For as long as homes have been built out of wood, termites have been a dreaded pest. However, knowing the signs of termites before an infestation goes too far can save your home from costly structural damage. This article will help you understand, recognize, and know the signs of termites.
There are more than two thousand species of termites, but only around a tenth of them typically cause serious structural damage, targeting crops, forests, and buildings. They live in self-organized systems that are somewhat decentralized. Their three-caste system consists of workers, soldiers, and the reproductive class.
The primary queen, at maturity, is capable of producing as many as a couple of thousand eggs daily. The soldiers often sacrifice themselves in the defense of the colony, fighting against such natural predators and enemies as ants. It is the worker caste that is responsible for the bulk of termite damage in homes and most of the signs of termites come from their activity.
Termites are often mistaken for unusual ants; either white ants or winged ants. However, there are a number of physical differences between termites and ants. Ants have curved antennae whereas termites’ antennae are fully straight. The waist of a termite is also much thicker than that of ants. The place where an ant’s thorax meets its abdomen is very narrow, while the equivalent location on a termite is quite large.
Also, there is no such thing as a white ant. Any sighting of an ant-like insect that is pale, white, or creamy in color or even nearly translucent is likely one of a termite. When it comes to winged ants versus termites, both have two sets of wings. On a termite, however, both pairs are of equal size; in winged ants, the front wings are longer than the rear wings.
Signs of Termites
Seeing white or pale ant-like bugs or winged bugs with equal-sized pairs of wings are both clear signs of termites. Dead termites and heaps of discarded termite wings are also signs of swarms that can show up inside and outside; when inside, they tend to be on windowsills. Swarms generally emerge in spring with rainy days and warmer weather.
Other signs of termites include mud tubes, which are small tunnels found near termite nests. The tube resembles mud but is a mixture of soil, saliva, and wood. Mud tubes connect termite colonies with feeding places, protecting them as they move between their nests and their food source.
If you see any of these signs of termites, contact a professional to check your home. A professional WDO/termite inspection can uncover damage caused by a previous termite infestation and also spot signs of an active infestation. It is important to inspect for and treat a termite problem quickly before costly structural damage occurs.