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How to spot a termite infestation

Termites thrive mostly in dry wood, some many homes can be at risk from a termite infestation in their roof beams, wooden cornices and doors. They can hide for years in your home’s foundations, going undetected until the structural integrity of your home is severely compromised. They eat anything made of wood, from furniture to skirting boards, located in your home.

If you know there are termites in the neighborhood, it’s a good idea to do regular checks around your home and to get rid of them as soon as possible. Your best solution is to call a pest control expert and get them to survey your home if you suspect a termite infestation. Here are six signs that you may have termites in your home:

1. Clicking sounds

The sound of clicking coming from your walls or skirting boards is one indicator of termites. When the colony is disturbed, soldier termites hammer their heads on the wood or shake their bodies to warn the other termites. Worker termites are noisy eaters and you can hear them crunching away if you put your ear close to any termite-infested wood.

2. Flying termites

The presence of flying termites, also known as swarmers or alates, is usually the first sign of a termite infestation. Male and female flying termites leave the nest to find a mate and create a new colony, which could be near or in your home.

All drywood termites tend to swarm after rain. Keep an eye out for discarded wings, as flying termites shed their wings soon after finding a mate. These critters are a popular sight in certain regions of South Africa after the first rains.

3. Wood that sounds papery or hollow

Termites eat wood from the inside out, leaving only a thin veneer of wood or paint behind. A termite-damaged area will sound hollow or papery when you knock or tap on it. This is due to the fact that some or all of the wood inside has been eaten away. If you knock on an infested piece of skirting board or wooden object in the home, you could put a hole through the surface, so be sure to do this gently to avoid creating more damage than necessary.

4. Doors and windows that are difficult to open

When termites eat and tunnel through door and window frames, the moisture they produce causes the wood to warp. This can make it difficult to open the doors and windows. There will also likely be visible mud tunnels or trails on the surfaces of these wooden frames if there is a colony of termites living within.

5. Tunnels in wood

Termite tunnels, also known as ‘galleries,’ are difficult to spot from the outside, but if you notice them in a piece of broken wood near or inside your home, it’s a sure sign that termites have taken up residence.

6. Termite Droppings

Termite droppings are a common indicator of their recent or continued presence. This is a sign that a pest control expert will look for during a termite inspection. Termite droppings appear as small black marks and a dark powdery substance in and around the area they are infesting.

If you suspect a termite infestation in your home, take immediate action. They can seriously impact the structural integrity of your home and cause widespread damage that can be extremely expensive to repair. A pest control company will be able to fumigate a colony of termites within a matter of minutes, so be sure to contact one before more damage is done.

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Written by Taryn Hill

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