How to check for termites yourself
Drywood termites, as their name suggests, live directly on dry wood, do not make underground termites. They can be set in the pillars, windows and frames of the doors of your house without being visible for years. They feed on any piece of wood they find around your home, from furniture to skirting boards.
If you know that there are dry wood termites in your neighborhood it is a good idea to make regular checks around your house or apartment to detect them as soon as possible and prevent termites from damaging your home.
Here are 7 signs of termites that you can have these unwanted guests living in your home:
Not you, but the termite soldier! You may have wondered how the termites sound. An indication of the presence of termites is to hear enough clicks coming from your walls. Soldier termites hit their heads against the wood or shake their bodies to warn if there is any danger to the rest of the colony
The termite workers, who love to eat your wood, are noisy binges. If you put your ear near any termite infested wood you can hear them biting. This noisy habit of eating was even mentioned by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder 2,000 years ago!
A little known fact is that termites like rock music! Queen, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Rolling Stones, Nirvana, whatever. A recent study of termite feeding habits found that these wood-addicted insects work faster when listening to rock music. When a selection of termites was subjected to a rock song they ate wood twice as fas.
Termites are small, sensitive creatures. They can detect vibrations and noises using several organs at the base of the antennae and in the tibia (one of the segments of the leg).
Scientists at CSIRO Australia even believe that termites can tell the size of a piece of wood by using vibrations to measure it from the inside – something even humans can not do yet! There is still much to discover about these little parasites.
Usually, the first sign of a termite infestation is the presence of flying termites – called swarms or winged. Flying termites are males and females who have left the nest to find a mate and then set up a new colony – which could be near or inside your home. Read more about these winged termites in our blog Why do flying termites mean a serious problem?
Some species fly at night and are attracted to light sources. Others do it in broad daylight, but all termites of dry wood tend to perform the nuptial flight after the rain at certain times of the year.
Another common sign of termites is discarded wings. Flying termites lose their wings shortly after finding a mate. Male and female dry wood termites mate and look for a suitable nesting site where they are isolated to mate and begin the new colony. The king and queen begin by caring for their young until there are enough female workers to take over. The king continues to care for the queen and the couple can coexist in the growing colony for more than ten years.
Did you know that in some termite species, males die shortly after mating?
A common mistake people make is confusing termites with white ants. This misconception is an easy error to make since both ants and termites are very similar in form, size and, in some cases, behavior.
What are the differences between ants and termites?
Termites are light colored. They are usually white / cream and can sometimes look quite translucent.
In comparison to ants, the antennae of termites are straight rather than bent.
The area of excretion of a termite is much thicker than that of an ants. The section in which the thorax and abdomen meet is very narrow in the ant, whereas in a termite this section is considerably larger in comparison. Come on, they have little waist.
Both flying ants and termites have two pairs of wings. However in termites the two wings have the same length, while in ants one pair is larger than another. The most important thing to note is that there is no such thing as a white ant. If you think you’ve spotted an insect that looks like a white ant in or around your home, then you may have a termite problem in your hands, or in the furniture!
Hollow wood sounds
Dry wood termites usually consume wood from the inside out, leaving a thin layer of wood or just the surface paint. When you hit or touch an area that has termite damage, it will sound hollow. This is because some or all of the interior wood has been eaten.
Some of the most common stories you can read about termites is that a problem is only discovered when the vacuum cleaner goes through a skirting board or a finger pressing on a door frame runs through it.
Inner doors and hard-to-open windows
Often related to signs of humid and hot weather, rigid windows and doors can also mean termites! The humidity that they produce when eating and the tunnels that create through the frames of doors and windows causes the wood to deform, so that windows and doors become difficult to open.
Tunnels on wood
Tunnels, also known as ‘galleries’, are obviously very difficult to see from the outside, but if you see them in a broken piece of wood near or inside your house is a sure sign that the termites have established a camp in your house .
Various types of technologies have been proposed for the detection of tunnels and termite activity when there are no visible signs. These include stereoscopes, electronic odor detectors, sound detectors, infrared detectors, x-rays and even dogs, but only a few have been tested under laboratory conditions or are in use – some are used by Rentokil technicians.
Clear evidence of the presence of termites, and in particular dry termite termites, is their excrement. This indicator of an infestation is something that is always sought during a termite inspection. Unlike subterranean termites, dry wood termites do not use their feces to build their tunnels. On the contrary, these termites push their excrement into small holes near the entrances to their nest. This results in small black marks and a dark powder substance inside and around the area they are infesting, as if they were small plant seeds.
So you already know the signs of dry wood termites, but what about subterranean termites? Unlike their premiums, subterranean termites prefer to live underground on the ground, especially in your garden and under your home. Find out more about subterranean termites in our Underground Termites blog.
Professional termite inspection
Rentokil technicians are experts in finding termite signs around your house and have various types of technology to detect them when there is no visible evidence. These include humidity sensors, thermal sensors and sound sensors.
If termite activity is found, Rentokil technicians can give you recommendations for the most suitable treatments available for your property. See the Rentokil website for more information.