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What are the 14 signs of termites in your home?

With home insurance not covering termite damage, annual termite inspections are a must. But with termites able to cause significant damage in less than a year, it pays for homeowners to know the early signs of termite activity, so you can call your local termite professional before it’s too late!

Spotting termites can be tricky, as for the most part they live underground. With their expertise and detection equipment, termite inspectors can pick up the subtle signs of termite activity, but it helps if homeowners know how to spot the more obvious signs of termite activity as well.

Activity in the yard

Termite mud tubes on tree image

Termite mud tubes on tree

 

It’s estimated that 80% of all homes are within 25 m of a termite nest. As such there’s a pretty good chance you will find termite activity in your yard.

  1. Termite mudding on timber fencing, trees, timber retaining walls and other wooden items

Termite mudding is the protective layer that termites build when they need protection from predators or from drying out. Mudding may cover feeding areas or foraging trails when they travel from their nest to a feeding site.

2. Lift up wood items on the ground and any wood mulch in moist areas to see if there are termites visible

If you have termites in the area, there’s a fairly good chance they will already be eating on any undisturbed wood on the ground, especially in moist areas.

Flying termites

Flying termites image

Flying termites and shed wings on the floor

 

3. Flying termites or wings on the floor in the morning

Flying termites are released from mature nests on warm humid nights in spring and summer. These are new queens and kings on their mating flight looking to find a place to start a new nest. Once they land, they drop their wings before pairing off to find a new home.

Flying termites are attracted to lights. Often you will see them flying around lights in great numbers. Sometimes you will notice a pile of dropped wings on the ground when you get up in the morning.

As flying termites are not strong flyers, if you notice flying termites you know you have a large nest nearby. If you find large numbers of termites inside the house (and you haven’t had a door or window open), there may actually be a termite nest under your house!

Mud tubes in and around the home

 

termite mud tube entering weep hole image

Termite mud tube entering weephole

 

Large termite mud tube in sub-floor image

Large mud tube in sub-floor

 

4. Mud tubes on the outside of your home
5. Mud tubes in the sub-floor
6. Mud tubes in the roof void
7. Mud spots on internal walls

If you spot mudding on the outside or inside your home, you know your house is already under attack. Whereas the mud tubes are relatively easy to spot. The mud spots on internal walls can be more easily missed. Termites normally leave a layer of surface material in place for protection as they feed underneath. Sometimes they break through this surface layer and plug the hole with a bit of mud.

Damage to wood

 

8. Visible damage

Obviously if you can see visible damage, you’ve got a problem and you should give us a call immediately. However, termites are pretty good at hiding their activity, so it’s useful to know the other signs that indicate that they may already be eating away at your house…

9. Rippled paintwork

Termite damage causing paint to ripple image

Termite damage causing paint to ripple

 

When termites start eating the wood underneath paintwork, the paint starts to show a rippled effect.

10. Hollow sounding timber

Termite inspectors make a point of tapping timber, as solid timber makes a very different sound to timber that has been half eaten. If you are at all suspicious, tapping the suspect areas may give you an indication of a problem.

11. Bouncing floorboards

If termites have started eating the supporting timbers, floorboards may start bouncing when you walk on them, or feel a bit ‘spongy’.

12. Doors and windows not closing properly

Similarly, if termites have started to eat the wood around doors and windows, they may ‘drop’, making them difficult to close.

Strange sounds at night

 

13. Termites chewing

A night when it’s quiet in the house, it can be possible to hear termites chewing away at the wood (especially if there is a lot of activity). Their activity is easier to hear by placing a cup to your ear and against the wall.

14. Termites ‘head-banging’

Termites will often bang their heads to communicate with each other. This can be heard as a faint tapping noise if you hold your ear close to the surface.

If you spot any of these signs of activity or are a bit unsure, don’t delay, give us a call at the Pest Doctors and we’ll come around to investigate.

As an essential business, the Pest Doctors remain open for business during COVID lockdowns and operate a COVID safe plan to protect our customers and staff.