Termites are a serious problem for land owners. Both homeowners and businesses owners can be hit with a termite infestation problem. In the United States termites are a 2 billion dollar a year problem and it's even worse globally.
The best possible way to deal with termites is to stop them early. The trick then becomes finding and identifying the warning signs of termite infestation. With a watchful eye these warning signs can be found.
Sign 1: Termite TubesThe first sign of termite problems are termite tubes, sometimes called termite shelter tubes. These are made by subterranean termites. Subterranean termites don't like to cross open areas. They prefer to stay concealed and in contact with the earth. So when subterranean termites need to cross open areas to get to their food, they build mud tubes to cross the open distance.
Commonly subterranean termites build a mud tube to cross a buildings foundation. They will build a tube up from the ground and into direct contact with the wood where they can start eating the wood and tunneling into it. Termites also build mud tubes in crawl spaces. They can literally build a mud tube straight up from the ground up to supporting beams and subfloors.
You should keep your eyes open for shelter tubes on a buildings foundation. Simply breaking them will reveal if there are any active termites within them. And if there are active termites there, they will be repaired quickly. While it is usually pretty easy to spot shelter tubes when they are crossing a foundation, shelter tubes in crawl spaces are harder spot. So any crawl spaces in a building should be inspected as well.
Sign 2: Wood DamageThis is rather obvious, but you should watch for any signs of wood damage.
As termites eat away at wood, they will create tunnels though the wood. Termite damaged wood will have a hollow sound to it the more tunnels the termites dig. Over time they will hollow out 2x4's and supporting beams, making it brittle, so it's best to spot the problem sooner rather than later.
When termites accidently break through the surface of the wood, they will cover the exposed area with mud. There burrowing can also cause paint to look like its bubbling and cause wood to warp.
Additionally, Drywood termites will purposefully burrow to the surface of the wood and leave a small hole. They will use this hole to remove waste from the colony. Underneath these kick holes, little piles of termite droppings will form. They will resemble little piles of pellets. While some may pass this off as simple dust, reoccurring piles will indicate the presence of an active colony.
Sign 3: Termite SwarmersTermite swarmers are young queen and king termites. These termites leave their home colonies, pair off and start new colonies of termites. Take note: these termite swarmers only come from established colonies. When they leave their colony, they do so in massive groups. This is where they get the name swarmers.
The presence of termite swarmers around your home could mean a couple things. 1) There is a termite colony around your home or nearby or 2) there is about to be. You should be alert for termite swarmers and also random, disguarded wings. After they start a colony, the young king and queen termites will shed their wings. While that may not be a lot to go on, it is a warning sign that the termites can't hide.