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How to spot the signs of termites in San Diego

Sitting on the coastline of California, San Diego is highly susceptible to the residual effects of El Niño and Pacific hurricanes. However, the damage from such storms is not the only threat to San Diego properties. Although small in size, termites inflict a considerable amount of damage on homes and businesses every year.

Often referred to as “silent destroyers,” termites can go undetected for extended periods of time, leading to a great deal of damage. It is important to know the termite warning signs so you can take necessary action before it’s too late. Here are ten of the most common signs of a termite infestation.

1. Flying termite sightings

One of the first signs of a termite infestation is seeing a swarm of flying termites or “swarmers.” These winged termites have left their original nest to form a new colony, and your property just might be at the top of their location wishlist.

flying termite sightings

Termites traditionally prefer to remain hidden, whether it be underground, in mud tubes, or within walls. Swarmers, however, come out to find a mate and a new home. It is easy to confuse termite swarmers with winged ants, so it is best to consult a professional to be sure of what you are up against.

2. Discarded wings

The presence of flying termites brings collections of discarded wings along with it. Once they’ve found a mate, swarmers lose their wings and crawl inside their new nest to begin forming their colony.

3. Warped doors and/or ill-fitting windows

If you’re suddenly finding it difficult to open or close your windows and doors, it may not be because you’ve been skipping the weights at the gym. As termites travel and eat through wood structures, they produce moisture that changes the shape of the wood. If this takes place in a window or door frame, the warped wood can make it difficult to open and close windows or doors, as they will no longer fit as they once did.

4. Termite tunnels

broken down door from termites

Termite tunnels are generally located underneath the surface layer of wood, making them difficult to spot. However, heavy activity will leave only a very light layer intact and termites may weaken the wood to the point where the wood breaks, revealing the tunnels below.

5. Clicking or munching sounds in walls

With a termite infestation, there are a few different sounds that you could be hearing coming from your walls. In order to signal danger to the other members of the colony, soldier termites bang their heads against the wood. Additionally, you make simply be able to hear the termite workers crunching on the wood inside.

6. Frass (termite droppings)

A sudden build-up of a sawdust-like substance near wooden structures is another indicator of a termite infestation. This substance you’re seeing is frass, or termite droppings. Termites push it out of 1-2 mm holes near their nest. The droppings are often mistaken for dirt, dust, or even coffee grounds. Their color is not necessarily representative of the wood they’ve been consuming, so do not be fooled.

frass termite droppings

7. Mud tubes

Termites require moisture to survive, so in an effort to conserve said moisture, they build mud tubes through which they can travel from their nest to the structure. The mud tubes are generally the diameter of a pencil and can be cracked open to help determine whether or not a termite infestation is active. Nevertheless, even if there are no termites within the broken-off section, this doesn’t mean the infestation is no longer active. The termites simply may have moved on to another area.

8. Hollow wood

With termites eating through wood 24/7, there is sure to be some hollowing out of wooden structures. Knocking on a suspected area of termite activity can give you a sense of compromised wood density. The wood will sound and feel hollow. Floorboards may also become increasingly squeaky as a result of termite activity.

9. Peeling paint or other indicators of water damage

peeling paint due to damp water leak

As previously mentioned, termites produce moisture as they forage through wooden structures. This can lead to peeling paint, bubbling wallpaper, and other signs that resemble water damage. Seeing these signs is not a sure-fire indicator of a termite infestation, but it is definitely cause for further investigation.

10. Tiny holes in drywall

Last, but not least, is the presence of tiny holes in drywall. These are termite exit holes and are routinely filled in by the pests when they are no longer needed. Closing up the holes helps to maintain moisture within the drywall. Other insects such as beetles and carpenter bees, but usually do not cover them up. This can be telling in determining whether or not you have termites.

If you suspect termite activity in your San Diego home or business, don’t delay. It is crucial to take action against termites as soon as possible so that damage is minimized. Contact your local termite control experts at Western Exterminator today.

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