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Termites are tough insects with a voracious appetite for wood. Unfortunately, this can lead to severe home and property damage as the hungry critters feast their way through structural materials. Careful home inspection can give clues as to whether termites exist in a home or building. Looking for signs of termite damage can allow homeowners to take action quickly to eliminate insects before severe damage is done.
Termites have a habit of excavating wood from the inside, leaving wood that looks solid but is actually hollow under the surface. One of the most obvious signs of termite damage is hollowed out wood. To test, tap exposed wood with a hammer and listen for a hollow sound. Wood that has been attacked by termites may even break when tapped firmly, exposing the hollowed out interior layers.
Sometimes, termite damage can be observable through change of color or appearance. Termite-infested wood may look darker and take on the appearance of a stain. The wood can also appear to puff up or even blister, another telltale sign of termite damage.
Termites build mud tubes along their routes to ease travel for themselves. These narrow tubes are common along structural features, such as near baseboards, along chimneys, and even on the foundation of the house. The tubes are narrow, can run extensive distances, and are typically made of dried mud. Consider inspecting underneath a house with a flashlight to look for signs of mud tubes.
While looking for evidence of termite damage, be sure to keep an eye out for termites themselves. Termites will occasionally swarm, giving obvious evidence of their presence. But it is also common to find wings or feces piles wherever the insects have made their home. Any evidence that there are termites nearby is a good indication that there may be resultant termite damage.
If a house exhibits signs of termite damage or the insects have been spotted, it may be time to call a professional. Termite exterminators can examine the property, locate hives or hideouts, and often determine the extent of the termite damage, if any. Pest control services can then take steps to eradicate the insects and prevent future infestations by placing bait traps around the perimeter of the property.
Termite damage can cost a considerable amount of money to repair and can even damage the stability and safety of a building. Any evidence of termite damage should be taken seriously to ensure that damage is limited and solutions enacted. Termites are voracious eaters and unlikely to move on while there is tasty wood present. By taking steps quickly, the insects can be banished and the damage repaired well before it is too late.