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Termites - How to Identify Them and What To Do

At Prime Custom Builders, we love featuring the beauty of nature with wood accents. A glossy, beautifully grained hardwood floor, or a dreamy wrap-around porch to sip tea on in the evenings, we adore them. If you love wood surfaces as much as we do, unfortunately, you may not be the only one. If you are concerned that termites have set up camp in your home, allow us to share a few warning signs to be alert to.

Things to Look for

Tragically, most insurance companies do not cover termite damage. So, being vigilant about checking for signs of them can save you thousands in costly repairs. When opening or cleaning windows, be sure to look out for discarded wings on the windowsill or surrounding areas. Usually this is the first thing that alerts homeowners to the presence of termites. That is because male and female termites will grow wings in order to find a mate and ultimately find a new place to colonize, often times in your home. Once they are done mating, they will drop their wings and settle into their new breeding ground.

Not sure if you have noticed a flying termite or a flying ant? Notice the color. Flying termites are a white creamy color or even slightly translucent. They have two sets of wings that are both the same size. Also look at the size of the abdomen. If you find an insect with a large abdomen along with the attributes mentioned before, chances are you have got a termite.

Other telltale signs to be on the watch for would be doors or windows that have become difficult to close. Since termites create moisture and tunnels as they are eating, it can cause the wood, in these jams especially, to warp. Uneven or bubbling paint is also indicative of moisture. If you notice paint like that around your home, either you have water damage or termites. Either way, you will want to have it checked out.

A termite colony’s M.O. is to munch away at your wood from the inside out, thus creating hollowed out structures. If you suspect termites in your home, take a moment to knock on wood (no pun intended). When doing so, if the wood sounds hollow or papery, you probably have termites. And because termites are notoriously noisy eaters, you may even be able to hear their unwelcome snacking.

Lastly, dry wood termites leave behind wood colored, pellet like droppings called frass. If you happen upon something that meets that description, be sure to investigate more fully. On the other hand, the more destructive, evil cousin of dry wood termites are subterranean termites. Positive signs of these greedy wood thieves are mud tubes that they build commonly near your home’s foundation. They use these in order to provide them moisture while they travel from colony to food source. Be sure to check the surroundings of your foundation regularly for these structures.

Preemptive Measures

Often, people discover they have a termite infestation only after the damage is too far gone. Besides knowing the signs of these uninvited guests, here are a few precautionary measures you can take.

If there are two things that termites are attracted to, it is moisture and wood. Make sure to dispose of any already decayed or rotten wood, since termites much prefer softer woods to more sound pieces. Also be wary of storing piles of wood near the foundation of your home or in dark, damp, forgettable places such as the crawl space.

The foundations on homes tend to have moist soil, a termite favorite. Because of this, it would be wise to be quick about fixing leaky pipes as well as having proper water diversion elements in place to drive that moisture elsewhere.

If you have noticed signs of termites, perhaps in a nearby tree or wood pile, you can also release nematodes into the surrounding soil. These are parasitic worms that live in the soil and are natural hunters that are hungry for termites. They will continue to reproduce and eat until the termite population is decimated.

While we hope that armed with these tips you can successfully keep termites away, it is recommended that you also hire a professional to come do a thorough inspection of your home every 1-3 years. Afterall, prevention will save you the money and the inconvenience of displacement that allowing a termite infestation to go unnoticed would cost you. Do not let termites scare you away from having wood in your home, however! If you are looking to create a custom home with wood accents or any other preferred style element, allow Prime Custom Builders to assist you. We would love to hear from you.

By Prime Custom Builders 7-17-2019