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How Can You Determine the Extent of Termite Damage Within Your Walls

June 28, 2022
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If you've ever had a termite infestation, you know how damaging termites can be and how tough they are to get rid of.  Whether it’s a subterranean termite colony, drywood termites, or any other type of termite, they can all cause some sort of structural damage. If you suspect that your walls are infested with termites, there are a few telltale indications to check for before deciding on a treatment option.

But what's the extent to which termites can damage your walls? Some clear indicators of active termites and wall infestation include a hollow sound within your walls, mud tubes by the base of your wall, wood debris, paint damage that typically looks like water damage, and much more. 

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Common Signs of Termite Damage In Your Walls

1) Mud Piles

Homeowners can usually spot a "mud pile" or "muddy area" under a television cabinet or other piece of furniture. Termites will create a sub-nest when they discover a good supply of food and a constant food source in your home. 

Termites create a sub-nest in your home to serve as a midway house between their main nest and your home. Thousands of termites, as well as dirt and moisture, may be found in these sub nests.

The moisture begins to leak through the plaster once the mud pile reaches a particular size behind a wall. If you have a piece of furniture against the wall, the mud will adhere to it and form a mudpack. A mud pile can go undiscovered long enough to form a one-meter-high and-wide mud structure within your walls.

Most homeowners notice mud damage and spots on their walls before it reaches this point. Homeowners should, however, do routine checks beneath cabinets, mattresses, and other pieces of furniture. The sooner any possible problems are identified, the better. 

2) Plasterboard Discoloration 

On portions of the plasterboard, discoloration shows as a brownish, moist stain. Be sure to have a thorough look at the afflicted region to determine if termites are present. If termites are present, a broad area the size of a football will be covered in hundreds of small brown spots or imperfections on your wall. As the muck seeps through the plasterboard, a discoloration develops, indicating potential termite wall damage.

3) Bubbling or Chipping Paint

Skirting boards, door frames, and window frames are some of the first sites where homeowners detect termites. The wood used in these areas is usually softer than that used in structural beams and frameworks, and it is frequently these areas that exhibit the earliest symptoms of a possible presence of termites.

When people vacuum, they frequently hit the skirting boards or door frames with the vacuum cleaner, causing the wood to give way. This is because termites had entirely eaten through the wooden structures, leaving just a thin coating of paint. The structure is essentially a paint-filled empty area where you are guaranteed to find signs of termite activity.

Another indicator is if opening and shutting windows becomes difficult, or if doors become stuck. As the wood rots, it bends, warps, and sags, resulting in abnormalities when closing or opening these entryways, the feces that termites release while they chew the wood is also another factor that causes wood bending.  

4) Ticking Sounds Within Walls

Termites are extremely busy, and some species of termites are even hostile. This usually means they'll create a lot of noise inside the walls that they choose to infest, which has a really distinct tone to it. It’s often described as small crackling or cricketing. 

Many homeowners claim to hear this noise coming from the walls at night, but this is merely due to the fact that the rest of the house is quieter at this time. Termite activity is most likely what you're hearing if you're resting in bed and notice slight ticking sounds coming from the walls.

If you suspect termites in your walls, it's advisable to call pest control professionals since they employ modern tools, equipment, and technology to scan for dampness, movement, and activity. A pest control operator can detect the presence of termites long before mud stains appear on your plaster, which can save you money in the long run. 

5) Thin Lines Along The Walls

Termites prefer to dig through walls and spend most of their time there. They do, however, occasionally migrate just beneath the surface of your drywall or plaster to get from one location to another.

If you detect blistering paint on your drywall, termites may be lurking just beneath the surface. However, because termites cannot tunnel into fiberglass drywall, such as fireproof drywall, or other comparable products, this may not be a symptom of termite infestation if your walls are made of these materials. 

6) Tiny Holes in the Walls

If you notice small holes along the surface of your walls, this is one of the more visible signs that termites are present, which can also be referred to as swarmer exit holes. Termites are likely dwelling inside the inside of the wall at that spot if you find little round or oblong pinholes on its surface. If you detect similar pinholes in close-by wood structures, your walls are more likely to be infected with termites as well. 

7) Swarmer Termites Flying Near the Walls

If swarmer termites are flying about in your house by the walls or you spot broken off wings on the floor near walls or on window sills, this is another sign that termites are in your walls. Swarmers are termites' winged reproductive forms that swarm around hunting for new areas to infest. It's possible that your walls are already infested with termites if you see a significant number of them buzzing close to your walls and windows. 

8) Doors or Windows Don’t Close Smoothly

If you find that your doors or windows aren't closing as smoothly as they used to, it might be an indicator of termites. Termites nibble at the wooden components of your walls, weakening and loosening them over time, making it more difficult, or sometimes much easier, to open and close doors and windows.

Keep in mind that wooden components may contract and expand as temperatures fluctuate throughout the year, so if your doors or windows are stuck in the fall or winter, it's not always a sign of termites. Before you speculate that you're dealing with termites, look for additional signs or get a termite examination from a reputable pest management company. 

9) Carpenter Ants Surrounding the Walls

Termites attract ants because they feed on their excrement, and they are also preyed upon by ants. If you notice ants along your walls, this might indicate that termites are close. However, carpenter ants may occasionally establish nests inside walls or other wooden buildings, and they can appear quite similar to termites. So if you see more ants than termites along your walls, it's likely that you're dealing with ants rather than termites. 

10) Termite Dust on Wall Base

If you notice heaps of microscopic, non-sticky powder dust on the floor around the base of your walls, you may have termites dwelling in your walls. It's probable that termites are digging into and through your wood materials and then excreting their waste or "frass" out of the walls forming this mound of dry, crumbly powder dust that emerges at the base of your walls.

Finding frass in a certain segment of your wall can indicate where they're dwelling within your wall, and the further this frass is visible from the surface of the wall, the deeper they are likely to be residing within the wall. Termites also build shelter tubes out of a mixture of feces and mud, and use these oblong tubes as a refuge and to create a passage to and from their food supply, acting as a clear indicator of a termite problem. 

11) Mud Tubes by the Wall Baseboards

A termite infestation will most likely lead to observable mud tubes. If you see mud tubes along your baseboards or between your home and the ground outside, it could be a sign that termites are on your walls.

Termites create these tubes as a way to travel from their nests up into your walls and other parts of your home undetected so that they can avoid predators and remain safe while they feed on the wooden structure of your home. If you see mud tubes extending to the interior of your house, it’s likely that termites are already infesting the wood materials inside your home. 

12) Baseboard Wall Cracks

Subterranean termites can crawl up from the bottom of the walls and into the structures within them. Termites can enter walls through the baseboards, causing cracks, making even a light touch to the baseboard a reason for it to shatter. Baseboards used by termites to enter walls will emit a hollow sound. Termites can then spread all over the floor from the baseboards. Hardwood floors that have been damaged by termites will also bow when walked over.  

Signs of Termite Damage on Your Walls By Termite Species

Subterranean Termite Wall Damage

A subterranean termite is a termite species that lives underground in moist, loose soil. Interior damage may not be seen until the infestation has progressed to the point of a full-blown infestation. Buckling wood, bloated floors and ceilings, regions that appear to be suffering from minor water damage, and apparent mazes within walls or furniture are all symptoms of termite damage.

Termite infestations can often have mildew or mold-like odor. Subterranean termites use mud tunnels made of saliva, mud, and dung to reach above-ground food sources. These tunnels are seen near afflicted homes' foundations. 

Drywood Termite Wall Damage

Drywood termites create colonies within the wooden buildings they feed on. They can be found on the inside of walls and furniture. Drywood termite infections may not be noticeable until the veneer cracks and the maze-like tunnels underneath become visible after the colony has burrowed so deeply into an afflicted region that the veneer cracks and the maze-like tunnels beneath become visible.

This type of deterioration is prevalent in antique furniture, but if this happens on new furniture, your home's floors, or walls, call a pest control specialist to discuss the severity of your infestation and treatment choices right away, as this is most likely a sign of a termite issue within your walls. 

Repairing Termite Damage

There are various options for repairing termite damage. The first step is to replace the damaged boards with fresh, termite-resistant wood. The second, more cost-effective approach is to use supporting boards to reinforce damaged wood.  

1) Self Home Repairs

You might be able to handle the termite damage repairs yourself if you have substantial restoration expertise and decent carpentry skill. Damaged wood should be repaired after all termites have been eradicated and the possibility of future infestation has been eliminated.  

2) Employing Professionals

If you're worried about your capacity to do the repairs, hiring a professional termite repair specialist who can assess and offer the best repair choices for your circumstance may be the best alternative. Some pest control companies also offer repair services for damaged walls. 

Termite Damage Prevention

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment. Every minute your home is infested with termites is another minute of disastrous chewing of your house's structures.

Here are some useful tips for protecting your property against these pesky and destructive insects:

  • Maintain proper moisture and ventilation management.
  • Create a barrier between your yard and your home's foundations and entry points.
  • Place termite baits near entrance points or infested areas.
  • Put nematodes in your yard.
  • Use boric acid or diatomaceous earth around your foundation.
  • Keep firewood and plants away from buildings.
  • Spray termiticidal repellents on undamaged wood.
  • Scheduled termite inspections by a licensed termite specialist on a regular basis. 

Positive Pest Management: Your Best Bet Against Termites

Positive Pest Management professional technician.

If you’ve spotted any telltale signs like termite tubes or an odd piece of wood around your house, don’t hesitate to seek help. Before you can be a target of a devastating termite attack, we at Positive Pest Management can ensure that the structural integrity of your home is safe from this destructive pest. 

Our pest control company guarantees spotless termite inspection so that your space is protected, and that infestations are kept at bay so you and your loved ones are kept safe and healthy. 

Call us now at 1-800-294-3130.

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