Termite Season: How to Know if You Have Them

With warming temperatures and increased rainfall a certain little household friend may decide to pay a visit to your home. No one likes having too many “beasties” (as my wife would say) around, but ants or, as is common in the DC area, stink bug, are one thing. Termites are another issue altogether because you know they are doing damage that you can’t see, and you have no idea how much damage they have done by the time you actually do detect them.

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How Do You Know You Have Termites?

There are a couple ways you can detect active termites:

  1. “Termite Tubes” inside or outside your home: These tubes (Image 1) will look like they are made of dirt, and can vary in size, often changing size from day to day. They can exist either inside, or outside your home.
  2. New holes or linear openings in your trim: This is a more expected way

    to discover termites, which will often include a visual on the pests themselves as they slave away. In the DC Area “Swarmer Termites” (Image 2) are pretty common, though there may be other breads as well.

  3. Regular inspection from a qualified inspector: This, done annually, is worth it’s weight in gold. A trained eye is the best way to catch termites before the can cause too much damage.

How Can I be Proactive About Termites?

If you are seeing them there is a good chance they have done a decent amount of damage to get to that point, but you can still catch them sooner than later on your own.

  1. In basement areas especially, take occasional looks behind furniture that is rarely moved (that’s how we found the termite tube in the first pic). At first suspicion of termites call in the trained professionals, or if you are a tenant, call your landlord (they will thank you).
  2. Keep an eye out of an inordinate amount of wings as you vacuum.
  3. Take note of odd swarms of bugs near your home, specifically ones where the bugs are larger than gnats, and clearly not mosquitoes.

What Do I Do If I Find Termites:

In short: do nothing but pick up the phone and call a professional or your landlord. Most professionals will be able to come to your home either the same day, or within a couple days. In many cases those who provide the treatment will ask you not to disturb the existing areas of penetration because they will want to draw the termites away with their own methods. Besides, termites are industrious creatures, if you destroy their work they will be very quick to re-build.

Have a termite story of your own? Please let us know about it below!

 

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