Subterranean termites can be hard to uncover since they live, travel, and eat completely out of sight. These sneaky pests can get into your home undetected under stucco, slab foundations, or other hidden areas. And once they infest a structure, they do their damage from the inside out where you can’t see them until it’s too late. But with some vigilance and our guide for signs of subterranean termites, you can detect a termite infestation before it significantly impacts your home.
Here are seven tell-tale signs that indicate subterranean termites in your house:
Swarmers are usually one of the earliest signs of subterranean termites. The flying termites emerge once the colony gets too large, and they can be seen inside and outside the structure. Besides indicating an established colony close by, swarmers also mean another colony is starting up soon — indicating heightened risk of infestation without treatment.
Depending on the species, you may see subterranean termite swarms at night or during the day. The drywood termites often found in Southern California typically swarm after rain or at certain times of the year.
2. Subterranean Termite Tubes
Other early signs of an infestation include subterranean termite mud tubes. Found on exterior surfaces, piers, and on the sides of slabs, the tubes allow termites to move back and forth between their nest and your home safely. These mud tunnels keep the termites protected from damaging light and provide the moisture critical to their survival.
Subterranean termites can’t survive for long outside of their mud tunnels or the soil. Subterranean termite tubes are usually about the size of a pencil, and they’ll wrap around walls, ceilings, and floors, weaving towards a food source.
If you see horizontal subterranean termite tubes, known as flight tubes, you likely have an infestation from a mature colony that is ready to create a new nest. When you see these types of tubes, the colony may have already split and swarmed, or a swarming event may be in the near future. Either way, mud tubes are a sure sign your home needs professional termite control to reduce the risk of further damage.
3. In-Ground Tunnels
Termite colonies are located beneath the soil, so they must dig a series of underground tunnels in addition to their above-ground mud-tunnel counterparts for safe and secretive mobility. With a bit of searching, you may uncover in-ground tunnels; however, it’s not recommended to disrupt a colony — you may trigger swarming!
Besides in-ground tunnels, another sign of subterranean termites are mounds of packed earth. These mounds are typically found at the base of trees or structural foundations and may indicate it’s time for the colony to swarm.
4. Faint Noises Inside a Structure
Not all signs of subterranean termites are visual — you may hear a faint clicking or knocking sound coming from infested areas behind walls and other voids. These sounds are created when soldier termites bang their heads against wood or vibrate their bodies to signal danger to members of the colony. If you listen very carefully near infested wood, you can sometimes hear the worker termites as they chew through your home!
5. Hollow Areas
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. Because termites typically destroy wood from the inside out, a thin veneer can be all that’s left behind when they move on to their next food source.
When you tap on an area with significant termite damage, you’ll hear a hollow or papery sound. Window and door trim, exposed beams, and even painted sheetrock can be damaged by termite infestations, so keep an eye out for blistering and other abnormalities from floor to ceiling.
6. Kick-Out Holes & Frass
Subterranean termites push debris and waste from their foraging tunnels out of tiny openings called kick-out holes. You may notice small black marks or a dark powdery substance around the area, and you’ll see the small piles beneath the kick-out holes. These piles are sawdust-like droppings known as frass and are usually the color of the structural wood.
7. Sagging Floors and Warping Frames
If you have sagging floors, you may have a very advanced termite infestation. It takes a lot of time and work to destroy enough structural support that floors buckle or sag, so your home can be at risk for extensive termite damage.
Doors and windows that don’t operate as smoothly as they used to might also signify structural or frame damage. The accompanying moisture and damage from eating and tunneling can cause wood framing to warp or swell — another sign of subterranean termites that indicates a mature infestation.
Hi-Tech Termite Control: Your Go-To Source for Effective Termite Treatment.
Don’t let termites do more damage to your home than necessary. At Hi-Tech Termite Control, we wipe out termite colonies at the source with our effective and eco-friendly plant-based treatments. You’ll discover why these treatments are quickly becoming the industry standard for effective and eco-friendly localized termite treatments.
Don’t ignore these seven signs of subterranean termites — count on Hi-Tech Termite Control to protect your home from potential disaster. We provide termite control services and prevention to folks across San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles. Get started with a free inspection, or get in touch with us to learn more about our advanced termite treatments.