Signs of Termites can be like Baseball Statistics
As baseball returns full time to America after the all-star game, I am reminded that discovering a termite infestation in your house is a little bit like analyzing the statistics of a pitcher in baseball. This may seem a strange metaphor, but what it boils down to is the fact that things may look like they’re humming along swimmingly on the surface.
But things are not always as they seem. While your house may look like it’s in perfect shape and in working order, it may be the unsuspecting victim of a termite infestation. How is this like pitching analysis, you ask?
You see, pitchers are traditionally judged by three main statistics: Wins, Earned Run Average and Strikeouts. At the end of the season, these are generally great indicators of how well someone pitched.
But if you dig a little deeper to find other clues, you may see trends such as a decreasing strikeout rate, a drop in pitch speed, or an increase of walks allowed. These are all negative factors which may be a clue that the bottom is about to drop out on the pitcher.
Don’t let the bottom drop out of your house. Keep an eye out for these underlying signs that it might be time to call a termite exterminator.
The first sign of termites you want to look for is the presence of Termite Swarmers. When termites are young and winged – ah, to be young and winged again! – they are referred to as either Swarmers or Reproductives. And like youthful teenagers spreading their wings on a sultry summer night down by the sea, Swarmers are on the hunt for a mate.
At this point, like a young future college freshman in search of the perfect dormitory, the Swarmer is also seeking a new place to live. That means, unfortunately, that they are looking for a house just like yours. There they look to create a new colony, which is unwelcome news for you.
The good news, however, is that they leave behind a trace. You may actually see the winged pests in your home searching for a place to dig in their heels. If not, you may very well be able to spy their discarded wings after they’ve been shed. Wings can often be found near doors or by windowsills. Not only is this the first sign of a potential termite infestation in your home, but it also may very well be the only sign that is visible to you. You should immediately act if you suspect you’ve stumbled onto a pair of discarded wings, so that you may turn a termite’s blossoming love affair inside your home into a termite tragedy of Romeo & Juliet proportions.
Frass is another term for termite droppings. Eww. As termites eat their way through a house, they leave behind wood-colored droppings. They will probably be lumped together in what looks like a small pile of pellets, and they may be found either inside or outside the home.
Frass, in and of itself, is not a danger to your home. However, a discovery of frass means you have a termite problem that you are going to want to take care of as soon as possible.
Termites, of course, are famous for their consumption of wood. This is why they are so dangerous to your house, after all. When termites eat wood, they do so starting from the inside and then work their way outwards. As a result, wood that sounds hollow may be a warning sign that you have a termite infestation.
Wood may also blister when attacked by the hungry pests. Another indicator that your wood is being chewed to the bone by termites is the presence of small holes in the wood. Cracks or fissures in the wood may or may not be a sign of termites, but if you are noticing cracks in the wood it may be time to call an exterminator.
Exterior Mud Tubes
When we were just children growing up too fast, friends of ours would join us in attempting to dig holes all the way to China – we only made it about two feet deep so we presumably had a long way to go. Little did we know that at the very same time there might be termites outside of our house digging what are known as Mud Tubes.
The second sign of termites that can be key in identifying their presence in your home is the existence of these Mud Tubes outside, near the foundations of your home. Mud Tubes, which consist of both soil and Termite Droppings – eww, again – provide moisture to the pests as they travel between a colony and a source of nutrition (i.e. your home).
One way to prevent your home from attracting termites is to keep materials rich with moisture such as mulch, wood chips, or firewood that may be stored there away from the house. Although, as always, prevention is the best way to protect yourself, the presence of Mud Tubes will reveal the existence of these awful pests in your home. You should contact an exterminator immediately in this case.
Don’t Strike Out on Termite Watch
When it’s late in a close game and there are two men on base the last thing a baseball pitcher wants to do is walk the batter. This creates a terrible amount of pressure on the pitcher to try and prevent runs from scoring. That’s one reason why piling on lots of walks may be an underlying sign that your seemingly ace-caliber pitcher is having a major problem.
Similarly, you want to remain vigilant for signs like Mud Tubes, holes in your wood, or Frass to make sure you don’t have a termite problem that is a danger to your property. Being diligent about the presence of termites in your home by noticing the underlying signs of termites will help you take care of a major termite problem before it’s too late.
Suspect that you may have a termite problem in your house? Or perhaps it’s some other pest that you may be having trouble identifying? Here’s a list with images of many of the pests that can be a nuisance to you and your family or even a major threat to your home and property in South Florida. On that page you can also get in touch with us if you would like a free inspection to help you in further identifying the problem and in seeking solutions. If you think you need help, let’s chat!