Termites are sneaky. In fact, they are one of the sneakiest pests that can enter a home or business. These insects don’t crawl around where you can see them. They live almost exclusively inside the wood they are feeding on and in the soil around the structure, they are infesting. They can do this for years without detection. If you don’t believe us, ask the White House staff. Subterranean termites infested the White House for years until swarms started appearing in the West Wing just 30 feet from the Oval Office. If termites can avoid detection in this building, where security and attention to detail is a priority, how much easier will it be for them to go undetected in the wood of your property?
In our South Carolina service area, both drywood and subterranean termites present a threat to man-made structures. Here are some ways these wood-destroying organisms can be detected.
- Drywood termites prefer hardwood. This will cause them to attack window and door frames. If you have these insects in your frames, you should see tiny holes and dry pellets below. These pellets are feces, also called frass. Termites push them out of their tunnels through these kick holes. Frass is sometimes mistaken for sawdust, but it has more in common with grains of sea salt or coffee grounds. These pellets are hard and brown to tan in color.
- Drywood termite damage can sometimes be seen. Of the two types of termites that can attack your South Carolina home, these will be the least stealthy. You may see chewed paint, carved wood, holes, and other wood damage, if you have these insects–but not always. You’ll also notice frass on or under areas where drywood termites are feeding.
- Subterranean termites are moisture pests that avoid the drying effects of the air and sun. This makes them much more stealthy than drywood termites. You’re not going to see pellets or wood damage with these termites, but you may see the mud tubes they build on the sides of basement walls and interior walls. These tubes are external tunneling that protects them as they go from their colony in the soil to the wood of the structure they are feeding on. Mud tubes can be small, thin, and barely detectable, or large networks of veins that are hard to miss. It depends on the structure they are invading.
- Termites communicate by tapping their heads on tunnel walls. If you put your ear to wood that has an active infestation in it, you may hear clicking or a rustling noise. But, this noise is not always present.
- When a nest matures, it will begin to produce male and female alates. These are winged termites that leave the nest to mate and develop a new nest. These winged termites are most often called swarmers because they swarm together when they first leave the nest. This is a sign many people misread. When winged termites appear, it is not usually a sign of an impending infestation but, rather, a sign that an infestation is already established and that a mature nest is already present.
- When windows and doors begin to stick, subterranean termites are often to blame. When these insects feed on support beams, it can weaken the structural integrity and cause studs to bend and warp.
- Subterranean termite damage will also manifest itself in the form of bulging walls, sinking floors, dipping ceilings, and damage that looks like it was done by water.
We do not recommend that you wait till you see signs of a termite infestation before you take steps to protect your property from these wood-destroying organisms. Termite damage can be prevented through the implementation of the Sentricon® Termite Colony Elimination System with Always Active technology and direct termite control protocols.
At Spencer Pest Services, the termites we see most often are subterranean termites. In fact, it isn’t a matter of “if” a structure will be attacked by these termites but “when” it will be. That is why we don’t just provide termite protection, we give our customers guaranteed termite control. Our termite service is backed by a $1,000,000 repair guarantee for both Eastern subterranean termites and Formosan termites, the most destructive termites in the United States. When you need termite insurance, you can count on Spencer Pest Services to keep your equity safe.