Subterranean termites can be rather difficult to notice since they prefer isolation. Oftentimes, they can remain unseen by traveling under stucco, slab foundations, or other inaccessible areas. However, with some vigilance and knowledge, you may notice a termite infestation before it has a major impact on your home. Here are some signs that you can keep an eye out for:
- Mud Tunnels: This is often the first indication that you’ll notice if you have an infestation. Subterranean termites build mud tunnels that span from the heart of the colony to its food source. These mud tunnels keep the termites protected, and they provide a source of moisture. Subterranean termites can’t survive for long outside of their mud tunnels, wood tunnels, or the earth. Mud tunnels are usually thin — perhaps pencil-sized in width — and they’ll wrap around walls, ceilings, and floors, weaving towards a food source.
- In-Ground Tunnels: Termite colonies are built around an underground habitat (thus their name). As such, subterranean termites will dig a series of underground tunnels, in addition to their above-ground mud-tunnel counterparts. With a bit of digging, you may uncover in-ground tunnels; however, it’s not recommended to disrupt a colony — you may trigger swarming!
- Hollow Wood: If you notice hollow wood, either inside your home or in trees throughout your landscape, termites may be to blame. You can check for hollow wood by tapping on it.
- Blowholes: Termites may “drill” tiny blowholes in your trees. If you notice small holes pocked throughout the base of your tree, you may have termites on your property.
- Packed Earth: Keep an eye out for muddy, packed earth, especially around the trunks of your trees or around the foundation of your home. These structures further protect termites, and they may be an indication that the colony is nearly large enough to split and swarm.
- Horizontal Flight Tubes: Flight tubes are a bad sign! If you see flight tubes (which are horizontal mud tubes), you have a colony that’s very advanced. It may have already split and swarmed, or a swarming event may be in the near future! Contact your termite exterminator right away!
- Shed Wings: When termites do take off, they shed their wings once they’ve found a location to begin a new colony. If you see piles of shed wings, well, then you’ve got a new colony and a new problem on your hands.
- “Kick-Out” Holes & Termite Pellets: Termites produce waste, which they push out of their colony structure through kick-out holes. Keep an eye out for a small hole, or piles of sawdust-like droppings.
- Sagging Floors: If you have sagging floors, you may have a very advanced termite issue. Floor sag may mean that your termite colony has devoured enough wood to damage the structure of your home. Act immediately!