Drywood termites live mostly in dry wood. They can be found in foundations, and window and door frames in the home, without being visible for ages. Termites will feed on any wood that they can find in you home, from skirting boards to furniture. It’s important to look out for signs of termites in your home. If you know drywood termites are in the neighbourhood, it’s smart to make regular checks of your own home so you can spot them as soon as possible to prevent the damage they can do. Here are some signs of termites.
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Termites can cause an enormous amount of damage, that can be incredibly expensive to put right. Any home can become infested with termites, so it’s important to learn the signs and stay vigilant. If you can spot these signs early, you can handle the problem before the termites have time to do too much damage. If you don’t notice until you begin to see signs of the damage itself, you’re in for some large bills for repairs.
One sign of termites if a quiet clicking sound coming from the walls. Soldier termites bang their heads against the wood or shake their bodies if the colony is disturbed, in order to signal danger to the rest of the termites.
Worker termites, who are the ones who eat your woodwork, are noisy eaters. If you put your ear close to wood that has been infested with termites, you will be able to hear them eating.
Termites are very sensitive and can detect vibrations and noises using several different organs, at the base of their antennae and on one of the segments on their leg.
The first sign of a termite problem that tells you it’s time for termite damage control is noticing flying termites. These termites are called swarmers or alates. Flying termites are males and females that have left the nest to find a mate and start a colony of their own.
Some species swarm at night and will be attracted to a light source. Others will swarm in daylight, but all termites swam after rain.
Another common sign of termites is noticing discard wings. Once they have found a mate, flying termites will lose their wings. The termites pair up and crawl to a nesting site, where they seal themselves in to start a new colony.
A common mistake that people make is confusing white ants with termites. This mistake is easy to make, as termites and ants are very similar in shape and size. How can you tell the difference between ants and termites?
- Termites are light coloured. They will usually be a creamy white shade and might look translucent.
- Termite antennae are straight, rather than bent like ants.
- A termite has a thicker waist section than ants. The section where the thorax meets the abdomen is much narrower on ants, but quite large on a termite.
- Flying ants and termites have two sets of wings. Termite wings are all the same size, whereas an ant has one set of wings that is larger than the other.
- There is no such thing as a white ant. If you think you have seen a white ant in your house, it is probably a termite.
Hollow Sounding Timber
Drywood termites consume wood from the inside out. This leaves a thin veneer of timber, or even just the paint behind. When you tap on an area of wood that has termite damage, it will sound papery or hollow. This is is because the timber inside has been eaten away.
A common way that people find out they have a termite problem is when a finger goes into a door frame, or the vacuum cleaner knocks into the skirting board and goes through.
Tight Fitting Doors and Hard-To-Open Windows
These can be both related to signs of damp or hot weather, but windows that have become stiff or doors that have warped can also be a sign of termites. The moisture that termites produce as they eat and tunnel through the frames of doors and windows causes the wood to warp, making it harder to open doors and windows.
Tunnels In Wood
These tunnels are sometimes called galleries. They are hard to see from the outside, but you might notice them in a piece of broken timber in your home. This is a sure sign that you have termites.
There are various pieces of technology that have been proposed for detecting tunnels and the activity of termites when you can’t spot any visible signs. Only a few are in use so you should remain observant.
A big sign that you have a termite problem, and in particular, an infestation of drywood termites, is termite droppings, called frass. During a termite inspection, the inspector will always look for frass to confirm that you have a problem.
Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites don’t use their droppings to build their tunnels. Instead, they push the droppings out of small holes near the entrances to their nest. These droppings look like small black marks and a dark powdery substance around the area that they are infesting. If you see these, call an exterminator.
If you think you might have a problem with termites in your home, react quickly before you have to raid your emergency fund to repair the damage done. Call in the experts who can use technology to detect them, including moisture sensors, heat sensors, and sound sensors.
Most insurance policies don’t cover termite damage, so you should have a regular inspection by a professional to catch any infestation as early as you can to minimize the risk of damage to your home that will cost a fortune to repair.
If termite activity is found during these inspections, a professional can give you a recommendation for the best way to proceed. They can suggest and carry out a suitable treatment to clear the infestation and give you back your home.