When I was younger, I remember my family drawing detailed plans of the house and planning routes of escape if there was ever a fire. We also talked about safe places to hide in my house if there was ever a tornado. The threat of tornado or fire damage to a house seems clear, but I never knew how damaging termites could be. Though not as life threatening as fires or tornadoes, termites can still end up costing a fortune in structural damage; they cost Americans an average of 5 billion annually. To help avoid the headache of a termite infestation, here are five signs that may help you catch an infestation before it's too late.
Though most termites look like fat white ants, some have wings and scout out places to settle in during the spring. If you see these winged termites, you will want to prepare for the possibility that the rest of the termite colony will follow shortly. If you see the discarded wings and not the winged termites, it's very likely the termites have already settled down in your house.
Another major sign of a termite infestation is rotting or hollow wood. Termites like to eat wood from the inside out, so knock on wood in your house to hear if it's hollow. Another telltale sign is frass, the droppings termite produce. They look like wood colored pellets, so keep an eye out.
Finally, look for mud tubes near the foundation of your house. Though they are the hardest sign to detect, they are the most vital sign to catch because mud tubes are created by subterranean termites, the most harmful species of termites. They tunnel through soil as they go from one food source to another.
Termites aren't the only bugs to be weary of in a home; you might want to figure out how to combat bed bugs while you're at it.