How to Spot a Termite Infestation in Your Home
Termites cause major damage when left untreated– especially in Australia, where many varieties of termites are present throughout the year. You may think you have any pests under control in your home, but just because you do not see them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Termites are sneaky and often exist within homes for months or longer before homeowners begin to recognise their impact.
It’s better to know what to look out for so you can stop the problem before it starts. Knowing what termites look like, how to differentiate between them, and what sort of symptoms they cause is an important first step in preventing and managing infestation.
What Types of Termites Exist in Australia?
There are three primary types of termites that you will typically find here in Australia: drywood, dampwood and subterranean. Each one has different characteristics and poses different threats.
- Drywood termites tend to infest dry wood (hence the name) and dead trees. They are the most likely predators of Melbourne homes, but are also easier to spot. Drywood termites are a light, translucent tan colour and they have a long but slightly thick body.
- Dampwood termites are typically found outside, and are considered less of a threat to your property. That being said, you should always proceed with caution if you see them around. They have dark brownish bodies and firm heads, and are most easily identifiable for their pincers.
- Subterranean termites nest in the ground, unlike drywood and dampwood termites who nest in wood. That being said, these termites are drawn to soft, wet wood. Of these three varieties, they are most known for causing major structural damage. They are long and narrow with an oval-shaped body and light brown colour.
What Are Signs of an Infestation?
- Mud Tubes: These are small tunnels extending from and connecting termite nests, wood and/or soil. They are a surefire indication that termites are or were present in or near your home. You can test tubes for activity by breaking them and seeing if they are repaired within a few days. However, we recommend that you seek professional help immediately, whether you suspect the tube to be active or not. If termites were around once, there is a high chance they’ll be back.
- Funny Noises: If you hear rustling or tapping behind your walls or ceilings, termites may be back there. You can expect noises for one of two reasons: one is because termites hollow out the wood, therefore affecting how its sound quality, and also because they bang their heads against the wall to signal to other termites.
- Termite Droppings: These droppings, otherwise called frass, are small and wood-coloured. They can accumulate around the house if termites are living there, and should be treated as a warning sign of a full infestation.
- Termite Wings: Small, transparent wings scattered around your home may mean that termites are already living inside and potentially damaging the foundation of your property. They tend to be found on windowsills and under lights or lamps.
- Cracked or Warped Wood: Termites don’t wreak major havoc straight away; their damage is usually slow to take. That means that if you do see signs of structural damage, you have probably had termites around for quite a while and should get professional help straight away.
- Holes in the Wood: Termites burrow tiny escape holes through wood during mating season that they later cover up with mud or faeces. If you see holes in the wood within your home or in trees surrounding your property, there is a great potential for infestation.
If you witness any of the aforementioned symptoms in your Melbourne home, it’s urgent that you tackle the problem before it gets any worse. Dawson’s can help you do so, whether you need termite prevention, infestation management, or simply some advice! Call us today for your free quote.