How to Tell if You Have Termites in Your Home

Browns Plains resident, Damien asks

“We live on acreage and are surrounded by a lot of bushland. We’re concerned about getting termites in our home – are there any common signs that we should look out for?”

 

Definitely Damien, detecting signs of termite activity early on can save you thousands of dollars worth of potential damage to your home. Here’s a few things to look out for.

1. Termite mud trails

One of the first signs of a possible termite infestation is the presence of mud trails on the exterior walls of your home. These mud trails are small in size and usually around the diameter of a pencil. The technical term for these mud tracks are “shelter tubes”. Termites make these tubes in order to protect themselves from both sunlight and regular ants.

When termites make these tubes, they find a small crack, gap, or a weep hole where they can build the mud trails and gain direct access into the house.

The most common areas to find mud trails are usually around the walls edge, coming up from the ground around the lower edges of the brickwork. Another common area to see the mud chutes are on concrete stumps or uprights.

If you find mud tubes inside your home, then its likely you have a termite infestation which requires immediate actioning.

Never break open or disturb a termite mud trail

If you do find a mud trail, the worst thing you can do is disturb them.

Termites are resilient, and will repair the tubes within 10-15 minutes. It’s vital that you don’t spray them with any home DIY solutions or store-bought products. We find that often homeowners will break open a part of the mud trail to try and figure out what it is, or to see if there’s live termites inside. Some will attempt a DIY  termite treatment using inferior products from Bunnings or similar stores.

Unfortunately, once termites have been disturbed they’ll have completely abandoned that area, which means they could be anywhere . So golden rule is, do not disturb the nest or mud trails.

2. Dark stains on your walls

Another give away might be dark patches or stains on internal walls. This small mud style stain happens when termites find an entry point into the property and build a sub-nest in the wall.

This sub-nest is constructed with wet mud and as the sub-nest grows the wet mud seeps through the plaster which results in the stain appearing on the other side. When this happens, the plaster becomes soft, and you can usually push your finger right through it into the nest on the other side.

One common area we typically see this happen is on an external facing wall within the bathroom. The reason for this is that termites are attracted to moisture and gain access cracks or via the plumbing penetrations in your slab.

Within most homes there are gaps between the plumbing – both within the walls and floors – which allow termites to gain access. Termites simply make their way in through the gaps, up into the framing, and begin building nests within the walls.

Other common areas we see this are within the laundry, kitchen and showers.

3. Flying termites

Finding winged termites, typically within window tracks, or screen doors and windows could indicate a possible termite problem. Termites once ready to mate, will develop wings and fly in an effort to relocate.

Flying termites are pretty obvious, you’ll often see them fly out from underneath the skirting boards to mate and start a new colony.

It’s a common misconception to believe termites don’t have wings and are often mistaken for flying ants, particularly when there has been no other indication of termites on the property and they suddenly appear in window fly screens.

4. Deterioration of timber

Another sign of a potential termite infestation are softening of timbers or bubbling of painted timbers. The most common example of this is disintegrating skirting boards. Termites will often eat away at the entire skirting board leaving only the outer paint layer and while it looks fine and intact, a quick bump with the vacuum cleaner will reveal its completely hollow.

5. Unusual clicking sounds coming from the walls

It might sound odd, but we usually ask customers, “Does it sound like you’ve put rice bubbles in a bowl and just poured milk on them” and the general response is “Yes, that’s the exact sound!”

Termites can be heard at night, usually when its very quiet and everyone is in bed.

Hearing this is almost always an indication that termites are present.

Pest-Ex are the termite treatment professionals

If you discover any signs of termite activity around your home we can help with an affordable and effective treatment solution specifically suited to your home. Call us today and one of our friendly technicians will help you schedule an inspection.

We look forward to working with you.

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