While termites have an uncanny ability to sneak into our homes without detection, their intrusion efforts do leave behind clues. In fact, if you know how to spot the early signs of an invasion, you can act swiftly and stop the infestation in their tracks – before they have your home for lunch.
You don’t even need to be a qualified pest controller or have fancy equipment either. Just a little bit of knowledge and the willingness to snoop around the place a bit.
Keep in mind, if you do discover live termites: do not disturb them. Doing so will cause the termites to panic and relocate, thereby increasing the time, money, and effort required to treat the problem. Always rely on the skills and experience of a qualified pest controller to get the job done right.
Here are 5 signs you might have termites in your home
Head Banging and Rustling Sounds
Termites make a variety of sounds depending on their current activity and level of alertness.
By far the loudest sound a termite makes is head banging. No, not the kind you do at a heavy metal concert. But rather the sound of termites literally banging their head against the inside of a wall.
Why do they do this? Soldier termites do this when they feel threatened or disturbed. By banging their heads against the wall, the movement causes a vibration and is used to alert the other colonies of potential danger. In response the alerted colony may panic and relocate to a new nest.
Hearing this is bad news. Because you not only have an infestation on your hands, but also a frightened and aggressive infestation who, if they relocate, it will take longer and cost more money to get rid of the colony.
Another sound that termites make is rustling or clicking. This sound is made by worker termites using their mouths to tunnel through and feed on wood. So it’s basically the sound of termites doing what they do – feeding on timber.
Just like how humans build train tunnels to travel underground, termites build mud tunnels in order to: explore new areas, forage for food, and safely deliver food back to the nest to feed the colony.
Usually made from small pieces of wood, soil, and sometimes their own faeces, mud tunnels are typically built by subterranean termites. Aside from being a safe way to travel, mud tunnels also protect subterranean termites from predators and dry conditions, which would suffocate them.
Where do you find mud tunnels? Almost anywhere termites can enter and leave your premise. Some of the most common places where termites build mud tunnels include:
- Exterior walls of the building – including wall-to-wall junctions, between the bricks, and on timber structures.
- Beneath the surface of the soil
- Interior walls of the property
- Around the foundation of the property and in the sub floor
- Suspended from the ceiling and down to the ground – these ones in particular are known as ‘drop tubes.’
You don’t have to know exactly what each mud tunnel is for. All that matters is you know what they look like. This way, you can identify their presence, and take the necessary steps to get treatment.
For more information about the different categories of termites, click here.
Flying Swarmers and Termite Wings
As mentioned in our previous article on flying termites, these winged pests appear either before or in the early stage of infestation.
When a nest is full, the males take flight in search of a female (i.e. a new Queen) in order to mate. Once the males have found a new mate, they proceed to the ground floor, and search for a new spot to establish a colony.
During this time both the male and female termites shed their wings. This is a perfect opportunity to search for these termite wings, which are most often found around the outside of the property, including near entry doorways and window sills.
Remember, flying ants and flying termites have different types of wings. So it’s important you don’t get the two mixed up. As a quick reference, ants have one long and one short pair of wings, while termites have a uniform wingspan.
This point of reference will make it easy to determine whether you have a swarm of dangerous termites, or less harmful ants.
Damp or Hollow Sounding Wood
Termites usually begin to feed on timber from the inside and work their way out. As a result, the timber on the inside becomes hollow and all that’s left behind is a thin supportive layer.
When you knock on hollow timber, it will sound different to fully intact timber, resulting in a weaker or higher pitched sound.
Knock on various timber elements around the property. Check the interior walls, timber posts, floorboards, timber window frames and door frames, wooden furniture, and outdoor decking. Knocking on any one of these timber structures can help clue you in to an infestation.
Tight Fitting Doors and Windows
When termites feed on timber, they tend to leave behind moisture. If exposed to extreme heat or cold the moist timber may warp out of shape. As a result, the attached door or window may no longer open and close properly.
Keep in mind, building movement is also a common cause of door and window jams. So this is not a definite sign you have termites. However, if you’ve identified any of the above warning signs along with this one – it’s a sure-fire sign of an infestation.
Have you encountered any of the above signs of a termite infestation? If so, book a termite inspection with All Bugs today. One of our qualified pest controllers will assess your property and establish a termite treatment plan for you.