Signs Of Termites

What are the Signs of Termites?

Have you just found something in your home or garden and worried it could be Termites? Before you go full-on panic mode, check the signs below.

How do you know if you have Termites?

It can be a troubling question for an inexperienced homeowner…. ‘Is this soft piece of timber a sign of termites’?

Termites are masters of concealment, navigating through underground tunnels and inside the wooden structures of your home, often undetected. It’s not uncommon for their presence to go unnoticed until after they’ve caused significant damage.

Five Signs of Termites

1. Termite tubes or leads: Termites build mud tubes as a protective shield to access food. If you see mud tubes along your walls or foundation, it strongly indicates termites.

2. Hollow or Soft Timbers: If you tap on wood and it sounds hollow, it may indicate that termites have eaten the inside of the wood. Damaged wood: Termites eat wood from the inside out, causing it to become thin and brittle. If you see any damaged or softwood in your home, it could be a sign of termites.

3. Cracked or bubbling paint: Moisture buildup from termite activity can cause the paint on wooden surfaces to crack or bubble.

4. Termite noise: At the quiet of the night, you might hear a tapping noise or a crunching munching sound.

5. Winged Termites - Swarms: Occasionally, termites swarm to start new colonies. If you see a swarm of winged termites (Alates) or find discarded wings, especially near light sources, this could indicate a termite presence.

Mudding - termite trail, lead

Termites build mud tubes as a protective shield from the elements and predators as they travel from their colony to the food source. These tubes provide the dark, warm, and humid environment they need to survive.

The mud tubes are made by mixing soil and termite saliva to form a paste-like substance that dries to a hardness similar to plaster.

If you see mud tubes along your walls or foundation, it’s a strong indication of a termite infestation and you should have a professional inspect your home as soon as possible.

Hollow or soft timbers

Soft pine timber is highly desirable for termites and is often used for door and window frames, skirting boards, and other wood structures in the home. Termites will eat the timber from the inside out, leaving a thin layer between them and the outside world.

How can you tell?

Tapping on the suspected area and listening for a hollow sound is a simple way to determine if there may be termites present. Using a sharp knife to make a small slit and inspecting the interior of the wood can also provide evidence of termites.

If you see evidence of termites, you must immediately contact a professional for a thorough inspection and treatment. Sealing the opened area with tape will prevent the termites from fleeing away and allow the inspector to understand the full extent of the problem.

Mudding coming out of a wall

When you see a ‘mud’ pack coming out of a wall, it’s a clear sign you have termites. It could be a nest behind the wall or a bivouac. A bivouac is not a nest as it doesn’t have a nursery where the Queen termite lays eggs.

It is normally a meeting area to feed the juvenile worker termites or grow their fungus source for their protein.

Cracked or bubbling paint

Moisture buildup from termite activity can cause paint on wooden surfaces to crack or bubble. When termites consume wood, they produce moisture as a by-product, and if this moisture accumulates in one area, it can cause paint to become damaged.

If you see cracked or bubbling paint, especially in areas where there may be termite activity, it’s important to have a professional inspect your home to determine the cause and take appropriate action to address any termite infestations.

Termite noise - sounds termites make

Termites have unique ways of communicating with each other, including the use of sounds. When soldiers are alarmed, they will hit their heads against the wood, creating a knocking noise as a signal to evacuate.

On quiet nights, you may be able to hear the soft gnawing sounds made by worker termites as they scrape and eat the wood.

If you hear these sounds, it’s a strong indication of a termite infestation and you should have a professional inspect your home as soon as possible.

Termite Damage or Fungal Decay/Wet Rot?

Termite damage and fungal rot are two separate issues that can affect the structure of the wood in a home. Easy to confuse to the untrained eye.

Termite damage occurs when termites consume wood, breaking it down and weakening its structural integrity. This type of damage is often hidden and can go undetected for a long time, leading to significant harm to the structure of a building.

Fungal decay, on the other hand, occurs when certain types of fungi infect the wood, breaking down the cellulose and hemicellulose within it and causing it to become soft and crumbly. A musty odour and visible discolouration of the wood typically accompany this type of damage.

It’s important to differentiate between termite damage and fungal rot, as they require different types of treatment and repair. A professional inspection can help determine the cause of the damage and provide the necessary recommendations for addressing it.

Time to get the professionals in?

If you suspect that you have termites in your home, it’s important to seek the assistance of a professional to determine the extent of the infestation and the best course of action for treatment.

A Conquer Termites Inspector knows the best way to accurately assess the situation and provide a comprehensive report on what steps need to be taken to eliminate the termites.

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