You wouldn’t think that an insect as small as a termite could do much damage to a home and, if you think this, you would be right. What? Hold on a second. Did we just say that termites don’t do much damage to a home? Yes. That one little termite isn’t going to hurt your home all that much. But your home isn’t going to be attacked by a single termite. Termites come by the hundreds and even thousands. It is the number of termites, along with their ability to silently feed on a home for years, that makes them so destructive. That is why, if you have not yet put termite protection in place for your home, it is vital that you know the telltale signs of a termite infestation.
The most destructive termites in the United States are also the most widely distributed termites. They are called subterranean termites, and they can be found from the tip of Florida all the way to Southern Canada. Since our service area is Central Minnesota, we’ll be focusing on the signs left by this type of termite.
The clearest sign of a termite infestation is the appearance of winged termites. These are tiny black insects with long white wings that stack on top of each other. When a termite colony matures, it produces male and female winged reproductives for the purpose of creating more nests and ensuring the continuation of their species. When these winged alates appear inside a structure, they are hard to miss. They will appear on window panes, window sills, and bright walls. They’ll also be found crawling around near the exit hole, so you may find them on a floor.
Termite swarmers may also be found on the outside of a home. If you see these winged termites on your exterior walls, it is important that you realize that they do not represent an impending infestation as much as they are a sign of a current infestation that is spreading. Termite swarmers do not travel very far, and swarms do not last long. When they appear on your exterior walls, especially in large numbers, it is likely that there is a mature termite nest on your property.
Subterranean termites are just that: subterranean. The reason they prefer to live in the ground is because they are moisture pests. If they are exposed to the air for too long, they dry up and die. If you have portions of your home that touch the soil, these termites can go straight from the ground into the wood of your home but, most of the time, this is not the case. Most homes have a foundation wall. And termites must build mud tubes on these walls to gain access to the wood of a home. If your home has a foundation all the way around, and a basement that is completely concrete, termites will have to create mud tubes to feed on your home. Look for these on the outside and inside of your basement walls.
When subterranean termites get into a home, they can build mud tubes in some unusual places, such as the side of a toilet or a bathtub. If you’re seeing dirt stuck to any wall or object in your home that looks like “veins,” you are probably looking at termite mud tubes. Contact a professional pest control company to examine your issue and offer an appropriate course of action.
The worst way to learn that you have termites is to see the damage they cause. When termite damage appears, there is usually significant damage behind the scenes and that damage can be frustrating to repair. This damage often looks like water damage: wallpaper bubbles, walls bulge, floors dip, ceilings sink, and doors and windows do not function properly. If termites feed in a location that has lots of moisture, you may see damage on the outside of wood. This damage will look like someone took a carving tool to the wood.
Termites are not a big problem in Minnesota, but infestations do happen. If you need a termite inspection or help resolving a termite infestation, reach out to Adam’s Pest Control for immediate assistance.