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How Do You Know When You Have Termites

In Chicago, termite season typically begins in the spring, when swarms of these wood-destroying insects emerge from their colonies in search of mates and new places to build nests. How do you know when you have termites?

As a homeowner or landlord, you should know early termite warning signs such as mud tubes and discarded swarmer wings. Recognizing a termite problem early on could save you thousands of dollars in repair and extermination costs.

In this article, we'll go over the most common early termite signs to look for to protect yourself from these destructive pests.

How Can I Tell If I Have Termites

Termites infest approximately 600,000 homes in the United States each year, costing homeowners and landlords approximately $5 billion in structural damage and termite control. If you're unfortunate enough to be the victim of a termite infestation, you could spend $8,333 on average to exterminate them and repair the damage they cause. So, how do you know if your property has termites?

The Eastern subterranean termite is the most common type in New York, Chicago, and the Northeast. During the spring and summer months, these species are known to swarm.

Subterranean termites are more difficult to detect than dry wood because they typically live underground (rather than inside wood). For this article, we'll concentrate on subterranean termites, but some of the symptoms listed below apply to dry wood termites, particularly termite droppings (frass). No Doubt you can always search for the best exterminator near me, but if you contact A-1 Pest Masters, you’ll see exceptional results.

Keep an eye out for the five warning signs below to see if you have termites. We recommend scheduling annual inspections to detect termite activity before it causes significant damage to your home or property, in addition to remaining vigilant. A soldier termite is the type of termite that consumes wood.

Here are five early warning signs of a potential termite infestation:

  • Window or door jams

  • Paint or wallpaper damage

  • Swarmers of termites and discarded wings

  • Tubes for mud

  • Termite excrement

5 Symptoms of Termite Infestation

1. Frozen Windows or Doors

Do you have a window or door that has recently become stuck or has become much more difficult to open or close? This is occasionally an early warning sign of a termite infestation.

Termites prefer to attack exposed and easily accessible wood, such as windows and door frames. As termites eat through the wood, the frames of your windows and doors may warp, making it difficult to open and close them properly.

Aside from stuck windows and doors, termite damage can cause other structural issues in your homes, such as crumbling baseboards or sagging floors and ceilings.

Other causes of structural problems, such as wood rot or seasonal changes in humidity, should be investigated, so look for damaged wood with termites or tunnels containing dried dirt to determine if you truly have termites.

2. Paint or Wallpaper Damage

While feeding on cardboard and wood paneling beneath the surface of your walls, termites create tunnels (called termite galleries) and tiny pin holes (called exit holes).

They do this sometimes without disturbing the thin coat of paint or wallpaper on the surface, making this damage difficult to detect unless the paint or wallpaper is removed. As a result, termite damage is more likely to be discovered during home repairs and renovations.

Termites can also make an unusual appearance on painted or wallpapered surfaces. If you look closely, you can see signs of termite damage beneath the surface, such as:

  • Termites have eaten through small pinholes.

  • Paint splatter

  • Wallpaper that is peeling or discolored

  • Wood buckling

  • Sunken or dented areas

  • Sunken, narrow winding lines

3. Termite Swarmers and Dropped Wings

Termite swarmers inside a house or building indicate an active termite infestation.

Termites have castes that include workers, soldiers, and swarmers. Termite swarmers, also known as alates, are reproductive termite members. They can be identified by their two pairs of large pale-colored wings about 1/4 to 1/2 inches long. A swarmer sheds its wings after leaving the colony and finding a mate.

In Chicago, termite swarmers are most likely flying around in the early spring, when they emerge to find mates and establish new colonies.

Because swarmers are drawn to light, they tend to congregate near doors and windows. They also don't live very long indoors, so dead swarmers or discarded wings may be found near windowsills and entryways.

Swarmers are frequently misidentified as flying ants. Termite swarmers have straighter bodies and two evenly sized pairs of wings, whereas flying ants have pinched waists and two unevenly sized pairs of wings.

4. Mud Tubes

Next, look for mud tubes on your property. Mud tubes resemble narrow veins running along the side of your house. These tubes emerge from the ground and travel to areas with exposed wood.

Termites use mud tubes to protect themselves from air dryness. Subterranean termites, the most common type in Chicago City, have very thin exoskeletons that dry out quickly. As a result, they require a humid environment to survive. They can safely travel from their colony to their food source thanks to mud tubes.

If you discover mud tubes, you can determine whether or not you have an active termite infestation by breaking off a piece of the mud tube and inspecting it for live termites. Even if you don't find any immediately, return later to see if the tube has been repaired. Even if you don't find any signs of live termites and the mud tube isn't repaired, you're not out of the woods. Termites may have relocated to another area of your home or property where they have better access to a food source.

5. Termite Excrement

Another sign of termite activity is termite droppings, also known as "frass." To avoid buildup, termites eat through the wood, digest it, and push it out of the colony.

Humans can only see frass from dry wood termites, mostly found in southern coastal states. Drywood termite frass is wood-colored and pellet-shaped, resembling wood dust or shavings.

On the other hand, subterranean termites use their droppings to construct mud tunnels. You're unlikely to come across dry wood termite frass if you live in Chicago City or the northeast. A professional inspects a door frame for termite damage.

A-1 Pest Masters: Chicago Eco-Friendly Termite Control

To achieve effective results, licensed professionals should carefully administer termite treatments. As one of Chicago's best termite treatments near me, A-1 Pest Masters has over 35 years of experience. You can call us at (312) 647-2630.

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