Termites: 5 Signs to Look for in Your Home

There are plenty of things that a homeowner does not want to contend with. An infestation of creepy crawlies is certainly near the top of the list. One of the worst of those critters to deal with is an infestation of termites.

Termites can do major damage to your home over time if given the opportunity. The problem is recognition.

Fortunately (sort of), there are signs that you may be dealing with a termite problem in your home. If you can spot one of these things happening, it may give you the time needed to eliminate the problem before major damage is done to the home. Alternatively, you can also simply go straight to contacting the local professionals who offer termite treatment in Melbourne.

1. Keep Your Ears Open

You may have considered at one time or another what a termite sounds like. Well, if you know the sound, you may be able to identify termites before it’s too late. Termites can make clicking sounds when they get in behind the walls.
Moreover, soldier termites will actually bang their heads up against the wood or even shake their entire bodies whenever the colony is disturbed. The purpose of these actions is to send a signal of danger to the rest of the termites.
The worker termites, the ones actually eating away at the woodwork, tend to also be noisy eaters. If you listen closely, you can actually hear them chewing away. That said, they are also sensitive to noises and vibrations, so move with care and caution.

2. White Ants

One of the most common mistakes that people make is confusing termites with ants. They may even refer to termites as being “white ants.” Given their general size and shape, it can be easy to make that misconception. In some cases, the two may even behave in a similar manner.
So, recognising the differences can be crucial. For starters, termites are light in colour while ants are darker. Termites can even look translucent in the right light. If you see small, light-coloured bugs, it definitely is not an ant.
A termite also has a much thicker waste section. Ants have a narrow part where the abdomen and thorax meet, whereas the termite’s section is quite thick.
Finally, both species have flying variations. They both have two sets of wings, but there is a difference. Ants generally have different sized wings, whereas both sets for the termite are about the same. Honestly, the easiest thing to remember is that there are no white ants. Keep that in mind and you’ll know the difference.

3. Flying Termites

Speaking of wings, it probably came as a surprise to find out that termites can fly. When you see the signs of an infestation, the first sign will be the flying termites. These are known as alates or swarmers. They are both female and male and have left the nest in search of a new mate to establish a colony of their own.
These flying termites are typically attracted to light. Some species may swarm during the day, but drywood termites will swarm after a rain, so be on the lookout during those periods of time.
Another sign is if you find discarded wings. These can be hard to see but flying termites will lose their wings shortly after they find a mate. They then crawl into their nesting site, seal themselves in, and start making the new colony.

4. Tunnels in Wood

It can be difficult to actually spot a termite given the small crevices that they reside in. So, while it may be ideal to actually see a termite before determining that you have an infestation, it may not get that far.
Also known as “galleries,” these tunnels can be quite obvious to see if there is broken timber either in or near your home. If you notice these tunnels, you can be almost 100% certain that there are termites somewhere nearby.
Even if they aren’t quite visible, there are plenty of tools available now to discover them. Infrared detectors, borescopes, electronic odour detectors, and even dogs have all been used to detect termites and their tunnels. Much like seeing the termites themselves, if you see the tunnels, it is time to call in a professional immediately.

5. Hard-to-Open Windows and Tight Fitting Doors

This can actually be somewhat of a tricky sign, given that there are other things that can lead to these issues, not to mention older homes where it can be easy to chalk up the various issues to the age of the home.

When the weather is hot and damp in particular, windows can seem stiff or doors warped. While it may have a bit to do with the weather, it is also an indication of termites. They produce moisture as they eat and tunnel through the wood.

The moisture that they create while tunnelling and eating can eventually cause the wood to warp. When the wood warps, it doesn’t fit quite the same and can make opening windows and doors more difficult than it may have previously been.

If you notice that your doors and windows aren’t quite as smooth as they were, especially around damp weather, consider having a professional take a look.

Termites are certainly nothing to mess with as a homeowner. Despite their diminutive appearance, they can do major damage to the structure of your home. That is why recognising the signs of a termite infestation is so important.

There is nothing fun about having a termite inspection in Melbourne or bringing in an exterminator to eliminate an infestation problem. But the alternative – major damage done to your home – is certainly less desirable. Recognise the signs early and you will be able to quickly eliminate the problem as well as rebuild the damage that they have done.

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Cindy Leow

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