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What Does Termite Damage Look Like, and How Can You Prevent It?

Have you noticed wood damage in your house and thought it could be termites? Even though termites are responsible for most house damage in the United States, they’re not the only culprits. Wood rot, carpenter ants, and water are other things that damage the wood.

So what does termite damage look like, and how can you differentiate it from other causes of wood damage? Here’s how you can tell if the damage is from termites:

Termite Damage vs. Carpenter Ants

Like termites, carpenter ants are wood destroyers. But they don’t feed on wood; they live in it—meaning they make holes and tubes in the wood. That brings us to how you can differentiate them from the two types of termites common in Florida.

Subterranean termites have major telltale signs of their presence. They build mud tubes on the outer walls to preserve moisture as they move from outdoors to indoors. Any time you see mud tubes, know the damage is from subterranean termites.

What about drywood termites? They live inside the wood but don’t build mud tubes. But since termites feed on the wood, they don’t leave behind sawdust.

Instead, they leave their feces, which are small pellets. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, burrow the wood rather than consume it.So they leave behind piles of sawdust.

Water Damage vs. Termite Damage

At times, termite damage can be similar to water damage, making it difficult to differentiate the two. Both can cause peeling and discoloration. That said, water damage is more likely to occur in areas with leaking water or constant splashing. These include door frames, rooflines, and outdoor wooden structures.

Water damage causes stains on the walls and ceilings. It might be accompanied by mold growth and a funky smell. Ceilings may start to sag, and some pieces of wood may warp and lose shape. Eventually, water damage leads to rot.

Furthermore, rot, like termites, can cause damage to wood. Rotten wood feels brittle or spongy once you touch it, and it usually has a musty smell.

In a termite infestation, the wood has a honeycomb appearance from the side. It will also be weak and lightweight due to its reduced mass. Keep in mind that subterranean and drywood termites like eating softwood, water, and rot make the wood soft.

So, water damage is likely to attract these termites. As such, it’s better to call a pest control professional for a termite inspection if you have damaged wood.

Signs of Termite Damage

Need more signs of termite damage? They’re quite plentiful. Take the next step by inspecting the wooden structures in your home, as termites feed on them.Try to find the following signs:

Pin-Sized Holes on Dry Walls

Do you see multiple holes in the drywall or wood surfaces? It could be the work of termites, and that’s a sign of a heavy infestation.

These holes are the same size as the termites themselves. And they’re close together, meaning the termites have been feeding on the wood.

Maze-Like Patterns in Furniture

When termites burrow close to the wood surface, they create open tubes that look like a maze. Sometimes, these tubes contain termite pellets. These are clear signs of termites. But they’re also rare because most tubes are usually hidden inside the wood.

Wood with a hollow sound

If you suspect a termite infestation, take a hammer or a screwdriver and tap on the wood. If it sounds hollow, that’s a sign of a termite infestation.

Call termite control immediately. Do not wait until the entire structure of your house becomes weak. Waiting any longer can put your house at risk.

Termite Droppings

Termite droppings or pellets may look similar to the wood they eat. But you can differentiate them from ordinary sawdust and carpenter ants.

Sawdust tends to have a uniform color. But termite pellets usually look like coffee grounds mixed with sand. So you’ll notice a mixture of light-colored and dark spots.

Discarded Wings

Termites have wings that they use during their seasonal migrations. But they don’t keep them for long. They shed their wings and spend most of their time inside termite colonies. If you find many discarded wings around your house, it could be a sign you have unwanted visitors hiding in your walls.

What Does Termite Damage Look Like? – How to Get Rid of Termites

Identifying termites may not be easy because they hide inside the wood. But if you discover them, take immediate action to eradicate them. Delaying can lead to further damages and heavy repair expenses. For a long-term solution, it’s advisable to involve a pest control company.

McDonald Pest Control has a qualified team of professional exterminators who can help with termite treatment. We provide pest control services in Clearwater and Clearwater Beach, Florida. If you suspect your house has termites, call us for a thorough inspection and treatment.