Termites are tricky and can be difficult to find before they’ve done a lot of damage that will inevitably require costly repairs. Each year, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage, which is typically not covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. This is why you should know the signs of termites, what to do if you see damage, and who to call for a termite inspection and treatment.
Termite swarmers are one of the most obvious signs of termites. Even though they don’t cause damage, they are a sure indicator of a termite colony near or in your home. In California, the two most prevalent termite species are subterranean termites and drywood termites. While there are many similarities in behavior and the destruction they cause, there are some distinct differences between the degree of termite damage they cause.
What Does Termite Damage Look Like?
Signs of termite damage in homes can often be hard to spot without a professional inspection. But termites of all species leave plenty of evidence if you know where to look and what to look for.
Drywood termites infest garages, attics, wall cavities, and other areas and create galleries in the wood as they consume and destroy it. Signs of termite damage can often be found in foundations, door and window frames, and other areas near wood framing.
- Signs of drywood termites and damage include termite frass, which is fecal matter that looks like sawdust. Small piles of termite frass on furniture or floors can indicate termites in your ceiling and roof. Using a flashlight, check your ceiling for tiny, pin-prick sized holes. They will usually start in the corners and work their way to the center of the room.
- Drywood termites destroy wood from the inside out, leaving a thin layer of wood surface, paint, or drywall. If you suspect an area has termite wood damage, a tap on the wall or ceiling will sound hollow. You may also spot obvious termite damage in drywall during the swarming season.
- Warped windows and doors that are tough to open and close may indicate a drywood termite problem. The damage termites leave behind when consuming wood and tunneling can cause wood to swell and become warped.
Subterranean termites live in the soil instead of wood, but they easily invade your home and can cause destruction for years. Subterranean termites are far more destructive than drywood termites, so knowing the signs of termite damage is critical.
- Mud tubes are one of the sure signs of subterranean termites. The termites forage for food using these tubes to go from the colony in the ground to the structure of your home. These tubes are most obvious when they are on concrete foundations and other exterior surfaces.
- Subterranean infestation and damage is a likely cause of blisters in wood flooring and other wood inside your home. These termites eat spring wood and are averse to light and heat, so the damage they cause can go undetected for years. Similar to investigating drywood termite damage, you can detect the subterranean termite galleries by tapping the wood to identify soft spots.
- Subterranean termites also take advantage of any shortcuts and will often build their tubes along tree roots. Because a large colony means plenty of construction and foraging activity, you may even see mounds of mud near your home, in your yard, and other areas. All this could be evidence of an active colony and termite damage.
Now that you know what to look for to find signs of termites and termite damage, contact us for a free termite inspection. We proudly provide service throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County.