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How to Tell if You Have Termites

How to tell if you have termitesThree things that termites love are wood, heat, and humidity,which makes Houston ideal termite territory. When dealing with termites, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and you’ll always be better off if you have your home treated for termites regularly to prevent any problems.

But it’s also important to know the tell-tale signs of termites and termite damage. There are a few key indicators that termites may be in your home, and seeing the signs early and calling in an exterminator can help prevent damage.

Termite Swarmers

What are these bugs flying around my house?

Probably the clearest sign of termites in you home is actually seeing termites. However, unless you know that termites grow wings and become flying insects as part of their lifecycle, you may not recognize the insects you’re seeing flying around your home are termites. When termites grow wings and fly around in large numbers, it’s called a termite swarm and the insects are termite swarmers.

Termites swarm in early spring. As part of their reproductive lifecycle, termites develop wings and a swarm of flying termites sets off to found new colony. In Houston, termite swarms are usually triggered by warm weather and humidity, the first signs of which we usually see in Houston starting in late February and into March.

Termite SwarmerIt's easy to confuse winged termites with winged ants. Termites have straight antennae, a uniform waist, and wings of equal size. Flying ants have bent antennae, constricted waists and forewings that are longer than their hind wings. However, flying ants are usually content to stay outdoors, while termites are drawn to the wood in your home. So if you wake up one morning in early spring to find your house dotted with flying insects, the bad news is that they're most likely termites.

If you see termite swarmers in your house, emerging from the base of a foundation wall or any adjoining porches or patios, it's unfortunately an almost certain sign that you're facing a termite infestation in your home.

Other Signs of Termites

Even if you don't see the termites themselves, there are still other tell-tale signs that you may have a termite problem in your home.

Discarded Wings

Even if you don’t see the termites swarming, you may see evidence that they have been there. Once termites have swarmed, they shed their wings and settle into their new nests. If you find large numbers of discarded insect wings in your home, along windowsills, near the foundation of your house or on your patio, it could be a sign that you’re playing host to a termite infestation.

Wood Damage from Termites

Termite DamageAnother key sign of the presence of termites is wood damage. Termites leave characteristic bore holes and a sawdust-like residue when they infest wood. However, since termites like to live in wood frames and foundations, these signs may not always be visible.

Sagging walls, floors or ceilings, or discolored spots on wood, walls, or drywall that look like water damage may all be signs of termite infestation.

Mud Tubes

Underground termites build tubes out of earth and mud that connect their underground nests to the open air. Termites uses these tubes to travel back and forth between their nest and their food source, which could be the wood in your house. Breaking these tubes open to see if there are any small, creamy-white worker termites within is one way of telling if the infestation is active.

Termite Droppings

Drywood termites often leave droppings that can tip you off to their presence. Because of their wood diet, it’s not surprising that termite droppings resemble piles of sawdust. These sawdust-like piles of termite droppings are called "frass". If you find what looks like unexplained piles of sawdust in your home, it’s probably time to call a pest control service. Piles of droppings often mean that any nearby wood is infested with termites.

Complete Termite Control

Now that you know what to look for when you suspect termites in your home, you should also know to call Bulls Eye Pest and Termite Control at 713-222-PEST. Bulls Eye Pest and Termite Control is fully licensed and can provide the most effective termite control solutions for your home or business.

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