Subterranean termites are considered to be the most damaging species of termite of all. These termites can damage the infrastructure of buildings and homes, putting them at risk for catastrophic consequences. Subterranean termites are found in every US state except Alaska.
It can be hard to detect subterranean termites as they eat wood from the inside out, often staying hidden until significant damage is done. They can enter through stucco, slab foundation, or any other hidden area with access to the structure. In order to prevent termites, it’s important to recognize the signs you may have an infestation. Here are 6 signs of subterranean termites:
One of the earliest signs of subterranean termites are termite swarms. Termite swarms emerge in the spring or early summer to reproduce and establish new colonies. Seeing a termite swarm indicates the presence of a nearby colony and indicate another colony will be starting up soon, increasing your risk of an infestation inside your home.
Mud tubes are another indication of subterranean termites. These are tubes they build to travel back and forth between your home and their nest. They protect them from damage and predators and allow them to accumulate moisture which termites need to survive. Mud tubes are typically about the size of a pencil and can be on walls, ceilings, floors, exterior surfaces, and on the sides of slabs.
Termites don’t just leave visual clues to their presence – you can also hear them! If a colony is larger and established, you may hear a faint clicking or knocking sound behind your walls or in other voids. The noise is the sound of soldier termites banging their heads against wood or vibrating their bodies to indicate danger is imminent. You can even sometimes hear the worker termites chewing through the wood of your home.
During an annual termite inspection, a termite control technician may tap the wooden surfaces of your home. If termite damage is present, you will hear a hollow or paper sound instead of a solid thud when tapped. You can also look for blistering or bubbling paint or other abnormalities in or near wood structures, including window and door trim. Termite damage can often mimic water damage.
When subterranean termites tunnel through wood, they push debris and waste out behind them through tiny openings. Frass is the name for this waste they excrete. If you notice pin-sized holes with small black marks or dark powdery substance around them, these indicate the presence of kick out holes made by the termites. You may also see piles of sawdust looking material which is the frass.
Floor, door, and window damage may also indicate a termite infestation. Sagging floors can indicate a well established infestation. Take note of any floors that buckle or sag and have them inspected. Doors and windows are another area that may indicate a problem. When these structures warp or don’t open and close smoothly, it can indicate the presence of termites, as well.