Mary D. from Phoenix called our office this week to ask us a question we often get: “Where can I find termites in my house?” She had heard that termites are common in Phoenix homes and is worried that they might be in her house. It was smart of Mary to call us now to get ahead of a potential problem, and we were happy to help.
Signs of Termites
Termite Mud Tubes
Unless termites are swarming, it’s not common that homeowners see the bugs. First, they’ll come across their mud tubes, which look like lines of dust on windowsills and the outside of the home. Since we mostly have subterranean termites here, you’ll find these pencil-sized mud tubes that they use to connect their underground nests to their food source, your home.
The tubes may flow through cracks in the foundation wall, under stucco, or around porches, steps, terraces, and patios. The tubes could be working tubes, exploratory and migratory tubes, or drop tubes. Break open the tubes to see if there are active termites.
Following rains and in warmer temperatures, you may see swarms of termites. You’ll find the swarms inside your home if they are inside the structure but beware of swarms that are close to your home as well. While the termites may not yet have infested the structure itself, having them on the property is not a positive sign. And swarming means they are looking for a new place to nest, which could certainly end up being your home.
Don’t confuse swarming termites with flying ants. While they do look similar, some characteristics distinguish the two types of insects. For instance, termites have wings that are uniform in size and straight antennae; ants have different-sized wings and bent antennae.
Wood damage can certainly occur from various sources, but if you find buckled paint or wood that is either crushed or has holes, you may be looking at a termite infestation. Termite-damaged wood sounds hollow when you rap on it, and you will likely find tunnels in the wood that run parallel to the grain.
Thankfully, finding termites doesn’t necessarily signify significant damage since their rate of destruction is slow. However, it does mean it’s time to take action.
Inspecting for Termites
If you don’t find termites through any of the signs, you can go on a fact-finding mission. Termites are good at hiding, so you’ll need a flashlight and a small knife or screwdriver to push into the wood to look for bugs or soft spots.
Focus your attention on crawl spaces, basements, window frames, the foundation, any cracks in the walls or foundation (even if the foundation isn’t wood), and nearby woodpiles. It’s a good idea to keep firewood a good distance from the home to avoid issues.
Think You Have a Termite Problem?
If you suspect you have a termite problem at your home, then you can always schedule an inspection.
Our technicians at Budget Brothers Termite & Pest Elimination are experts in termite inspections, and we’re happy to crawl around and search out these pesky bugs.