Though they’re not the most visible pests, termites can cause extensive damage to your home or business if left unchecked. Hiding within the structure of the building, these pests are capable of chewing through foundational materials and leaving widespread—and expensive—destruction behind.

Termites provide benefit to ecosystems because they break down waste into nutrients for soil, but unfortunately, they can also break down the man made places where you live and work. Stopping termites starts with knowing how to identify the problem. Let’s a take a quick look at the two most common types of termites and the signs that indicate their presence.

Subterranean Termites

These termites nest and live underground in loose, damp soil. Any interior damage they cause may not become apparent until infestations are out of control, and the damage itself sometimes appears similar to water damage. This can include buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings, areas that appear to have slight water damage and visible mazes within walls or furniture.

In addition, there will be dry or moist mud tubes built of soil originating from house foundation upwards on wood structures and presence of winged termites or accumulation of shed wings. An infestation may also carry a scent similar to mildew or mold.

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Drywood Termites

Often found within walls or furniture, these termites build their colonies within the wooden structures on which they feed. Drywood termite infestations often go unnoticed until a colony has burrowed so deeply into wooden materials that visible cracks appear, revealing the maze-like tunnels they’ve been busy creating underneath.

Signs of infestation include presence of winged termites, shed wings, pile of pellets (droppings) from termite galleries and visible plugs sealing gallery openings, no soil at all.

Tips For Prevention

You should regularly check the interior and exterior of your home or business for any of the signs listed above. It is also a good idea to work with a pest management professional to address conditions around the building, like excess moisture and wood-to-ground contact, which can be catalysts for termite infestation.

In addition, a professional can help you figure out what treatments, bait, monitoring systems and other solutions will be most effective based on the building’s construction and signs of termite activity in the nearby area.

For additional details on taking care of termite problems, check out Orkin Canada’s free guide here.