are holes near these areas, then this may be an indication that there are termites in your home. You should also check for signs of any dust buildup on the bottom side of your doors and windows as this can also indicate an infestation.
If you have windows or doors that stick because they’re made out of wood or another material that’s been eaten away by termites, then you need to contact a professional pest control company as soon as possible so they can come out and inspect your property for potential infestations by these destructive pests.
6. Patterns In Wood That Look like Mazes
Lines in wood that look like mazes are signs of termites.
Patterns in wood that look like mazes are an early sign of a possible termite infestation. Termites get into your home through small holes in the wood, and they leave behind tell-tale signs of their presence. If you see patterns in wood that look like mazes, it’s time to call an exterminator.
Luckily, (or not so luckily, depending on how you look at it) termites do not eat your house down to the ground. They prefer to stay hidden and chew away at the edges of your house until it starts to crumble. This causes patterns in wood that look like mazes, which are actually tunnels that have been gnawed through the surface layer of wood and left behind as evidence of their existence. These tunnels allow for airflow, which is why they can be found in seemingly random places around your house or building. You might find them in corners where two walls meet or even behind kitchen cabinets on top or bottom shelves.
If you find patterns in wood that look like mazes on your property, it’s important to take action quickly before termites spread further into your home or building. The best thing to do is to contact a professional to get rid of these pests when you see these early signs of termites so you can stop them before they get out of hand.
7. Loosened Tiles From Bath Tubs, Sinks, Or Floors
Tiles that become loose are often an early warning sign of termites.
Loosened tiles from bathtubs, sinks, or floors are certainly one of the early warning signs of termites.
With that said, loosened tiles from bathtubs, sinks, or floors can be caused by a lot of different things. Most of the time it’s going to be because you have a leaky pipe or some other plumbing problem in your home. But if you notice tiles being loose all over your bathroom then there’s a good chance that you have termites in your home.
Termites love eating wood, as we now know, and they will do everything they can to find wood inside your home and eat it up so they can survive. When they start eating wood inside your walls it causes them to get weak and eventually fall apart. The weight of the tile on top will cause it to fall off the wall and create these gaps between the tile and the wall where water can get inside and cause mold growth which makes it much harder for you to repair yourself because they require professional assistance.
If you have loosened tiles from bathtubs, sinks, or floors caused by termites then it’s best if you call an exterminator immediately so that they can assess the situation and get rid of the termites before the damage becomes worse or spreads throughout your home.
8. Small holes In Wood Or Drywall
Small holes in wood can mean that termites have been burrowing inside your home.
Small holes In wood or drywall are another one of the early warning signs of termites. They are usually found in wood, but they can also be found in drywall and other building materials as well.
This kind of termite damage is not always easy to detect, especially if you don’t know what to look for. The damage may be hidden behind a wall or ceiling, or it may be hidden from view by furniture or shelving.
If you see small holes in wood or drywall that are about the size of a pin-head (or around 1/8th of an inch), there’s a good chance that you have termites. These small holes are caused by termites boring through the structure of your home so that they can reach your walls for food and moisture.
The best way to find out if you have termites is to hire an expert pest control company to come out and perform an inspection on your home. Once they do this, they’ll be able to tell you if you do indeed have termites and then they will come up with a treatment plan based on what type of infestation it is or how severe the infestation is.
9. Damaged Wood That Appears To Be Crumbling
Termites can damage wood and cause it to appear as if it is crumbling.
Have you noticed damaged wood that appears to be crumbling? This is another one of our early warning signs of termites you should look out for. Termites eat wood and other cellulose-based materials, as we’ve mentioned. They chew through wood and make tunnels that can be seen on the surface of the wood. This causes the wood to appear to be crumbling or falling apart.
If you’re looking for early warning signs of termites, crumbling wood is one of the first things to check for around your home. This could be in the form of wood that appears to be crumbling or even just small holes. If you notice any of these things, it’s time to get an inspection done by a professional pest controller.
It’s also important to know that not all types of damage will be visible on the surface – termites can also cause damage to the structure of your home. If you notice any cracks in walls or floors, or if there are signs that something may have been damaged below ground level, then this is another sign that you need an inspection done as soon as possible!
10. Swarms Of Flying Insects That Look Like Ants
Swarmers often look like flying ants but really they are termites ready to mate and move on to another nest.
If you see swarms of flying insects that look like flying ants hovering around your home or even inside your home, this is a telltale early sign of termites.
When termites fly in swarms such as these, they are called swarmers. Swarmers are winged termites that leave their nests in search of new homes. They are the reproductive members of their colony, so they have wings and are capable of flight. They look like ants and can be found swarming in large numbers on trees, shrubbery, and other plants near your home. Some types of termite swarmers look like flying ants with wings that have a brownish coloration. Others have thin wings that are transparent or clear.
If you see winged insects around your home, it’s time to check for signs of termite infestation inside your home. These insects can indicate that there is an active colony nearby, which means that damage could occur at any time. If you see swarmers outside your home, they may have come from an existing colony or they might be looking for a new place to live. Either way, it’s important to inspect your property for signs of termites right away because infestations can happen very quickly without warning.
Early Warning Signs Of Termites – Getting Rid Of Termites Quickly
Getting rid of termites quickly is important to help reduce the cost of repairs down the road.
If you are worried about the possibility of having termites in your home, then it is important that you take action as soon as possible. Termites cause an estimated $5 billion dollars annually in damage to homes throughout the United States each year.
Most homeowners do not realize that their home or building has been damaged by termites until it is too late and they must spend a significant amount of money repairing the damage caused by these pests.
Although there are many ways to prevent termites from entering your home or building, there is no guarantee that they will not find their way inside at some point in time. It is important that homeowners know what to look for if they believe that there are termites present in their area so that they can take action before any damage occurs.
If you notice any early warning signs of termites, you should act quickly. The best thing you can do is contact a professional to get rid of them as soon as possible. However, if you want to try and get rid of termites on your own, there are some things you can do:
First, check for signs of termite activity in your homes — such as mud tubes or damaged wood — and take steps to eliminate those areas.
Next, fix any leaks or cracks that may be contributing to the problem. And if you have rotting beams or floor joists in your home, consider replacing those items before they become a serious issue.
If you’re still having problems with termites, it may be time to call in a professional for help. A pest control company can use a variety of methods including both chemical and non-toxic methods that will keep your family safe from harm while effectively eliminating the infestation from your home and yard.
Has this been a helpful guide on the top 10 early warning signs of termites? Let us know if you know of other early warning signs of termites in the comment section below.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.