This is a curious topic because most of the time, the damages caused by termites are not visible to us as they are typically done inside wood or in hidden and secluded locations where we aren’t going to be able to see it. Subterranean termites, the most destructive termites in the United States and the termites that most commonly invade homes and businesses in our Pennsylvania service, feed almost entirely on the inside of wood. Therefore, if they are devouring the support timbers in your home, you're not going to see them doing it or notice the damages caused as they will be hidden away inside the wood. But there are a few signs that can help alert you to the fact that you have a termite problem. Let's take a look at some of the secret places these termites feed and examine a few ways you may be able to detect termite damage.
Secret Locations Where Termites Feed
When subterranean termites attack a home, they do so from the ground. This often brings them into crawl spaces under a home, where they build shelter tubes made of mud to get to and from the wood of your home and their colonies in the soil beneath. These mud tubes may also be found on or inside foundation walls or inside the cement block piers that hold up your home. Worker termites have an aversion to light, so the darker it is, the happier those worker termites will be. This is one of the reasons they often damage our homes in dark, secluded areas.
Subterranean termites are attracted to moist soil and deterred by sunlight. This will have them establishing themselves underneath concrete slabs. If your home has a slab underneath it, these termites will exploit cracks in it as they develop over time. This will give them access to the interior wood of your home without them having to build shelter tubes.
If subterranean termites create their nests near your home, they may do so in the moist soil underneath your mulch or in the soil under your landscaping. When they do, they can build shelter tubes under or behind your steps in order to gain access to your home. They may attack your deck, patio, or porch, and work their way into your home through any connecting wood source as well. If you have a deck or other external structure, the darkness underneath provides worker termites the perfect location to build their shelter tubes.
Once inside, termites can feed on our homes in wall voids, crawl spaces, floors, structural timbers, and other locations out of sight.
Warning Signs of Termite Danger
Worker termites will feed right up to the paint on your walls without chewing through. If they do this in one of your walls, you may begin to see the paint start to bubble. This can also happen if they're feeding behind wallpaper. It is rare, but it can happen, so it is important to be aware of this sign.
When worker termites feed on the wood in your home, they will target softwood or wood that has been damaged by moisture. If any of your baseboards have been exposed to moisture, you may find termite damage on the surface of these baseboards. If your baseboards are being damaged by termites, they will begin to look dented.
If worker termites find a dark, moist location to feed on wood, you might actually find visible trenches and tunneling. This may happen in areas like at the base of fence posts or in areas of your home with direct wood-to-soil contact. If you see these kinds of damages, you'll be able to tell whether or not you are dealing with a termite problem or a carpenter ant problem by feeling the tunnel walls. Carpenter ant tunnels are smooth and free of debris while the tunnels created by subterranean termites will appear rough and jagged. These tunnels will also have a dirty grit in them because worker termites bring soil into their tunnels to increase the moisture levels inside.
Most of the time, you're not going to notice termite damage until it has become extensive. This is when doors and windows will begin to stick or windows will open and close freely, and when walls will bulge, ceilings will start to sink, floors will begin to dip, and corners will sink, alerting you to the fact that you have a termite infestation in your home. But at this point, it will be too late.
Termite damage is preventable, if you take the right precautions. You don't have to let those sneaky insects destroy your home! Partner with us at Witt Pest Management and let our certified termite control professionals protect your investment from being infested. With over a century of experience, you can trust Witt to safeguard your equity!