Signs of termites

What are the signs of termites

Termites can easily enter your home undetected and live, eat and breed without being noticed for a very long time.

Subterranean termites have a hidden lifestyle. They are generally hidden from us and live beneath the surface of the soil, wood or in their mud tunnels.

Termites can enter homes from beneath soil through the most miniscule holes or entry ways. Normally you don’t know you have termites until the structural damage appears. 

At first signs of termite activity you should call a pest control professional and request a termite inspection ASAP. If it turns out you have a termite infestation, it is important to get good and efficient termite treatment – immediately.

This is why we have put together a comprehensive list of the signs of termites.

Below are some of the signs of termites:

  • strange clicking sound from walls
  • bubbling or peeling paint
  • hollow-sounding timber
  • sighting of ‘white ants’
  • tighter fitting doors and windows
  • termite droppings
  • tunnels in wood
  • soft floorboards
  • damp areas or moisture stains on walls
  • power failures
  • flying black ants
  • discarded wings
  • mud tubes on walls or around door or window frames
  • mud tubes in the garden
  • mouldy smells
  • small scars on trees
  • arboreal nests.

The strange sound coming from your walls

If you can hear a quiet clicking sound coming from your walls, you may have termites. Termites are noisy eaters. While they are busy eating away at your house, working day in and day out, you may be able to hear them. They tap their mandibles and knock their heads against wood to warn the colony of suspected danger. Pets may notice these sounds, so watch for any behaviour changes.

Bubbling or peeling paint 

Subterranean termites live under the surface of wood, as light and dry air can be harmful to them. When they eat from the inside of wooden structures the wood can become warped. The paint that covers that wood then may become blistered or perhaps look like it has stains.

Hollow-sounding timber

This really is a homeowner’s worst nightmare.

Termites feed and tunnel from the inside out. They leave a thin layer of wood intact to protect themselves from the outside light and keep in humidity. This means that termites can be feasting on your house for a very long time before being found. Everything will look okay on the outside, whilst your house slowly crumbles from the inside out.

The skirting board of your house is generally the most noticeable part for hollow-sounding timber.

If you tap your walls or areas you suspect you may have termite damage and the sound is hollow or papery, get a timber inspection fast!

Thinking you have ‘white ants’

You could be forgiven for thinking you simply have white-coloured ants. Most termite inspection calls start with: “How do I get rid of these white ants?”. Well, unfortunately, white ants are termites. 

Tight-fitting doors and hard-to-open windows

If your windows are suddenly hard to open and close and your doors seem warped, this can mean you have a termite problem.

This is due to the moisture termites produce when tunnelling through doors and windows. The moisture termites produce is distributed unevenly as they tunnel and feed. This means the wood may swell in some places and remain dry in others. This will be seen in the warping and damage of your doors and windows.

You may also find an accumulation of dried mud in joints of the door or window architraves.

Termite droppings

Drywood termites produce what is known as ‘frass’. Termite droppings are an easy and definite sign that you have a termite infestation.

Usually, these can be found near termite nests and holes. As termites feed, they create small holes in the outer layer of the timber where they push our their droppings. Small black marks and a dark powdery substance can be seen around the area they are infesting. It may look like sawdust on the floor.

Tunnels in wood

Whilst it’s very hard to spot tunnels in wood, if you do, the chances are high that it is through a termite infestation. Again, this is because when the termites eat and tunnel, they leave a protective layer above them.

Soft or sagging floorboards

Termites like to attack damp timbers under floors. Although this isn’t the most common sign of termite it is a potential sign and easy to spot when walking on your floorboards.

Damp areas or moisture stains on walls

Termites are attracted to moisture. Termites thrive in moist environments.

Power failures

Termites seem to be attracted to the warmth emitted by electrical fittings behind walls. This can at times create power failures if they ‘short out’ the electircal system.

Flying black ants

Termite alates, also known as flying termites, are searching for a place to grow and establish a new colony. This means your termite friends are breeding! Termites fly at night or in the evening but they are attracted to the light. The swarm before or after a storm as they need high humidity.

People can get confused and think they have seen flying ants. However, although some ant species can look a bit like termites, ants fly during the day and are smaller than termites; ants are also black in colour rather than brown. Whatever, if you see flying termites or flying ants, you should contact us.

Discarded wings

Flying termites lose their wings when they find a mate.

These discarded wings will normally be near a window or doors as the swarmers are attracted to bright lights.

Mud tubes on your walls or door frames or in your garden

Subterranean termites build what are called shelter tubes or ‘mudding’. These tubes are small and not easy to see. They are made of mud, dirt and debris. Termites build these to travel to and from the food source without being seen. These are normally found near the home’s entry point or foundations.

Mouldy smells

Whilst this is not normally noticeable, if you can smell a musty smell this means you have a significant infestation. Termites will leave a musty-smelling odour identifying themselves as a member of the colony.

Small scars on trees

Whilst this might be hard to spot it can confirm you have a termite problem. Termites love to nest in the centre of trees. If you find small scars on trees, these could indicate exit points. Termites particularly enjoying eucalyptus, peppercorns and oak trees – a termite’s delight.

Arboreal nests

This is certainly a reason to get a termite inspection. If you find arboreal nests in your yard or neighbourhood this is a strong sign of termites. The arboreal nest is perhaps the most obvious and easily seen termite sign.