Signs of Termite Damage and Termite FAQs

Serving Families Throughout Mid-Missouri
termites on wood

The idea of thousands of little bugs slowly eating your home is the stuff of nightmares. Destruction from these common pests can costs tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair. Most homeowners insurance doesn’t cover the cost of repairs from termite infestations. That’s why it’s critical to contact a professional pest control service at the first signs of a termite infestation to prevent costly damage to your home or business.

Termite Warning Signs

Termites are not exactly subtle creatures; and as such, they leave predictable warning signs that they’ve taken up residence in your home or business. Termite swarms, fallen wings, mud tubes and structural damage are all indications that you’ve got a pest problem on your hands.

Termite Swarm

Termites begin their mating season in late spring through summer. During this time, you may notice a large concentration of flying termites swarming near a light source, usually windows or even artificial light. A termite swarm lasts around half an hour, and then the termites must find moist soil to rehydrate. Swarming season is typically the only time a home or business owner actually sees the termites.

Fallen Wings

Once the termites mate and return to the ground, they’ll shed their wings. Discarded wings or even dead termites along windowsills or furniture is another warning sign of a termite infestation. Termite wings are typically light brown and somewhat translucent.

Mud Tubes

From birth, termites are divided into castes consisting of works, soldiers and reproductives. Reproductives are the only termites that grow wings. Beyond the brief swarming to reproduce, termites spend their lives underground. Exposure to air is detrimental to termites, and will dehydrate and kill them rather quickly. To navigate above ground, termites will construct mud tubes about the size of a pencil.

Wood Damage

Termites get their bad reputation from the costly damage they do to wooden structures. Hollow wood from termite damage is usually found in damp, warm places like basements or by the exterior and interior surfaces of the foundation. Follow existing mud tubes to find wood damage. Depending on the severity and duration of the infestation, signs of termite damage may include bucking wood, swollen floors or ceilings, or areas that appear like they have slight water damage.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the life cycle of a termite?

Termites, like bees, appoint a queen that does most of the egg laying for the colony. These eggs eventually hatch and begin their molting process as nymphs. As the nymphs molt, they gradually get larger and develop characteristics of the caste they were assigned to. Once fully grown, workers and soldiers will begin building tunnels and defending the colony. Reproductives will grow wings and prepare to swarm during mating season and potentially start their own colonies.

How long do termites live?

Your average soldier or worker termite will live about 1 to 2 years. A queen, however, can live for decades under the right conditions.

Why do termites eat wood?

Termites feed on the cellulose and other nutrients that dead wood provides. In the wild, termite colonies serve an important role in the ecosystem by breaking down dead trees. They can’t tell the difference between the dead tree in your backyard, and the lumber used to build your home.

How long does it take a termite colony to destroy a home?

Termites are pretty hard workers, and will continue chomping away at your home 24 hours a day. On average, one colony contains about 60,000 termites.  With a typical infestation, a single colony can destroy your home’s structural foundation in 5 to 8 years.

If you suspect a colony of termites is using your home or business as an all-you-can-eat buffet, give BugOut Pest Control a call at (573) 928-3704 !

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