Seven Tricks To Spotting Termite Problems Around Your Jacksonville Property

The most destructive termites in the United States are subterranean termites. One of the reasons they are so destructive is that they are challenging to detect. You won't see these insects crawling around on your walls. They'll be tunneling on the frame inside your walls. So it isn't enough to know that termite workers are pale insects with fat waists or that they are always found with large, orange-headed soldier termites with black pincers. Unless you're doing a renovation or digging up soil in your yard, you'll only see these termites in rare circumstances. Fortunately, there are some tricks to spotting a termite problem.

termite eating wood

1. Shelter Tubes

If subterranean termites are feeding on your property, they're likely to make shelter tubes from the soil to the wood. They create these tubes in dark, damp locations underneath a porch, patio, or stairs.

Shelter tubes are often called mud tubes because they are made from soil and saliva. This can make shelter tubes look like naturally occurring phenomena. Don't let that natural-looking pattern fool you if you see mud streaks that look like lighting, tree branches, or a flowing river. Termites created those mud streaks.

2. Swarmers

Winged termites look different from workers and soldiers. They are black or orange and have long white wings that stack on top of each other. They're also different from workers and soldiers in another fundamental way: They're drawn to light. When they leave a nest, they head straight toward the light. If they emerge inside your property, you'll find them on window panes. If they appear outside during the day, you'll see them fluttering around in a cloud and landing on bright surfaces. At night, they'll be hanging out around streetlights.

Swarmers aren't a great way to find out you have a termite infestation, but they can be an obvious way. Why do we say this isn't a great way to find out you have an infestation? A termite nest doesn't produce swarmers until it matures. This can take a few years. That means, by the time you see swarmers, worker termites have had a long time to make a meal out of your Jacksonville property.

3. Wings

Termite swarms don't last for more than about 30 minutes. You can miss a swarm in the time it takes you to run to the store and back. But you might see the evidence of a swarm; those tiny white wings littered about on the ground or clinging to spider webs underneath structures on your property.  

Keep in mind that a swarmer is only about ⅜ of an inch long. While their wings are two-thirds that length, they're still pretty small and can be easy to miss.

4. Hollow Wood

Termite workers don't expose themselves to the light or the air, so you're going to have to be clever about how you detect them. One way is to tap on heavy load-supporting timbers. If you tap on a thick piece of wood and hear a hollow sound, that is a sign that there are termite tunnels within.

5. Exterior Wood Sources

Do you have a stump, log, or tree with heart rot in your yard? If so, you may be able to detect termites by chopping into one of these sources. Termites don't focus on one food source. They'll feed on these while they're feeding on your property. If you chop into a piece of wood and find tiny white ants, you should know that those aren't ants. They're termites.

6. Sounds

While rare, termites sometimes make a sound, you can hear. Some describe it as rattling. Others describe it as a clicking. This noise is the sound of termites banging their heads on tunnel walls in response to a threat, such as an ant invasion.

7. Damage

This is the worst way to detect termites on your property. Termite damage is done on the inside of wood. But, over time, this interior damage manifests in an exterior way. Doors and windows stick or open freely. Floors sink. Ceilings dip down. Walls bulge. By the time you see this damage, it is too late to protect your property.

Be Proactive

The best way to protect your property is with proactive termite control from a licensed termite control professional. If you live in Jacksonville, reach out to Lindsey Pest Services and let our experienced service team guide you in setting up the right solution for your specific needs and budget.


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