How Do I Know if I Have Termites? 5 Signs To Look Out For

5 signs of termites

Suspecting termites in your home?

Termite season in New York peaks in the spring, so it’s important to recognize common warning signs of termites.

In this article, we’ll discuss the most common signs of termites you should look out for in order to protect your home from these wood-destroying pests.

How Do I Know if I Have Termites?

Every year, termites damage about 600,000 homes in the United States and cost homeowners and landlords approximately $5 billion in structural damage and termite control.

This means that if you’re unlucky enough to be the victim of a termite infestation, on average you’ll spend $8,333 to exterminate them and repair the damage they cause.

Subterranean termites are the most common termites in the Northeast. They’re also the most difficult to detect because they live underground. 

So how do you know if you have termites on your property?

Keep an eye out for the signs we’ve listed below, in addition to having annual termite inspections, in order keep your home and property safe from termites.

A soldier termite is the type of termite responsible for consuming wood.

Here are 5 telltale signs of a potential termite infestation to look out for:

  • Stuck windows or doors
  • Mud tubes
  • Termite swarmers
  • Discarded wings
  • Termite droppings

5 Signs of a Termite Infestation

1. Stuck Windows or Doors

Do you have a window or door that recently got stuck, or suddenly became much harder to open or close? This can often be an early warning sign of an termite infestation.

Termites tend to target these locations first, where wood is exposed and easy to access. As termites begin to eat through windows, door frames, and foundations, it causes your windows and door frames to warp and makes it difficult to open or close them properly.

2. Mud Tubes

Next, check your property for mud tubes. Mud tubes look like narrow veins along the side of your home. These tubes start from the ground and tend to run towards areas with exposed wood.

Termites use mud tubes to protect themselves from dryness in the air. Subterranean termites, which are the most common type of termites in New York City, have thin exoskeletons and will dry out very quickly. Therefore, they need a humid environment to survive. Mud tubes allow them to safely travel from their colony to their food source.

If you find mud tubes, you can confirm if you have an active termite infestation by breaking off a piece of the mud tube and check for live termites. Even if you don’t find any at first, come back later to check if the tube has been repaired.

If you don’t find any signs of live termites, and the mud tube is not repaired, it still doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear. The termites may have moved to another part of your home or property with better access to their food source.

3. Termite Swarmers

Termites have a caste system that consists of workers, soldiers, and swarmers. Swarmers, also known as alates, are the reproductive members of a termite colony, and they’re easily distinguishable by having two pairs of large wings. People often mistake swarmers for flying ants.

In New York, you’re most likely to find swarmers flying about in the early spring. Because termite swarmers are attracted to light, they tend to swarm about doors and windows.

4. Discarded Wings

Another sign to look out for is discarded insect wings. These wings are often left behind by termite swarmers. After a swarmer leaves the colony and finds a mate, it will shed its wings to start building a new colony.

Termite swarmer wings are pale-colored and approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inches long. Finding discarded wings, especially near windowsills and other entryways, can be a potential sign of a termite infestation.

5. Termite Droppings

Termite droppings, also known as “frass,” is another sign of termite activity. As termites eat through the wood, they digest it and push it out of the colony to avoid buildup.

Only frass from drywood termites, which are found primarily in southern coastal states, is visible to humans. Drywood termite frass is wood-colored and pellet-shaped, often appearing like wood dust or shavings.

In comparison, subterranean termites use their droppings to build their mud tunnels. If you live in New York City or the northeast, you most likely won’t encounter any drywood termite frass.

Other Signs of Termites

  • Maze-like patterns on wooden surfaces
  • Crumbling or damaged wood
  • Tiny holes or discolored drywall
  • Peeling paint
  • Buckling or squeaky floorboards
  • Loose kitchen or bathroom tiles
A pest professional examines a door frame for termite damage.

MMPC: Eco-Friendly Termite Control in NYC

Termite treatments should be carefully administered by licensed professionals in order to achieve effective results. MMPC has over 25 years of experience as one of the best termite control experts in New York and New Jersey.

Warning signs of termites shouldn’t be taken lightly, because these pests are capable of causing serious and costly damage to your home. Termite colonies take between 3 to 5 years to mature, which means that termite damage can accumulate over a long period of time. We highly recommend scheduling annual inspections to detect and treat infestations early.

At MMPC, we believe that no two cases are the same, and we always strive to provide every client with the customized and guaranteed termite solutions. If you’ve discovered signs of termites in your home or property, contact MMPC today for a free quote.

Free Pest ID Service

If you’ve found something that looks like it might be a termite or a termite swarmer, send a picture to our Free Pest ID Center and our termite experts will be happy to help identify it for you.