Does your home have termites? These soft-bodied wood destroyers can strike anywhere in North America and just a few set the stage for devastating structural damage. A single pair can launch a colony of millions. Termite queens live for decades while producing four eggs a minute as the growing hoard of pale offspring snacks on your home.

Termites gnaw away billions of dollars a year in property damage and most of it isn’t covered by insurance. Fixing their handiwork is arduous and often very expensive. Why so costly? The destruction is silent, gradual and hidden behind walls and underground, usually remaining unnoticed until extensive destruction has occurred.

What if you suspect a stealth termite attack? “Evaluating and treating a termite infestation is never a do-it-yourself task,” cautions Darren Impson, President of Paul Davis, Tampa, Florida, who says that one in 10 homes in his state will sustain termite damage at some point. “If you suspect termites, call a professional immediately to inspect your property. Unsure if it’s an ant or a termite you see crawling around your deck? Here’s an easy way to tell: termites have straight antennae and wide bodies while ants have crooked antennae and pinched waists.”

Here are the structural clues to look for in and around the house and outbuildings, though you may see nothing at all because these secretive insects can be very hard to detect:

  • Mud tubes climbing building foundations. The tubes protect soft termite bodies from drying out as they travel from ground nests.
  • Wood that seems soft, sounds hollow, darkens or blisters.
  • Mounds of termite pellets – resembling small piles of sawdust
  • Discarded piles of wings on windowsills or near foundations

The best defence is to prevent infestation: 

  • Stack wood away from structures 
  • Maintain good drainage from and around wooden structures
  • Mulch at least 15 inches away from foundations
  • Trim trees that contact roofs or home exteriors

Smart homeowners have professional termite inspections at least annually because early identification and prompt treatment is the best way to minimize damage and expense. Be sure to hire a reputable pest control company, too. 

Grappling with termite damage after an infestation? Paul Davis answers the phone 24/7/365 if you need help. Call 800-661-5975.