Many Arizona homeowners don’t realize that their home’s structural integrity is being compromised, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as silent and hidden termites eat away at the wood inside. Wooden surfaces may be left intact by termite activity, belying the fact that just underneath, hollowed out tunnels house termite colonies containing somewhere between 60,000 and two million insects. Even though there are huge numbers of insects, rapidly boring through any wood in your home, there is often no visible sign of a termite infestation. When there are warning signs, they generally involve emerging swarms or the presence of mud tubes.
Swarmers Emerge Inside Home
Arizona termites typically swarm during monsoon season, from June 15th through the end of September, to disperse and create new colonies. They emerge from baseboards or mud tubes, fly into the air, drop to the ground, shed their wings and pair off with a mate. Swarmers that emerge in a home are not able to eat wood and usually die, however, their presence indicates that an infestation is likely.
Mud tubes are indications of a mature, serious infestation, as termites prefer to bore tunnels through wood and only resort to building mud tubes when a colony is sufficiently large to justify the risk. Mud tubes offer protection and moisture to termite workers and allow movement across impenetrable surfaces to get to a wood food source. Tubes have the diameter of a pencil and can be seen in a variety of areas in the home, including foundation walls and floor joists. Vacant tubes do not mean that termites are not actively using another tube.
Audible Clicking Sounds
With a severe infestation, soft tapping against walls may be heard, as soldier termites continuously tap their heads and mandibles to communicate with other termites, and alert them to any threats. The chomping of worker termites, eating away at the wood, can also be heard if an area is infested.
Termite droppings, or frass, are tiny six-sided pellets that vary in color but are often a similar shade as the wood being devoured. Piles of termite frass are often seen at or near the entry of the termites, and good places to search include doorways, windowsills, and nearby any substantial wooden structures.
As termites burrow deeper into a wood, they weaken it, resulting in wood that may look normal on the surface, but is completely hollowed out inside. Termites can destroy a floor in two to five years, depending on the age, floor type, moisture level, and ventilation system of the house. Damaged floors begin to sag and become wobbly and unstable. In severe cases, boards may actually crumble and break into pieces.
Repairing termite damage is expensive and rises astronomically when there’s structural damage. Termite treatment specialists can inspect and prevent further damage from termites. It’s a form of insurance that Arizona homeowner’s need.
If you are ready to take the first steps toward defending your home and family against pests, we invite you to contact University Termite & Pest Control Inc. Click here to schedule a free initial inspection and consultation. We are always happy to answer any questions you might have!