Having a termite infestation is a terrifying prospect if you are a homeowner. Termites are small, wood-eating insects that look similar to ants, and they will literally eat your house from the inside out. They can be hard to detect, and you may not even be aware of their presence until they’ve caused major structural damage to your home. Depending on where you live, it’s recommended that you get a termite inspection every year or two, and the more humidity in your area, the more likely you are to have a problem.
The most common type of termite in the U.S. is the subterranean termite. These termites spread in a similar way to some ants. When a colony of termites is successful and stable, it starts producing a winged variety of termite called an alate. The alates will swarm out of the colony in spring, spread out, and try to start their own nests. If you see winged termites in or near your home, it likely means that a nearby colony has swarmed, and they are looking for a place to nest. That can be a good indication that it’s time to get a termite inspection to make sure they haven’t made their home in your home.
Termites eat wood from the inside out, so it’s unlikely that you’ll see the damage they’re causing with the naked eye. You’re more likely to find other evidence of termites like mud tubes, which are narrow brown tubes of dirt and wood that termites use to move over surfaces that they can’t burrow through. You might also see their droppings, which look like wood pellets or coffee grounds. However, these signs can be easy to miss, so if you are concerned that you have termites in your home, it’s best to call and schedule a termite inspection right away.