As you clean and prepare for your house guests, however, you begin to notice little piles that look almost like sawdust and unexpected paint damage on your walls. You remember hearing about this somewhere—Is it possible that some tiny house guests have beat your human visitors to the punch?
Are these signs of termites? How can you find out for sure? And are these little pests really such a big deal?
Read on to learn about five signs that suggest that you might be hosting termites in your Arizona home, and why it's important to do something about them sooner than later!
1. Termite Droppings
Have you noticed unexplained piles of what looks like sawdust or dirt in your home? This might be the first sign that termites have taken up residence—but how can you know for sure that you're dealing with droppings and not common dust?
Termites leave droppings, or frass, which tends to have a powdery texture, like sand or salt. You can expect to find it forming small piles, often in corners.
A sure sign that your mystery dirt is actually termite frass is the presence of a small hole in the wood near the location of the pile. The termites create these holes so the frass doesn't get in their way.
2. Paint Damage
Has your paint always looked like that? If you are noticing new paint damage in your home, termites may have been busy consuming the wood around it.
Termites love to eat wood, but they're not fond of paint. If the wood they are eating has been painted, they will leave the paint untouched, which will appear like damage from the outside.
If your paint seems to be crumbling, it's a good idea to check behind it by touching or pressing on the wood underneath. If it seems to have more give than usual, termites may have been working there recently.
3. Unusual Warping
If you have ever lived in a humid place, warped wood in your home might not seem especially unusual to you. In a drier climate, however, warping might be a sign that termites have been nearby recently.
The wood that is most accessible to termites is the wood with the most exposure. This tends to include door and window frames. Checking these for unusual warping can yield early signs of termites in your home.
You may be experiencing warping due to the presence of termites if:
Doors or windows have become unusually difficult to open or close
Frames show signs of water damage when there has been no recent exposure to water or moisture
The wood around window or door frames is cracked or bent
If the frames of your windows and doors are becoming warped, this could be because termites are generating moisture as they eat through surrounding wooden structures.
4. Sounds in the Walls
Termites are not the quietest house guests. In fact, their table manners can be atrocious! If you hear unusual sounds coming from your walls, it could be termites eating or communicating.
When eating, termites produce munching sounds that can be heard when there is a large enough group of them concentrated in one area. After all, they're biting through wood!
If it isn't munching that you hear, it may be chit-chat. Termites use clicking noises to communicate with one another.
What are they talking about? Often, their clicking is part of a warning system that is meant to keep them safe... from you!
It's also possible that the sounds you hear are another common warning signal. Some termites bang their heads to signal danger, and this banging can be audible at high volumes.
Danger or not, if you hear noises coming from the walls, it's always a good idea to get that checked out!
5. You See Termites
This may seem obvious, but if you see one or more insects that you can't identify inside or outside of your home, you could have a termite problem!
Not all termites look alike, however. Some termites may have wings, while others will not. In fact, termites permanently shed their wings after mating, so if you see discarded wings nearby, that's just as telling as finding the insects themselves!
Wingless termites resemble pale-colored ants. If you see termites, with or without wings, they may be getting ready to swarm. Swarming termites are mating termites, which is not ideal if you're hoping to be rid of them!
Some of the termites that you find might be dead, but this doesn't mean your problems are over. If possible, save one of the dead insects to show your exterminator when they come to inspect your home. This will make it much easier to confirm whether or not your unwanted visitors are termites or another insect.
How to Get Rid of Termites
If you have checked the signs and you think that there are termites in your home, it's important to act quickly.
While termites aren't all bad, the benefits they have on the ecosystem don't matter if they're busy destroying your home!
Termites can often cause the following issues if not removed efficiently: