What are the signs of termites in your home?

Termite mudding on fence

Knowing the signs of termite activity can literally save you a fortune! But how many homeowners know what to look for, and how often do they inspect their home? Here’s the low down for homeowners on how to pick up on the signs of termite activity.

Know your enemy…

The termite species that do most of the damage in Australia are subterranean termites, which means they live underground. They are very secretive, often causing significant damage before they are noticed. They build tunnels underground from their nest, which can be up to 100m away from your home. Only when they make their way above ground do they become visible – they make mud tubes or mud sheets over surfaces to protect themselves from predators and prevent themselves from drying out (they like moisture and high humidity).

1st sign of termite activity: Mud tubes or mudding

Termite mud tubes on tree
Termite mud tubes on trees and fencing are a sure sign of active termites in your yard

The first place to look for mud tubes and mudding would be on trees, timber fencing and other wooden structures in the yard – a sure sign termites may be in the area and could be attacking your home. The second place to look would be low down on the exterior of your home, in the sub-floor (if you have one) and in the roof void. Often this is a lot more difficult to spot and normally a job for a professional termite inspector.

2nd sign of termite activity: Termite damage

Ripples on paintwork can indicate termite activity underneath

Major termite damage should be fairly obvious to detect; a collapsed floor or roof. However, termites are expert engineers and can cause significant damage without being noticed. Termites typically eat wood to just below the surface, leaving a thin veneer to provide protection from predators and keep them moist. When this occurs on painted wood, ripples in the paint can be detected. When this occurs on bare wood or behind plasterboard, occasionally they break through the surface and they need to plug the holes with a little bit of mud. Small dots or areas of mud on a surface, are sure signs that termite damage has occurred underneath.

3rd sign of termite activity: Winged termites

Winged termites (kings and queens) readily lose their wings on landing

Although worker termites (the ones that do all the damage) are normally hidden, once a year each termite nest releases thousands of winged termites – the new kings and queens looking to start a new termite colony. These termites will often be seen on warm, humid nights in great numbers, often gathering around lights. They are a brown colour and have two pairs of wings that easily fall off. If you see these termites or just the piles of wings on the ground (or on window sills or in the roof void), it means there is a termite nest close by and you should call a termite professional immediately.

4th sign of termite activity: Strange noises in the night

With a significant termite infestation, strange, quiet scratching or tapping noises can often be heard, especially at night (if you’ve got good hearing!). These are the sounds of termites chewing or ‘head-banging’ as they communicate with each other.

When you know what to look for, try and get into a habit of looking around your property every month or two. If you suspect any of the signs above, don’t disturb the termites by picking mud tubes and certainly don’t spray them with any household insecticide. Both actions will make them far more difficult to control.  If you suspect anything suspicious call us immediately for a complete termite inspection.

However, with termite damage not covered by your standard home insurance, don’t just rely on your own checks, an annual professional termite inspection is a must. AllPro Pest Control uses experienced and fully licensed / insured termite inspector who used specialised equipment to detect termites and their activity. Getting a comprehensive termite inspection each year, will also pick up conditions around your home that may be making it more susceptible to termite attack (which you can remedy) and provide you with a recommendation about termite protection for your property.

Make sure you protect your most valuable asset and book your termite inspection with AllPro Pest Control today.

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