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How to Spot Termite Damage

July 31 2010

Termites love to eat wood.  Houses are made with wood elements.  Ergo, termites want to eat at your house.  But since termites usually live and dine unseen, how can you tell if you have a few hundred unwelcome dinner guests?

The signs of a termite infestation are unmistakable.
You can hear them in your walls. If you hear faint movement and tapping, it is likely to be termites.

You see their droppings. Cleanliness is next to bugliness. Termites keep their own homes free of feces and dead termites, so they tend to deposit their offal outside of your walls.

You have dark or soft spots in your wood. Easily scratched wood may be infested.  Don’t forget to check the foundations of decks, as well. 

You find mud tunnels, tubes, or mud piles. These will appear near your foundation to indicate an infestation.

You see small holes in the walls. Your sheetrock, plaster, wallpaper, and mouldings look like a tiny woodpecker is after your walls.
You see wood damage. Wood floors will droop, buckle, or sag if termite damaged.  Sawdust may be present. You’ll also see discolored or blistered wood from termite tunneling damage.

You see ripples in your walls. Dirt channels or ripples that go up the length of your drywall is likely termite activity. Tapping and prodding on the wood around your home may reveal termite activity or damage, if the sound is hollow. 

You see ant-like insects with white wings. You may also find termite bodies or dropped wings near your home’s foundation. 

Unfortunately, you can’t always tell if tunnels, mounds, and other signs are current, so if you are buying a new home, make sure you have a termite inspection by a professional service.  And, if you’re a homeowner, call a professional termite exterminator to remediate if you are suspicious.
Since termites can do a tremendous amount of damage before you even are aware, it pays to regularly check your home for signs of infestation, particularly in any damp areas such as a basement, laundry room, crawlspace, etc. 

Check with your neighbors to see if they’ve had any termite activity lately. If another house has been recently treated recently, termites just might decide to come dine at your house.