Offering Civil Servant's Discount on Home Inspection Services

Early Signs of Termite Damage to Look For

House Pro Home Inspection Inc.   |  

A bunch of termites in the ground.

If you've read the novel Full of Life by John Fante, you're well aware that a termite infestation isn't a good thing as it can summon your drunken parent to help you battle it. Therefore, one needs to pay some good attention to the early signs of termite damage so they can react as soon as possible. Here's some bad news: termites can live inside your place (or on your property) for a long time before you even detect them being there. It doesn't matter whether we're talking about dry wood or subterranean termites; they're tough to discover. In order to minimize the damage termites can "produce", it's imperative to notice the warning signs we'll show you below ASAP. Therefore, stay tuned for some useful information!

#1 Hollowed (or simply: damaged) wood

If you notice hollowed or damaged wood inside your place, that might point to the fact that you're dealing with a termite infestation. Make sure to check your floors and walls. Unfortunately, termites are able to eat your walls from the inside out. That's, among other things, why they're so difficult to spot. Also, they'll hollow out wood studs inside your walls (however, they won't emerge). These walls will, in turn, sound empty once you tap on them.
Additionally, termites will chew through wooden surfaces to eliminate the cellulose. They'll leave hefty grooves behind them. These grooves might look like some sort of a maze or honeycomb pattern.

A piece of wood with holes in it.
Hollow wood is one of the most common signs of termite infestation.

#2 Doors or windows that are a bit hard to open

As we've said in the above paragraph, termites will chew on your wood in their quest for cellulose. This will, of course, do some damage to the wood causing it to buckle or warp. As a result, you'll have a hard time opening and closing doors and windows. To phrase it differently, stuck doors and windows or ones that won't entirely close are, most probably, early warning signs that you're dealing with termites inside your home.

Once you notice this, feel free to reach out to professionals. Also, you'll have to find a way to store some of your home inventory during the cleanup and renovation process. Luckily, there's a good solution for this, and it comes in the shape of a self-storage unit. There are many benefits of renting self-storage during renovation and repairs, but one of the most important ones is that it will prevent damage to your other items and furniture pieces.

#3 Look for shed insect wings

If you notice shed wings on your property, it could be from flying ants. However, their previous owners might've been swarmer termites. Once a termite colony reaches maturity, it sends out these swarmers so that they can kick-start new colonies. If colony starters have already visited your home, you'll find their shed wings in places such as windows sills, decks, or patios. Feel free to do a DIY outdoor home inspection. Also, you might stumble upon shed wings on foundation walls or notice they're stuck in spider webs.

#4 Noisy walls

If you have got great hearing, you might be able to hear some termite noise coming from the inside of the walls. Otherwise, use a stethoscope for hunting for noise inside the walls. Here's the thing: noises you might hear come from the so-called soldier termites. They're banging their head against the walls to alert other termites. You'll hear something that will remind you of a faint clicking noise. However, you won't hear anything if soldiers haven't perceived the situation as dangerous.

A colony of termites.
Soldier termites will make some noise when in danger.

#5 Ever heard of frass?

One of the most noticeable signs of a termite infestation is something called frass. Frass represents wood-colored termite droppings. You might mistake it for sawdust. If you stumble upon frass, you're dealing with a drywood termite infestation inside your home. This type of termite doesn't use feces to build its tunnels. They push it out of little holes near the nest entrance. This kind of waste management system will result in the appearance of small black marks and a dark powder-ish substance near the area of infestation. In other words, you'll see frass.

#6 What about mud tubes?

Since we've discussed drywood termites in the above paragraphs, let's consider the case of subterranean termites. The most common sign that this type of termite has invaded your home is the appearance of mud tubes. These tubes allow termites to travel between the soil and their food source. In most cases, they're attached to structures and are usually found near the foundation. You shouldn't worry too much about these since they're very easy to spot with the naked eye. Termites build these structures (made of soil and feces) to provide the species with the necessary moisture. Luckily, there's a way you can avoid attracting this type of termite: store firewood, mulch, and wood chips someplace other than your home.

#7 The issue with short circuits

If you notice that power at your house repeatedly short circuits, it might signal your home has become a place where termites party. That's because termites find the warmth of electrical fittings behind the walls very appealing. Therefore, they might be the sole reason short circuits are common inside your place. As always, there's a method you can use to check out if this is the case.

Simply inspect your electrical fittings and power points, and if you notice a build-up of damp mud or soil, there's a good chance you've got termites. Also, one shouldn't try to fix this issue alone. It can be downright hazardous. Your best bet is to reach out to professionals to help eliminate termites and fix the issue.

A power cable.
If short circuits are quite often inside your place, that might mean you've got termites.

#8 Tunnels in wood

Lastly, let's consider how you can tell if there are termites near your home. It's not easy to spot tunnels in wood if they're not exposed. However, if you notice tunnels inside a piece of broken timber somewhere near your place, it's one of the early signs of termite damage. It might point out that termites have already found their home inside your house.

Closing thoughts on the subject of early signs of termite damage
Alright, dear readers, that's all we've prepared today on the early signs of termite damage. Now you're well aware of the detection process. Hopefully, you won't have to deal with the consequences of termite infestation that went unnoticed even if it "gave out" some clues. However, if you do, these tips will better prepare you for such a situation so you can resolve it quickly and with minimum damage.

Photos used: