Spring is arriving in Florida, which marks a change in temperature and humility. This is also a time when subterranean termites become more active. This time of year, it’s time to stay vigilant for signs of a potential subterranean termite infestation.
Recognizing these signs early can help you manage and mitigate the risk of significant damage to your home. But what are the signs of a subterranean termite infestation?
From your friends at Drive-Bye Exterminators, here is what you need to consider:
1. Mud Tubes on Exterior Walls
Subterranean termites build mud tubes as protective tunnels to travel between their colony and food sources. These tubes are typically the width of a pencil and can be found on exterior walls, foundations, or other parts of your home that are in contact with the soil.
Check for mud tubes along the base of your house, inspecting both visible and hidden areas. If you find any, breaking them open may reveal the worker termites inside, confirming an active infestation.
2. Swarmer Termites or Discarded Wings
In spring, subterranean termites produce swarmers—winged termites whose primary role is to reproduce and establish new colonies. Their favorite time to swarm is during the daytime in the spring, and often after a rainstorm.
Finding swarmers indoors often indicates a nearby colony. Even though they swarm in the spring, keep in mind that colonies are active all year long.
Meanwhile, discovering discarded wings near windowsills, doors, or other entry points suggests that swarmers have entered your home to start a new colony. These wings are all the same size, which distinguishes them from those of flying ants.
3. Subterranean Termite Infestation Signs: Wood Damage
Out of all the subterranean termite infestation signs, wood damage is perhaps the most common.
Wood damage is a definitive sign of a termite infestation. Subterranean termites consume wood from the inside out, leaving a thin veneer of timber or paint. But how do you detect wood damage from termites?
When you tap on an area that has been damaged by termites, it may sound hollow due to parts of the wood having been eaten away.
Sometimes, the damage is not immediately visible–so you’ll need to probe suspect wood with a screwdriver and check for weakness or to listen for a hollow sound when tapped.
4. Frass: Termite Droppings
Finding termite droppings, known as frass, inside your home can sometimes occur. These droppings resemble small, wood-colored pellets and can indicate the presence of termites.
However, spotting frass is more common with Drywood termite infestations than with subterranean species.
5. Tight Fitting Doors and Hard-to-Open Windows
Moisture from termites can cause wooden doors or window frames to warp. This makes doors and windows difficult to open or close. If you notice that wooden frames have suddenly become tighter or are not fitting as they used to, it might be due to termite activity.
While there can be other causes for this, such as humidity, it’s worth investigating further if you observe this alongside other signs of an infestation.
6. Clicking Sounds Within Walls
Are you hearing clicking sounds in the walls? It might not be your imagination, but a subterranean termite infestation.
Worker termites are noisy eaters. If you listen closely, you might hear a quiet clicking sound coming from the walls. This noise is produced by termites as they eat, or when soldier termites tap their heads against wood to signal danger to the colony. Placing your ear against the wall to listen for these sounds can help you detect an otherwise hidden infestation.
7. Bubbling Paint or Laminate
Subterranean termites can cause paint and laminate on walls and floors to bubble or peel due to the moisture they bring into the wood. If you notice bubbling, peeling, or discoloration that cannot be explained by water damage, termites might be the culprits.
This sign often indicates that the infestation is not only present but has already caused considerable damage.
What to do if You Have a Subterranean Termite Infestation
Now that you know those signs, what should you do if you discover an infestation? Discovering a subterranean termite infestation can be unsettling, but taking immediate and appropriate actions can help you manage the situation effectively. Here’s what you should do if you find signs of termites in your home:
Don’t Disturb Them–Call Drive-Bye Exterminators Instead
If you uncover a termite colony or mud tubes, resist the urge to disturb them. While it might be tempting to break open the tunnels or remove the termites you find, doing so can cause the colony to scatter and potentially create more infestation sites. Instead, keep the area as undisturbed as possible to allow a professional to assess the situation accurately.
Consider Treatment Options
Professional pest control services offer various treatment options for subterranean termite infestations, including bait systems, soil treatments, and wood treatments.
- Bait systems involve placing bait stations around your home to attract and poison termites.
- Soil treatments consist of applying termiticides to the soil around and beneath your home to create a barrier that kills termites as they pass through.
- Wood treatments involve applying chemicals directly to the wood to kill or repel termites.
- In some cases, termite tenting might be necessary to get rid of a termite infestation.
- Your pest control professional will recommend the best treatment option based on the severity and location of the infestation.
Repair and Prevent Future Infestations
After addressing the immediate termite infestation, it’s essential to repair any damage and take preventive measures to protect your home against future invasions. This might include fixing leaks, ensuring proper drainage away from your home’s foundation, removing wood or mulch from contact with your home’s exterior, and sealing gaps around pipes and cables where termites might enter.
Regular inspections can also help catch new infestations early.
Get a Subterranean Termite Inspection from Drive-Bye Exterminators
Even after treating an active infestation, ongoing monitoring is important to ensure termites do not return. Whether you suspect that you have an infestation or see termites crawling out of the woodwork, Drive-Bye Exterminators is here to help. Serving the Tampa Bay community for 20 years, please reach out to us and we can help get your subterranean termite infestation under control.