Should homeowners be worried about termites in your yard?
As with many things, the answer is, it depends. The context around termites in your yard may be a concern. Or, conversely, termites might be attracted to your yard due to the presence of wood, stumps, piles or even a fence. By removing the main attraction, the termites may leave on their own. However, termite mud tubes may imply a potential infestation. As a result, if you spot termites in your yard, then you should look for warning signs, along with understanding termite prevention.
Warning Signs of Termites in Your Yard
First and foremost, to understand the warning signs of a termite infestation, homeowners must know what attracts termites.
There are three major types of termites: dampwood, subterranean, and drywood. While all termites are attracted to woody material in some form, the main types of termites are attracted to different substances. For example, subterranean termites are more attracted to decaying wood near or immersed in the soil and lead to mud tubes. Conversely, dampwood termites do not require soil contact and are attracted to material with ongoing moisture content, like beams compromised by plumbing leaks. Finally, drywood termites require less moisture and may be more likely to reside in attics, untreated wood or plastic, or warmer locations. To help spot warning signs of an infestation, the following list highlights attractive and potentially problematic area of your yard or home:
- Rotting or decaying wood or other plant-based materials, as well as plastic
- Airflow or drainage issues
- Wood piles and mulch close to the building’s foundation, as well as clogged gutters
- Tree proximity to home, especially dead trees
- Untreated wood
- Cracks in foundation or other entry points, like unsealed holes or aged caulking
How to Identify Termite Mud Tubes
Additionally, homeowners should be aware of termite mud tubes in the yard and view those as a sign of a probable infestation. Mud tubes are often the width of a person’s pinky (from baby-sized to slightly larger than that of an adult), appear in shades of brown and orange, and may extend several inches or many feet. They are constructed of materials like soil particles, woody materials, and bodily fluids, and the strength of their construction is specific to their function, so mud tubes in the yard used for exploration may be less fortified than the food or transport tunnels that line or branch across your porch or foundation. In addition to looking for termite mud tubes in your basement area, the foundation of your home or other parts of your property that are attractive to termites, including the rotting or decaying wood often found in wood piles, dead trees, or untreated wood that is close to warm, wet soil, are prime outside locations for termite mounds and mud tubes.
How to Identify Termite Colonies
When you spot mud tubes or a visible termite infestation, many homeowners may not understand this is like the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, subterranean termites often build their nests several feet underground, which means homeowners are spotting a satellite termite colony and the real risk might not even be evident. So, what are termite colonies and why do these pests organize within them. Termite colonies are highly organized and structured groups of termites that work together to find food, build their homes, and reproduce. These colonies can range in size from just a few hundred to millions in population, and they play a crucial role in the ecosystems in which they live. The layout of a termite colony varies depending on the species of termite, but most nests are underground and made up of interconnected tunnels and chambers. The nest provides the termites with protection from predators and the elements, and also works to regulate the temperature and humidity within the colony. The nest is typically built with mud, wood, and other materials gathered by the workers. Because termite colonies will often reside within the walls and wooden structures of your home, you most likely won’t be able to directly see it. However, as they cause damage, you will be able to spot some early warning signs that you have a colony living within your home.
Additionally, in order for termites to create new colonies, some of the insects from one colony grow wings and “swarm” to areas close by. If a flying termite is found in the home, a new termite infestation is at the beginning stages. Dead termites often found in windowsills can also be an indicator. Swarming termites lose their wings after finding a new residence, so wings and wing parts may be seen if no live insects are found. So, you might think, “Why not eliminate this source?” Simple, when you take away a stump or remove wood already being chewed, the satellite colony simply transfers to another location.
Professional Termite Inspections Protect Your Property
Importantly, homeowners should note that termite damage is often not evident until the structure is already ruined. The following signs could indicate a termite infestation that likely requires a professional termite inspection or exterminator.
- Quiet clicking sounds coming from inside the walls.
- Wood damage to support posts, joists or windowsills, studs, flooring and more.
- Dark brown or orange mud tubes at the bottom of basement walls.
- Dead termites or discarded wings, often found on wooden windowsills.
- Small dark dots on the wall, where termites have created pinholes.
- Structural issues, including rippled drywall, sagging ceilings or peeling paint.
Additionally, a long-term termite infestation can potentially cause structural damage to the home as well. Signs of termite damage in your home include sagging ceilings, ripples in drywall or paneling and peeling paint. While these warning signs could be driven by a number of other structural problems, if you spot any of the well-known termite infestation indicators, then consider an inspection today. Or, for a quick risk assessment, then many homeowners work with termite removal kits to gather preliminary evidence of termites or another issue. However, if termites are spotted, then identifying the underlying source requires professional expertise.
Therefore, if you are concerned about a few termites flying in your yard, schedule an appointment with a termite control expert at Eliminate ‘Em for a proper termite inspection. Eliminate ‘Em will evaluate your property to find the source – or to reassure you that this was a one-time incident. To find out, start by contacting us today.