Signs of a Termite Infestation

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termite mound

Termites may be small, but they are some of the most destructive pests out there when it comes to property damage. These insects love to munch on cellulose, plant matter that they most often find in wood. 

Termites particularly prefer wet, damaged wood but they will make a feast of whatever woods and even paper products that they can find. They’ve even been known to go for plastic, drywall, and insulation in some cases. Their menacing reputation is certainly earned, considering that every year termites account for a whopping $5 billion in damages.

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Signs of A Termite Infestation

Due to their diet and tiny size, termites can often go unnoticed in areas like your basement, crawlspace, or garage. You could have termites at work behind your walls even if you aren’t seeing the insects themselves. Here are some signs that there may be termites lurking: 

Presence of Mud Tubes

Termites travel through a network of tunnels that they create both inside and outside of your home. Termites may make mud tubes and tunnels near your foundation, cellar, or entrance to your basement. Wood pillars are also a popular choice. If you are seeing mud tubes, rest assured it isn’t your imagination, and schedule a termite inspection to locate where the termites’ winding paths lead to.

Discarded Wings

While they prefer tunneling through wood, termites do have wings. Another common sign that they have made themselves at home is finding discarded wings indoors. If you’ve got a significant population of termites around, you may find discarded scaly wings on windowsills or near other entry points.

Termite Droppings

One of the most obvious signs of termites is the presence of termite droppings, also known as frass. Drywood termites push their waste out of openings in their tunnels, while subterranean termites will mix their waste with mud to make trails and tunnels. Miniscule termite droppings can be mistaken for sawdust, or be much darker depending on what the termites have eaten lately.

What Does Termite Damage Look Like?

Termite damage may go unnoticed because it looks like water damage or wood warping. If you’re noticing the following, it is likely there are termites at work:

  • Markings that look like water damage on furniture or walls that aren’t subject to moisture.
  • Sagging floors and ceilings. 
  • Unexplained water damage on the ceiling.
  • Wood or walls that sound “hollow” when you tap on them.

Essentially, termites destroy the structural components of your home and in doing so, compromise the structural integrity of your property and increase the risk of fires or weather damage.

Common Termites in Northern California

The most common termites in Northern California are:

  • Formosan Subterranean Termites
  • Drywood Termites
  • Pacific Drywood Termites

No matter the types of termites you’re dealing with, each presents the potential for immense property damage. If you’re noticing signs of termites around your home, it's best to call in experts right away and schedule an inspection.

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