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termite mud tubes are a warning sign of termite activity

How To Know If You Have Termites

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Identifying the signs of termites

What are the warning signs of termites? As a Virginia homeowner, this is an essential question to ask in order to safeguard your home from these wood-damaging insects. Because termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year in the United States, early detection can make all the difference when it comes to preventing costly termite damage. Knowing what the warning signs of a termite infestation can help property owners act before it’s too late.

winged termites and discarded wings are clear signs of termites

Termite swarmers & discarded termite wings

One of the first warning signs of termites is the appearance of swarmers after the weather warms up. Swarmers, the reproductive members of a termite colony, are flying termites that branch off from an existing colony to find mates and establish new colonies, and they're not exactly discreet about it. Because they can be mistaken for flying ants it can be hard to determine which insect is swarming. That said, termite swarmers have thick, dark colored bodies with no pinching at the waists. They also have straight antennae and clear front and back wings that are the same length.

In some cases you may not see a termite swarm but find evidence that one occurred. The easiest way to tell if termite swarmers have been inside your home is to look for discarded wings. After the reproductive members have found a partner, they will shed their wings. When this happens discarded termite wings are often found on windowsills, below windows and around doors. 

Termite mud tubes

Another sign of termites is finding mud tubes on your property. Termites travel from their underground termite colonies to food sources inside mud tubes (also called mud tunnels) to avoid drying out and predators. Mud tubes are typically about the width of a pencil and are constructed out of soil, wood, and termite saliva. These protective tunnels extend out of the ground and run along foundations, in crawl spaces as well as basements towards exposed wood. They can also be found on walls and ceilings.

If you've found termite mud tubes but aren't sure if they're new or old, simply break of a piece to check for live termites. Don't assume that because you don't see any of these wood-destroying insects, they're not there. Check it again later on to see if the tube has been fixed or if you see termites crawling through on their way to eat the wood in your home. 

Termite damage

Unlike carpenter ants that do not eat wood but only nest in it, termites consume wood and products made from cellulose material. What’s more, they eat wood from the inside out. That means you could have a termite infestation in your home and never know it because the outer layer of a wall is completely intact. Termite infested wood sounds hollow when tapped on. Other signs of termite damage inside a structure includes:

  • Crumbling or buckling wood
  • Wood that looks intact but sounds hollow when tapped
  • Swollen floors
  • Sagging ceilings
  • Darkening or blistering of wood
  • Uneven or bubbling paint or wallpaper
  • Doors and windows that are hard to open or shut

Is it a sign of termites or something else?

If you've found what you think are signs of termites in or around your home but they aren't listed above, it's entirely possible it's another bug altogether. Keep in mind, you probably won't find termite droppings because subterranean termites use theirs in the construction of their mud tubes.

Another sign of pest activity that termites may be blamed for is small holes in the walls and sawdust accumulating directly below. Holes like the ones we just described are typically made by carpenter ants and the sawdust underneath is the frass they eject from their tunnels. You see, carpenter ants do not eat wood like termites do so the wood shavings that are created by their excavating have to be cleared from the tunnel. 

What to do if you find signs of termites in your home

If you’ve found a pile of termite wings on the floor or have noticed other signs of termites in your home, do not panic. Do not ignore the problem either because it will not go away. The best way to deal with a termite infestation is to contact licensed termite exterminators. At Getem Services, we offer effective termite control services in Norfolk, Chesapeake, and throughout Hampton Roads that eliminate existing termite activity and prevent new termite colonies from developing.

How Getem Services gets rid of termites for good

When you reach out to our Virginia pest control company for help with termites, we’ll start by inspecting your property to:

  • Confirm termite activity & determine the severity of the problem
  • Evaluate termite damage, if applicable
  • Look for conditions that would attract termites
  • Develop a plan of action based on what was observed during the inspection

Once we’ve completed the inspection, we’ll go over our finding, explain our treatment process, and schedule your liquid termite treatment.

How effective is liquid termite treatment?

At Getem, we use America’s #1 termite defense product, Termidor®. This liquid termite treatment kills termites through contact and ingestion. That means any termite that encounters the product will not only unknowingly ingest it, but they’ll also transport it back to the colony and “transfer” the material to other members. The result is the complete elimination of the colony, including the queen.

Termidor also creates a barrier of protection around the perimeter of the structure that ensures new termite colonies cannot establish.

How to prevent termite infestations

To make your property less appealing to these wood-destroying insects and other pests, keep these termite prevention tips in mind:

  • Make sure there’s no soil to wood contact
  • Fix leaky pipes or appliances
  • Reduce moisture and humidity in crawl spaces
  • Do not let water accumulate near the foundation
  • Never store firewood and other wood products against the foundation
  • Seal any cracks or gaps in your home's exterior
  • Keep your gutters clean and in good repair

For more information or to schedule your termite inspection with Getem, reach out today!

A family swinging their children.
Matthew was on time, easy to communicate with and knowledgeable. He did a thorough job of inspecting my attic and crawlspace to locate entry points for pests and even walked me thru an attic space I never knew was accessible.

I would definitely use Getem again and recommend their services.
Gianpaulo V.
Getem Services received an average of 4.9 of 5 stars from 1803 reviews

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Our goal is to be the best and last pest control company you ever have to use.