How to Find out if a House is Infested with Termites.
By Frank Reece
One of the best clues to know that you have a termite infestation, is seeing winged termites. Most people, however, think that a winged termite is just a winged ant. This is completely understandable, given they swarm at the same time of year. There are several distinguishing features between a flying termite and a flying ant. Termites have straight antennae, an equally proportioned waste and their wings are all roughly the same size. Flying ants on the other hand, have antennae which have a slight bend in them, tapered waists and their wings are not equally sized.
Lights will attract flying termites. They can usually be spotted around doors and windows. If you see a winged termite taking flight from tree stumps, woodpiles, or other places out in the yard, it doesn't necessarily mean your house will get infested with termites. You should be concerned if you see a flying termite soar out from under your foundation wall, porches, or patios. If this is the scenario, then it is most probable you have a termite infestation and chances are good you will need termite treatment.
Another excellent way to tell if your house is infested with is if you find dirt tubes. If your house is infested with you will usually find these tubes on the foundation walls, support piers, sill plates, floor joists, slabs, etc . . . These mud tubes diameter is usually equal to that of a pen. Sometimes, they can be thicker.
These tubes act as transportation for the termites. They provide cover for the as they move back and forth from their underground nest to your house. If you find one of these tubes you should cut it open. Once the tube is open look for small, white, almost translucent worker termites. If you cut it open and don't
find any termites, it doesn't mean you don't have an infestation in your house. Termites build tubes use them, then move on for other sources of food and build new ones. They may just be in another tube somewhere in your house.
You can often recognize if you have a termite infestation by damaged wood. Along the grain, you will find the wood has been hollowed out. If you are infested by termites, you will find pieces of dried mud or soil inside the hollowed wood. Other types of wood damaging insects, such as carpenter ants, or wood damage done by moisture will not exhibit this trait. Sometimes, will chew through plaster and drywall. Again, you will know it is if you find small pieces of soil around the edges. If your home has a termite infestation, you may also notice sunken or rippled wall coverings. This is a good sign they are burrowing underneath.
A good part of the time, you may have no outward sign you have a termite infestation. Termites are very stealthy creatures and with the exception of winged prefer the dark. Termites are genetically linked to roaches. Termites may infest your house for years feeding under your floor boards, behind walls, behind insulation, under your foundation, etc.Even if you have places in your house where the wood is exposed, you may not know the are there. The usually always leave the outside surface alone.
0Termites are so elusive, that even a trained professional may not see evidence of damage or infestation. However, your best bet for determining whether you have a termite infestation in your house is to hire a professional. If professionals who know what they are looking for can miss the signs of an infestation, it is twice as likely you will too.
Frank Reece has been in the industry for 25 years. You can find his articles on www.linkmyarticles.com
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