A common, if inaccurate, name for the termite is “white ant”. So, if you’re wondering whether you have white ants
in your home, what you’re really asking is whether or not you have termites. Fortunately, the signs of a termite infestation are easy to recognize. Keep an eye out for the following signs, and you can better protect your home from unnecessary damage and wear.
Irregular piles of mud-like matter lining the wooden galleries of your foundation indicate boring activity. Moreover, the muddy nature of this material, as distinct from simple, loose sawdust, is a sign that termite, in particular, is doing the boring. Termites combine dirt, saliva, and feces to coat the surfaces of the holes they bore with this mud-like material. Therefore, even if you don’t see muddy piles, you may observe these “mud tunnels“, which are also signs of a termite infestation.
The muddy tubes are around about a pencil’s diameter in width and contain the debris of broken-off pieces of wood and feces. These tubes connect the food source (wood) to the nest where more termites are born. If you can break open these tubes, you can sometimes observe the termite activity inside. Be aware, however, that damaging or destroying these tubes is insufficient to eradicate the termites infesting a home as they will simply return to repair and rebuild those tunnels.
Also, note that an absence of these tubes does not prove the non-presence of termites. There are many other ways termites can access a home for the bounty of wood “food” it provides them. These other prospective access points include cracks in foundations, gaps beneath stucco facing and the use of earthen materials in the building of any attached structures like steps or porches.
Other indications of termite tunneling activity are tiny holes in wood and buckling paint. Parts of the wood may appear crushed or similarly damaged near structural bearing points. If you tap the damaged area with a hammer, you’ll hear a dull thudding sound if termite activity is the cause. If you then pick at these areas and probe them with a small knife, you’ll observe the termite tunnels running in a parallel direction to the grain of the wood.
Oftentimes, swarms of what resemble flying ants converge around these tunnel entrances. These are not termites but another species of insect that is attracted to the light source these tunnels create. Note that only swarming insects found inside your home are signs of termite infestation; such swarms found outside your home provide no such indication. Even in the absence of these swarming insects, you may notice piles of their shed wings collected around the bases below tunnel entrances.
One final sign of a possible termite infestation is windows that are suddenly hard to open and doors that suddenly shut tightly. If you notice any of these signs of a termite infestation, the first thing you should do is contact a professional pest control agency to have your home inspected immediately. The sooner a termite infestation can be identified, the sooner it can be eradicated before any further damage or wear is caused.