How to Check for Termite Damage

Termite swarm season is upon us and that means you could be seeing little winged termites in your home or business. These little insects won’t hurt you, but they are tiny indicators of a much, much larger problem. Unfortunately, if you see swarmers in your home, that means there is already and active colony nearby and your home could already have termite damage. And even if you don’t see swarmers, that’s no guarantee that your home is termite free. The best thing to do is get out ahead of the cure and make sure you’re monitoring for any damage before it becomes severe. Here are some tips from the pros about where we look for termite damage, how you can spot it early and what to do if you find it.

Where to look: even if your home isn’t entirely wood, that doesn’t mean your safe. Termites can tunnel through plaster and other tough materials in their never-ending search for wood to feed on. And once they make their way through, they’ll eat any wood they can find, including floors, cabinets, furniture and more. Damage most often occurs in floors, walls and ceilings, but be sure to check more unconventional places like bookshelves, legs of furniture, staircases and wood cabinets for any signs of damage as well. Make sure to check all rooms and levels of your home for any and all signs of damage. Termites aren’t picky—they’ll attack anywhere they can find wood.

What to look for: the most common type of termites in Oklahoma are subterranean termites. These little guys live in large communities—called colonies—underground and tunnel around in mud tubes to look for wood and bring it back to the colony. These mud tubes, which might look like damp streaks of dirt running up your walls or along the ceiling, are a good indicator of termite activity. Seeing a live termite, discarded termite wings (which look like fish scales) or termite droppings (which look like small, brown pellets) are also signs of termite activity. And where there is termite activity there is termite damage. Signs of termite damage also include sagging or dipping walls, floors or ceilings—this will be a slight, gradual bend at first but will get more pronounced as the termites eat away more and more structural support.

  • Termite damage or fungal decay: fungal decay can be even more dangerous and damaging for your home than termites and is much more common. Fungi are plants that cannot create their own food so they get energy buy eating cells found in other things—in this case wood. They break down the wood into digestible form and over time this makes the wood weak and brittle and it will not be able to stand up to any pressure. You can tell it is fungal decay if the wood is in an area exposed to water (outside, near a leaky pipe, etc.), if the damage is exposed (termites prefer to seal off their tunnels) and if the wood has become weak and fibrous and can be pulled apart by hand.

What to do: once you’ve identified termite damage, or if you are still unsure and want a professional second opinion, give the termite professionals at Emtec Pest Control a call. We are experts at identifying termite colonies and termite damage and can tell how active a colony is, how old the damage you are seeing is and what your risk going forward is. We’ll also present you with options about how to protect your home from further damage with The Sentricon® System and create a termite plan for your home’s unique needs.

If you have any other questions about termites, termite prevention and management or The Sentricon® System, contact your Oklahoma termite experts at Emtec Pest Control by calling us or by filling out our online contact form. Our service areas in Northeast Oklahoma include Bixby, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Owasso, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Stillwater, Tulsa and the surrounding areas. In Central Oklahoma, we service Edmond, Moore, Oklahoma City, Yukon and the surrounding areas. You can also connect with us on social media for more helpful pest control tips and information. We are on Facebook and Google+.