Termites; it’s a word that instils fear into the hearts of all Queensland homeowners. They are usually hidden from plain sight but can cause an enormous amount of damage that can cost thousands to repair.
While there is no way to completely prevent termites from entering your home or building, termite management systems work to force termites into an exposed location, which allows early detection and eradication.
However, there are some other tell-tales signs that you have unwanted pests eating away at the timber in your home.
- Rattling or banging noises
While known as the silent destroyers, when soldier termites are threatened, they bang their heads again the wall of their tunnels and this can sound like a rattling noise to the human ear. This signals danger to the colony. Disturbingly, worker termites are noisy eaters so if you put your ear close to any wood infestation you are likely to hear them munching away.
- Windows and doors become hard to open
When eating through timber, a termite’s excrement or ‘mud’ creates an environment that traps heat and moisture causing the wood to swell or warp. As a result, you might notice that windows become harder to open and you have tight-fitting doors. While these might just be related to excess moisture in the air and can be easily fixed, it can’t hurt to have them checked out just in case.
- Flying termites at night
Often the first sign of an infestation is the presence of flying termites; these swarmers are males and females that have left their nest to find a new mate and set up a new colony in or near your home! They swarm at night and are attracted to your light sources so might make their way into your home through light fittings.
Preventative tip: To reduce the chances of termites setting up shop in your house, ensure all wood is kept away from the foundation of your house and crawl holes, and inspect decks and wooden fences regularly for damage.
- Discarded wings
One of the most common signs of an infestation is the presence of discarded wings, this is because flying termites lose their wings shortly after they find a mate to start a new colony with. Flying termites are often mistaken for flying ants but the difference is termites shed their wings and black ants don’t. Termite damage or infestation is a possibility if you’ve seen discarded wings around window sills and under light fittings.
- Hollow sounding timber
If your finger goes through a door frame or the vacuum cleaner makes a hole when it hits a skirting board, chances are high you’ve got a termite problem. They usually eat from the inside out, attacking the structural integrity of the timber, and leave only a thin veneer of paint or timber. This section of wall or door will sound papery when knocked or tapped on.
- The presence of termite droppings
Unlike other many other species of termites, drywood varieties don’t use their excrement to build their tunnels, opting instead to pushing it out of small holes near the entrance to their nest. These wood-eating pests will leave little piles of poo balls that match the colour of their food source; wood. Evidence of these droppings are often the first signs of an infestation.
- Mud tunnels on top soil
These destructive critters not only move between food sources in your home, but they can travel through the soil to seek out more food. So, if you see mud tunnels in your top soil close to your home, this could be evidence that termites have moved in and silently eating away at your wooden foundations.
If you suspect you’ve got termites, call your pest inspector immediately. Keep in mind the damage they do isn’t usually covered by insurance so it’s best to evict the critters and get any structural repairs done quickly.
Call Oliver from Select Maintenance on 0403 592 271 and he’ll refer you to his preferred pest inspector. He’s a member of Masters Builders Queensland and is qualified to repair any damage caused by a termite infestation.