What Do Termites Look Like & Signs Your Home Has Them
Most people wouldn’t know a termite if they spotted them. With this guide, learn what termites look like and signs your home has them.
Each year in the United States, termites cost homeowners billions of dollars in structural damage alone. Many times homeowners don’t know there is a problem until significant damage has occurred.
The good news is, learning more about the signs of a termite infestation will help you catch the problem early on. It’s also crucial that you get a good understanding of what termites look like and what species are common in California.
If you’re ready to keep your home termite free, you’ll need to keep reading this guide to learn everything you need to know!
What Do Termites Look Like?
First, you’ll need to understand what termites look like. Termites appear much like carpenter ants. They’re approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inches long, with straight antennas and a soft body.
Termite colors range from light brown to white, and swarming or flying termites typically appear darker. They have two pairs of wings equal in size.
There are over 2,600 termite species worldwide, with around 23 species in California.
Three main types of termites in California include drywood, dampwood, and subterranean. Drywood termites are common in dry areas like lumber, decks, and fences.
Dampwood termites usually infest decayed, moist wood. Finally, you’ll find subterranean termites in the landscape or structures of houses.
What Are the Signs of a Termite Infestation?
There are early signs that can point to a potential termite infestation, so it’s essential to visually inspect your home. Window and door frames are common places for termite infestations. Decks, porches, and foundations are also popular areas for termites.
You should find a reputable pest control company like Fast Action Pest Control to get a free inspection. You’ll also get treatment recommendations and essential prevention tips.
Common signs to watch out for include:
Paint or Wallpaper Damage
Termites can leave tiny pin-sized holes in your walls. Remember, drywall contains paper materials. Paper materials have cellulose, an organic compound in plant materials like leaves, grass, wood, and cotton.
Cellulose is a termite’s primary food source, and most types of termites get this from wood.
Sometimes termites can cause damage to the walls without disturbing the thin surface coat of wallpaper or paint. Obviously, this makes it more difficult to detect termites, but there are signs to look for that include:
- Bubbling paint
- Buckling wood
- Tiny pinholes
- Sunken or dented areas
- Discolored or peeling wallpaper
- Widening lines that look sunken or narrow
Even though this damage may have other causes, it’s best to schedule an inspection to ensure you don’t have termites.
Stuck Doors or Windows
Have you noticed windows or doors that feel stuck or are harder to close or open? Sometimes this can be an early sign you may have a termite infestation in your home.
Termites target areas like doors and window frames because the exposed wood gives them easy access. Once termites eat through the wood, the frames will warp.
Problems with stuck doors and windows often occur first, so be sure to have a pest control professional do an inspection.
Discarded Termite Wings
Seeing termite wings is a sure sign you have a termite problem. It’s important to remember that winged termites are members of a colony. These colonies search for new areas to settle and reproduce once the weather gets warmer.
Once they find a space to call home, they begin mating and shedding their wings. Termite wings appear silvery and thin, resembling fish scales.
You’ll usually see piles of wings around your home’s foundation, either outside or inside. Additionally, termites are attracted to light, so they tend to fly toward doors and windows, leaving piles of wings.
Hollow or Blistering Wood
Termites eat wood from the inside out, leaving just a thin area of wood. This damage makes wood sound hollow when you tap on it.
Damage can also occur in the walls of your home. You’ll often see random cracks in the walls or wood flooring. The damage can extend to beams, wood in the ceilings, and rafters in the attic.
Termites in your home can cause other structural issues, like crumbling baseboards or sagging floors.
Don’t be afraid to tap on suspicious areas to see if they sound hollow. You should also check your floors to ensure they aren’t blistering or feel spongy.
Mud tubes, or mud tunnels, are pencil-sized tunnels made by worker termites. These tunnels consist of wood, soil, and saliva and are more common with subterranean termites.
Subterranean termites nest underground and must go and forage for their food source, usually your house. Since these termites need certain humidity levels and temperatures to survive, they build tunnels.
Tunnels provide protection against dry, cool air and predators, allowing termites to travel back and forth from the nest.
You’ll most likely see mud tubes around your home’s foundation. They start from the ground and run up into areas of your home.
You can break off a piece to look for termites and check back later to see if it’s repaired. But if you spot anything resembling mud tubes, it’s best to call a pest control company immediately.
Seeing termite droppings or frass is another sure sign you have termites in your home. Frass forms mounds of pellets, appearing much like sawdust or coffee grounds.
Frass is from drywood termites; they produce it from eating and digesting wood. They’ll move it away from their colonies to prevent it from building up.
Drywood termites push frass out from holes in the wood, known as exit holes. You’ll typically find frass mounds directly under these holes around your home.
Keep Your Home Safe From Termites
Learning more about the signs of termites will help you protect your home and keep it comfortable and safe year-round.
If you suspect you may have a termite infestation, it’s best not to wait. You can turn to Fast Action Pest Control for help. We pride ourselves on providing homeowners and business owners with exceptional pest control services.
Our service is fast and responsive, and our quality technicians never take shortcuts. We take the time to do the job right the first time and ensure you’re satisfied.
We service Folsom, Mountain House, Antioch, Vacaville, Elk Grove, and Sacramento. Make sure to contact us today to schedule a free pest inspection!