If left unchecked, termites can quickly destroy structural framing and other wood-based support. You should learn the signs of infestation, inspect every year or two, and consult a professional when you have any questions.
Tell-tale signs of termites:
- In warm months, you may spot termites when they come out of hidden infested areas.
- Using a flashlight, look for structural wood damage at the first-floor level, especially where the foundation meets the walls and below exterior doors. Termite damage may not be immediately visible, so thump the wood with the heel of a large screwdriver and probe with a heavy-duty awl in search of hollowed-out wood. I found some of the little devils on my front porch. The wood looked fine, but tapping on the wood panels with a screwdriver quickly chipped the wood. Luckily, I caught the problem in time, and I just had to replace the wood panel.
- Termites can leave very small, black or reddish-brown droppings. Close inspection will be needed to see it.
- Subterranean termites live in the soil and close to a source of moisture but feed on structural wood, which they access by building mud passageways extending from the soil to the wood. So, make sure to inspect the foundation walls in search of mud tubes.
If you find a problem, be sure to contact a professional. The best place to look is your local phone book.