As with many unwanted houseguests, there are signs that they will be arriving soon. There's a phone call that warns you of their visit, or perhaps a knock on the door. When it comes to termites, you might not get a phone call, but there are signs that you can identify and seek help for the infestation problem.
Eyewitness - You See Termites In Your Home
If you want a definitive sign that you have termites, just look for the little critters in your house. They can be found in the damp parts of your home close to wood sources and look like small ants. However, ants have bent antennae that are often bent to nearly a right angle, while the termite's antennae are more curved. An ant has a midsection that is narrow, while a termite's is broad. A termite has wings that resemble the size and shape of its body, while an ant will not. Often, these termites are white when they are larvae and are darker in color when they begin to get older. These organisms are often no bigger than a grain of rice and will move away from light sources such as a flashlight.
When it rains, you might notice a swarm of termites flying around your home when the rain stops. If you notice this kind of swarm, you will want to call Terminix immediately. If you're not sure this is what you saw, look for wings that have been shed by the termites. These are often found on windowsills or other foundation areas as termites get into the wood of a home.
Mud Holes For Termites
If you suspect that you have termites, do a little investigating to find out if your suspicions are true. Go to your basement or to a crawl space to get a look at the foundation. If you notice cracks in it, you might want to start looking for small tubes of mud that are about the size of a pencil in diameter. These tubes can be within the masonry itself or free standing on the foundation pieces. Termites will travel through these little tubes to get to new sources of wood and of moisture. These tubes will actually originate in the soil from the outside of your foundation and move all the way into your home as they discover more food sources.
Wood Damage - The Final Straw
Although this sign might be a bit harder to see, wood damage is a sure sign that something is wrong with your foundation. When the wood begins to appear weakened or the wood in your home begins to crack, find a piece that you can break apart. If the wood has been attacked by dry rot, you will notice a fungus that is spreading and eating away at the wood. If you have termites, you will notice little tunnels that are spreading throughout the structure of the wood, weakening it.
In severe cases, the termites will have built walls that are filled with soil to keep their little caverns safe as they travel to new places for wood sources. If you should notice this kind of structure, you might have a larger termite problem than you previously thought.
Realizing that you have termites is only the beginning of the solution. Once you notice these little organisms, you might already have a serious problem. This generally means that termites have infested a large portion of your home. Contact Terminix to determine how big the problem is and what course of action needs to be taken.
Terminix will come out to your home and measure the extent of the problem as well as find out where the termites are coming from.
In smaller infestations, it may simply be a matter of fumigating the home to kill off the termites and then replacing a few pieces of wood that may have become weakened. In other cases, complete reconstruction of the damaged parts of your home is required. Following that, make sure the rebuilt sections are far away from new infestations.
Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. However, if you keep your eyes open to the possibility of a termite problem, you can often ensure that your home stays safe and secure. This might mean that you need to spend a considerable amount of money to prevent this problem from happening again. Like any other unwanted houseguest, you don't want these pests to return.
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Craig Elliott is a writer for Terminix. Terminix is a leading provider of Pest Control | Termite Services
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