Termites invade approximately 600,000 homes in the U.S. every year, and homeowners fork over an average of $3,300 to repair the damage.

It pays to have an experienced professional routinely inspect your property. Between inspections, there are warning signs you can spot on your own.

Termite Shelter Tubes

Shelter tubes are protective, ropy-looking structures that are made of soil. They're about the width of a pencil. They may rise from the ground along exterior walls or hang from the ceiling indoors. Their presence is a dead giveaway to termite activity.

If you see a shelter tube, carefully remove a portion of the middle. Leave the two ends undisturbed. You probably have active termites if the tube is repaired in a few days.

Swarms

Depending on where you live, you may see swarms in spring. Swarming termites are sexually mature adults that are leaving the colony to start nests of their own. They tend to congregate on windowsills or around doors.

It can be tough to distinguish between termites and certain winged ants that behave the same way, but termites’ front and back wings are the same length. Also, termites’ bodies are close to uniformly wide. Ants have pinched waists.

Termites typically swarm and disperse quickly, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. A subterranean colony with tens of thousands of termites is somewhere nearby.

Drywall Damage

Infested drywall may be sagging, discolored or dotted with pinpoint holes.

Flooring Damage

Look for buckling in hardwood or laminate floors. Floors or walls might also appear to have a maze pattern forming beneath the surface. Test the floorboards for new squeaks.

Check for loose tiles in the bathroom or kitchen. Termites like to keep things damp, and moisture could eventually push up tiling.

Wood Damage

Crumbling wood spells trouble. The same goes for flaking or peeling paint or wallpaper.

Knock on wood, literally, to find out if it's hollow where it shouldn't be.

Book Damage

Termites are after cellulose, an organic, plant-based substance. It is abundant in wood, cardboard and paper.

Inspect your shelves for damaged books. Termite activity will be obvious. Termites are also attracted to boxes full of letters, newspapers or magazines that people save in their attics or basements.

Termite Debris

After swarming, shed wings pile up. They’re sheer and look something like fish scales. Flying ants don’t shed their wings, so take this evidence seriously.

Excrement is harder to spot, but it looks like spilled salt or finely ground pepper.

Termites are highly destructive. If you see red flags, call Accel Pest and Termite Control for a free, thorough inspection of your property. Our technicians are state-certified applicators with extensive training and years of experience. We are proud to serve many Virginia areas, so be sure to check and see if we can help!