If subterranean termites were damaging your property right now, would you know it? What does this damage look like and where would you look to find it? Do you know? If you don't, you're in good company. Some of the smartest people in the world don't know how to identify subterranean damage or where to find it. In this article, our goal is to inform you what termite damage looks like, specifically subterranean termite damage, where to find it, and what to do when you discover termites have invaded your home!
What does subterranean termite damage look like?
If you rip a wall apart during home renovation and find damage that looks like thin tunnels stacked on top of each other, you are most likely dealing with termites in your home. These tunnels will appear dirty and gritty because subterranean termites bring soil into their tunnels to provide moisture. The presence of this grit is also how you can tell the difference between termite tunnels and carpenter ant tunnels, as carpenter ant tunnels are smooth and free of debris.
Most of the time, termite damage will be hidden in dark, damp, secluded areas because subterranean termites have an aversion to light and are attracted to moisture. They rarely break through their tunnel walls to the outside air, the way carpenter ants, carpenter bees, wood-boring beetles, and other wood-damaging pests do, making them very difficult to detect. Even drywood termites have a propensity to reveal themselves by accidentally chewing through tunnel walls. Subterranean termites, on the other hand, will feed all the way to the paint without breaking through. However, these damages can cause the paint to look bubbly or dented which may alert you to their presence if you know what to look for.
If subterranean termites feed on soft, moist wood in areas of high humidity at night or under the cover of extreme darkness, they may create damage that looks like the wood has been chewed by insects which makes sense because that is exactly what is happening. You should also be able to see the tunneling within if you look closely.
When subterranean termites feed on the floorboards of the home, it can cause the surface of the wood to begin to cave in. This will cause it to appear splintered, cracked, or chipped.
Where will I find subterranean termite damage?
As you can probably guess, you'll find subterranean termite damage in many of the places described above. You may find termites inside the wood of your wall. You may find termites in the timbers of a crawl space under your home or business. They may be found in moist wood under a deck, porch, patio, or behind the landscaping near your foundation. Like we mentioned above, subterranean termites can even be found in your floorboards.
Inside a home or business, these termites will gravitate toward areas of moisture and water-damaged lumber. That is why many pest control professionals use a moisture meter when dealing with a termite infestation. While moisture in the wall does not mean that termites are definitely in there, it helps termite control technicians apply liquid termiticides in the most likely locations of termite habitation. When worker termites come in contact with the termiticides, they share the product with other workers. It will then transfer from termite to termite, all the way back to the queen.
How bad are termites, really?
The termite species we deal with most often in New Jersey is the Eastern subterranean termite. While they are not the most destructive of all subterranean termite species, destructive capability is not the most important factor to look at when determining how much damage a subterranean termite colony can do. Destructive capability is more dependant upon how long a colony is allowed to feed on your property. And since Eastern subterranean termites give little or no sign of their presence, they can feed on a structure for years while remaining undetected.
What can I do about termites?
The purchase of a home is one of the biggest purchases most people will ever make. It is an investment that must be maintained and kept up in order to retain its value. One of the hardest maintenance duties a homeowner has to keep up with is protection against pests. Pests are difficult to control without training in pest protocols. But that doesn't stop insurance companies from claiming that pest control is a homeowner's responsibility as part of reasonable maintenance and leaving them holding the bill when destructive pests like subterranean termites eat their investment from the inside out! Our suggestion is that homeowners invest in termite control services that comes with a termite warranty to ensure that their home is protected.
At Arrow Pest Control, we provide termite monitoring for many of the communities we service. Find out if your community is one of them by clicking here! We also offer the option of bundling termite control with other pest control so you can protect your home from over 30 common New Jersey pests, while also guarding against termite infestation. This service plan is called Arrow Premier. Take a look at our Arrow Premier plan and see if it right for you.
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