Termites are a major problem for homeowners in the United States. Every year, these pests cause more than $2 billion in damage. Damage to wooden structures is an obvious sign of a termite infestation, but since termites eat from the inside out, by the time you notice this damage, it could be too late. To protect your home, you need to stay alert for the more subtle clues that you have a termite infestation. Here are seven signs that you may have a termite infestation in your home.
Your paint is peeling
Peeling paint can be a sign that your paint is too old and needs to be replaced, but it can also be a sign that termites are slowly eating the wood behind your paint. Termites can make your paint peel for two reasons. First, they produce moisture, which can cause your paint to no longer adhere to your wall. Second, the paint can peel when there is no longer any wood behind it to hold it in place. Moisture damage and termite damage are hard to differentiate, so you'll need to get your house inspected to confirm the cause of the problem
Your floor tiles are loose
If the floor tiles in your kitchen or bathroom are loose, you could have a termite infestation. This may seem surprising, but the reason for this is quite simple. As the termites eat the wood below the tiles, they introduce moisture to the area. This moisture can lead to the failure of the adhesive backing that holds your tiles in place. The moisture can also make your tiles buckle and warp. The end result of this process is that your tiles become loose.
Your floors are sagging
Sagging floors can be a clue that termites are damaging the structural integrity of your home. A large colony of termites can consume over 1 foot of a pine 2x4 board in only six months, but since you can't see them eating this wood, your first clue that the structure of your home is being eaten could be sagging floors. Sagging floors need to be taken very seriously, because eventually, they may no longer hold your weight.
Your house smells strange
Another clue that you may have a termite infestation in your house is the development of a strange odor. It's not the termites themselves that smell; it is the fungus that may accompany an infestation. Termite infestations increase moisture, and where you have moisture, fungus can grow. This fungus tends to smell musty or sweet. If you notice strange smells in your house, termites may be responsible.
You see mud tunnels on your exterior walls
Some types of termites use mud tunnels to travel between the ground and structures above the ground. They build these tunnels to keep themselves safe from predators and from the elements, but they make a termite infestation easier to spot. If you notice mud tunnels connecting the ground to your house, you need to be concerned that you have a termite infestation.
You see sawdust on your floor
Termites feed on wood, so it should be no surprise that their droppings look like sawdust. These piles of droppings may be found beneath wooden furniture or near other sources of wood in your home. If you notice piles of sawdust on the floor of your house, and you haven't been doing any construction projects, you should assume that termites are responsible.
You hear noises inside your walls
Termites are small insects, so it may come as some surprise that they can make enough noise to draw your attention. If there are a lot of termites living inside your walls or floors you may be able to hear them, particularly at night when your house is quiet. The sounds made by a colony of termites, have been described as sounding like crackles, taps, or pops. It's not actually the termites themselves making these noises; it's the sounds of the wood fibers within your walls snapping as the termites chew them.
If you notice any of these signs, make sure to call a termite control company right away. They will carefully inspect your home for any signs of termites, and if termites are found, the pests will be eradicated.