It can often be difficult for homeowners to identify signs of termites within their home. These pests will often seek shelter in dark, damp places within the home that provide cellulose based materials for them to feed on. However, signs of termites are usually available if you know what to look for.
Termites are small insects that will often be found feeding on wood. In Oklahoma, the predominate termite species is the eastern subterranean termite which directly contributes to an estimated $5 billion in control and repair costs associated with termite damage across all species. Unlike some other species, the eastern subterranean termite requires contact with the soil for its temperature and moisture content.
Mud tubes created by termites are one of the most visible signs of termites in the home. These tunnels measure roughly the same circumference as a pencil and can vary drastically in length depending on distances required for travel. There are 3 types of mud tubes termites utilize:
- Working Tubes – This type of termite tube provides a path between a termite colony in the soil and a source of wood. These types of tubes are utilized to bring food sources back to the colony with limited exposure to the elements.
- Exploratory Tube – This type of termite tube extends from the soil but doesn’t connect to any food source. In most cases, these tubes are used to search for new food sources for the colony.
- Drop Tube – This type of termite tube creates a path from a wood source back to the soil.
It is possible that termite tubes have been abandoned. To test this, homeowners can create a break in the middle of a termite tube with either a stick or pencil. If the tube is reconstructed within a few days or live termites come out of the break, the tube is still active.
When the weather begins to warm in spring and heavy rains have passed, it is not uncommon for termites to begin swarming. During this process, reproductive termites are attempting to mate and establish new colonies, further infesting your home and property. This is one of the easiest signs of termites for homeowners to observe.
During a swarming period, termites can produce thousands of swarmers. Most often, eastern subterranean termites will begin appearing during the day making them highly visible. Once the termite swarmer has successfully mated, it will shed its wings.
Homeowners may find these wings in areas of their home like window sills. If you do find signs of termite swarmers within your home, it may indicate an established colony has already infested. In the event you see these signs of termites, it is important to contact a pest control provider immediately.
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