How To Tell If You Have Termites (Infestation Early Warning Signs)


If you are a homeowner or ever plan on being one you should take the time to learn how to tell if you have termites. Termites may be tiny but they are no joke. Through their collective power, they are estimated to cause over 50 million dollars worth of damage annually. For something that is considered more financially destructive that tornadoes, hurricanes, and many other natural disasters, these little critters are largely ignored by homeowners until serious damage is done.

Do not be one of the statistics. Taking five minutes to read this article will help you learn to know if you might have termites. Once you learn the different signs to keep an eye out for you should do your own little termite inspection once every few months.

That being said, you should really have a professional conduct a thorough inspection at least once a year. Perhaps twice a year if you live in a high-risk area for termites. And don’t worry these are usually free.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Are Termites So Difficult to Spot?
  2. Termite Warning Signs
  3. How Professionals Detect Termites in Your Home or Apartment
  4. Additional Resources To Help You Determine If You Have Termites

Why Are Termites So Difficult to Spot?

Termites are notorious for remaining undetected within people’s homes until they have already caused serious damage. Why is this? It has to do with the way termites tend to eat and live. They prefer to tunnel their way into the center of wood. They prefer eating this softer spring wood but it also offers them protection from predators and light. Because of this, they can eat their way deep into a home, fence, firewood, lumber, and even mulch without people noticing unless they get lucky or are proactive enough to systematically inspect their home and property for evidence of termite activity.

Termite Warning Signs

  • Swarmers: Keep an eye out for winged termites. They will look like flying ants but they have two sets of equal sized wings. If you find these in or around your home it is good to call a termite inspector to further investigate if they are in your home. If you find them in your yard they could be in a tree or they may have flown in from somewhere nearby. If you find them in your home it could be from the same situation but there is also a chance that your home has an active termite infestation. Let a professional termite inspector help you with figuring this out.
  • Termite Tubes: These are the protective tunnels that termites will build over exposed areas to protect them from light and predators. The video slightly above shows some footage of these. If you find these there are some termite tube field testsyou can do yourself to determine if they are active but they are not a hundred percent reliable so again it is best to call an inspector.
  • Termite Cement:
  • Damaged Wood: Many people discover damaged wood in their homes rather unexpectedly. For example, a common way people find out they have termites is when vacuuming. When a vacuum bumps into termite-infested wooden trim at the base of your walls it will cave in. Many a homeowner has unfortunately found out they have termites like this. A more proactive approach is to perform a termite tap test. Simply take a screw driver and lightly tap it along any infestation suspected timber. Anything that sounds considerably more hollow than the rest may mean you have some termite activity because termites tend to bore out wood from the inside.

How Professionals Detect Termites in Your Home or Apartment

  1. Acoustical Testing within Wood
  2. Motion Detection within Wood

Additional Resources To Help You Determine If You Have Termites

2 thoughts on “How To Tell If You Have Termites (Infestation Early Warning Signs)”

  1. This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that damaged wood could indicate termite activity. I noticed some damaged wood on our house a couple of days ago, and I thought it was just some water damage, but today I say some termite tubes. I’ll definitely look into hiring a professional to inspect and get rid of any pests that might be living in my home. Thanks for the great post!

    • No problem Olivia. With any pest, there are usually clues they leave behind that we can keep an eye out for, but it sure helps to have a professional come and take a look. The Pros have additional tools and the experience to help them identify things that we may have looked over. One of the more interesting tools they often use to detect termite activity is thermal cameras because they can see “hot spots” through your walls with these which is a crucial indicator of an infestation. Here is a good video demonstrating these cameras’ capability at finding termites.


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