We are well into termite season in California. In the Sacramento area, most of the termite infestations are from subterranean termites. Termites can swarm any time of the year. However, the most significant risk of termites is during the warmer months of the spring and summer. Subterranean termites tend to swarm in the warmer months after a rainfall.
What should you look for?
Sometimes a house can have termites, and unless you are specifically looking for them, you will not even know it until quite a bit of damage is already done. As a homeowner, nothing beats having a trained professional from Pinnacle Pest Control come to your home to do an inspection. Understanding that with social distancing, people do not want anyone to go into their homes, there are things you can look for to check whether you have termites in your home.
Blistering in Wood Floors
If you start to see blisters in wood or open areas that were not previously there, it could be a sign that termites have been eating at the wood from the inside. Subterranean termites can cause damage to wood that could easily be mistaken for water damage.
Hollowed out or Damaged Wood
If you have exposed joists or subfloors, you should knock on the wood and listen for what it sounds like when you hit it. Use something like the handle of a screwdriver. If you hit the wood and it sounds hollow, then you have a problem. At that point, if you hit the wood even lightly with the working end of the screwdriver and you can break through the wood, then termites have more than likely been through there, leaving behind a series of mud tubes they use to head back to the soil where their colony is.
Evidence of Swarms
A termite swarm is when termites leave their colony and search for a new home. As a termite colony matures, they start to produce alate nymphs, which develop wings on which to swarm to a new location. While swarming these termites also find a mate. When the pair finds a suitable location, they shed their wings and the pair will mate.
If you see the wings which were shed and left behind, it means you have some form of a colony in your home. Swarming termites can be confused with swarming ants. You can tell the difference between termites and ants through close visual inspection. While each has two pairs of wings, termite’s wings are all equal in size while and ants’ second pair of wings are shorter than the first. Regardless of inspection, if you are seeing swarming bugs, you need to call us.
Many people think that you must have wood-to-ground contact to have subterranean termites. This is not the case. Termites are adaptive pests, and they will create a connection between the ground and the wood they are searching for. These mud tubes are crafted to maintain a specific temperature and humidity the termites require to survive. The tunnels are very effective at keeping out the cool and dry air. Termites do not care if your home does not have an environment conducive to them. In the process of destroying your home, they are creating their own that does a great job of protecting them as well as creating the conditions they require.
Termite Droppings, or Frass, are generally a sign of Drywood Termites
As with most pests, a sure sign they have been around is the trail of droppings they leave behind. These droppings, or frass, is generally a sign of Drywood termites, which is also an issue in the Sacramento area, but less of a threat than Subterranean termites.
Unlike their subterranean cousins, the Drywood termites will nest in the wood itself. This means they are busy creating the colony by eating the wood. When they excrete it, it is still mostly wood. At this point, termites do not want to have their excrement clogging up their home, so they push it out through the holes they create. The frass will have the appearance of sawdust.
It is important to remember that spotting termites is not easy, especially if you do not have exposed wood, such as joists or subfloors. Many times, when we do an inspection, the homeowners might not even realize they have termites. And if they do know, they have no way of knowing how long they had them before they finally realized it.
During this time of social distancing, take extra care to check your home for signs of termite activity, and even if you have a thought that you might have termites, call our office. Do not wait for the social distancing orders to be rescinded. The additional damage can be extensive and expensive to repair.