There are many signs termites can give you to let you know your property is being damaged, but these signs aren't always obvious. You can have millions of termite feeding on your property and not know it. You can also have termites feed on your Bay Area property for years without realizing it until you start to see noticeable damage. It is hard to ignore walls that bulge out as if damaged by water or floors that sink down. And when your ceilings start to dip or your windows start to stick, you're going to want to find out why. This is sometimes when termite infestations are discovered. We hope you don't wait for obvious signs of a termite infestation in your Bay Area property. Here are some early warning signs that can tip you off to a termite infestation long before termites wreck your home completely.

winged termites
termite shelter tube

1. Droppings

The two most common termites that attack Bay Area homes are subterranean and drywood termites. Subterranean termites keep their waste inside their tunnels, but drywood termites push it out of their tunnels through tiny wood holes called kickout holes. Since drywood termites attack hardwood, you'll find these kickout holes in door and window frames, baseboards, crown molding, hardwood furniture, and in other hard wood materials.

Termite droppings can be an obvious sign of an infestation if you recognize what you're looking at. Most homeowners do. This is why annual drywood termite damage in the United States is a fraction of the billions of dollars worth of damage subterranean termites cause.

What Do Termite Droppings Look Like?

The feces of drywood termites are hard pellets that you might mistake for sawdust, or pepper grounds. Each pellet is a mere 1 mm in length. Within a pile of pellets, there is likely to be a color variation. But sometimes, they all appear as the color of the wood in which the termites are feeding. This can make it a little more difficult to tell that you have a drywood termite infestation. 

You'll find these pellets piled near hardwood, and you may see the kickout hole they came from. The pellet piles may also be near cracks, gaps, and other openings.

2. Shelter Tubes

Subterranean termites are extremely sneaky insects. But there is one thing they do that can leave an obvious warning sign if you know where to look. Subterranean termite workers create shelter tubes made of mud. These tubes are attached to hard surfaces and they run from the soil to the wood of your home. Look for these in dark, damp, and secluded areas, such as on the foundation wall of your home underneath your deck or porch.

3. Swarmers Or Shed Wings

Swarmers are winged termites. This type of termite is produced by a mature termite colony for the purpose of creating more nests. If you see lots of swarmers on or inside your Bay Area home, it is a warning sign of a current and mature infestation. Swarmers don't travel far from their nest of origin, and they don't stay in a swarm for long. Seeing lots of swarmers isn't an early warning sign, but seeing a few swarmers, or the shed wings of swarmers, can be.

If you see one or two black- or orangish-colored insects with long white wings that stack on their backs, they are likely to be termite swarmers. A swarmer is only ⅜ of an inch long, but its elongated teardrop-shaped wings make it noticeable. You can also do routine inspections of the spider webs on your property and look for the shed wings of termite swarmers to tell if they have established themselves.  

4. Worker Termites

Termite workers don't like the light. Whether you have drywood or subterranean termites in your Bay Area property, they're going to stay hidden from the light. But you may be able to expose workers if you go looking for them.

  • Check your property for stumps, logs, or trees that have heart rot. If you cut into these wood sources, you may be able to expose termites or their tunnels.

  • Check for wood-to-soil contact on your property. This might be the area of fence posts where they touch the ground. If you dig the soil away, you may be able to uncover termite activity.

  • Check your yard for wood that sits on the ground. If there are a few old boards, you can flip them over and look for termite workers. If you have a pallet that holds some items, you can look under the pallet for termite worker activity. If you have mulch in your landscaping, you can rake an area and check between the mulch and the soil.

Worker termites look a little bit like pale-colored ants, but they differ in that they don't have pinched waists. In fact, you might have a hard time finding where the thorax ends and the abdomen begins.

Termite Control In The Bay Area

At the first sign of termite activity (or long before) reach out to Bay Pest for professional termite control and termite damage protection. We help Bay Area property owners guard against the damage done by these destructive pests. Connect with us today.


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