signs of termites

An unaddressed termite problem could cause costly inconveniences for your household. Fortunately, once you know how to spot the tell-tale evidence of termites, it’s easier to act promptly and get help to deal with the matter. There are two types of termites. Drywood termites burrow deeply into wooden structures, while subterranean termites live underground, such as within the soil under your house. Both can be difficult to detect, but it’s easier to do so when you know the main signs of termites.

It’s also useful to learn the types of pests that are common to your area. This content covers signs of termites, but there are other pests to be aware of, too. Here are some of the top things to look for in your home when checking for termites.

What Are Some Home-Related Signs of Termite Damage?

Many of the symptoms of termites link to the surfaces and characteristics of your home. Here are the primary examples of indicators that you need to have an expert investigate a possible problem.

Damaged Wood

Termites can make small tunnels in wood that you may see in a piece of broken timber. Even when the tunnels are impossible to see with the naked eye, termite professionals have the technology to find the tunnels that damaged the wood. However, few of those technological solutions have been tested in labs, and they’re not widely used. Moreover, if the wood has a blistered texture, that’s another possible sign of trouble.

Clicking Noises Behind the Wall

It’s sometimes possible to hear the clicking sounds from worker termites eating behind your walls or termite damage when soldier termites hit their head against the wall to warn the colony of danger.

Timber That Sounds Hollow When Tapped

Termites like to eat wood from the inside and work outward which causes the wood to have a papery or hollow sound when you lightly tap it. In the most severe cases, your finger might go through a structure such as a door frame when you press against it or knock on the surface.

Bubbling or Uneven Paint

If you notice paint that has a bubbly or uneven look, the unusual appearance is another sign that termites may be in your home. However, paint can appear like this when there is a moisture problem unknown leak in your home.

In either case, it’s essential to figure out what’s causing the paint to look that way. Moisture is also something that can attract termites to your home, making it especially imperative to get a professional assessment.

Difficulty Opening Doors and Windows

When termites eat through door and window frames, they create moisture. That aspect, in turn, can cause warping that makes your doors and windows feel “sticky” or otherwise hard to open.

However, be aware that having trouble opening your doors and windows can also happen if the weather has been hot and damp lately. Besides being mindful of the functionality of windows and doors, keep an eye on your wood furniture, as it can also become a haven for termites.

What Are the Other Visible Signs of Termites You May Find in Your Home?

The signs of a termite infestation covered above are those associated with your living space, a critical area for your comfort. If you suspect an issue, it’s essential to speak to a professional provider about appropriate termite solutions. You may gain additional insight when you see more visible traces of the termites themselves, like fecal matter, mud tubes, and discarded wings.

Swarmers/Alates or Discarded Wings

Flying termites or discarded wings are among the early signs of termites. The termites that fly away from their colonies are also called swarmers or alates. Flyers are both males and females trying to find mates to establish their colonies. This venturing away from the nest happens in the spring, typically after the last period of freezing temperatures. It can also occur during the fall.

Some dry-wood termites are most likely to swarm at particular times of the year or after rainfall. Other species fly at night and often do so near artificial or natural light sources. There are also cases where termites swarm briefly for defined periods. That limited time of action makes it easy for homeowners to miss them.

Termites shed their wings soon after starting to fly. You may see them piled on window sills or stuck in spiderwebs.


Termite droppings are collectively called frass. Drywood termites leave this fecal matter behind after consuming wood. You’ll often see it appearing as small piles of wood-colored pellets. Also, dry-wood termites often push frass near the entrances of their nests, causing black marks and the remnants of what looks like a dark powder.

Mud Tubes

Subterranean termites gather soil, as well as bits of wood and other debris to make tunnels between their colonies and the wood they’re eating. These tunnels, known as mud tubes or shelter tubes, often appear near a home’s foundation and are usually partially made of termite frass. They help preserve the moisture level for the colony and safeguard it from predators.

Evidence of Termites or a White Ant Problem?

Now you’ve seen some of the basic warning signs of termite infestation. However, it’s also crucial to clarify that some people make the mistake of thinking that termites in their homes are white ants. That’s because termites are similar in size and shape to ants and sometimes behave like them.

Termites can also have translucent bodies that sometimes appear white. In short, white ants do not exist. But, here are some other things that can help you distinguish between termites and ants:

  • Termites have thicker midsections than ants.
  • Ants have slightly bent antennae, but termites always have straight antennae.
  • Flying ants and termites both have two sets of wings, but termites wings are of the same size, while one ant wing is slightly larger than the other.

This description gives useful guidance on how to tell if you have termites. If you suspect a problem, it’s essential to find professional help as soon as possible. Delaying getting an assessment could cause substantial damage to your home.


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