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Mark Maxwell – Senior Advisor

Signs of Termite Infestation

Catching termite infestations early is the best way to eradicate them before they create structural damage in your home or business. According to Orkin, termites damage about 600,000 homes in the U.S. every year. One reason that number may be so high is that people are largely unaware of the signs that they have termites. This article will outline the most common indications that you need to call a termite exterminator.


If you notice your doors and windows are getting stuck or it’s become more difficult to open and close them, it may be a sign that they are being damaged by termites. Wooden frames are a favorite target for pests. As they eat their way through the wood, it can warp and make the windows and doors difficult to open and close. Termites can also damage baseboards, wood floors, and outdoor structures like fence posts and decks. If you notice sagging or crumbling wood, it’s likely time to call a termite exterminator.


Behind your walls is a wooden surface that acts as an all-you-can-eat buffet for termites. As they crawl around and eat the wood, they make tunnels (termite galleries) and exit holes. If you notice tiny holes, bubbling paint, peeling wallpaper, sunken areas, or winding lines in your walls, it may indicate a termite infestation. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to identify this damage without removing paint or wallpaper, which is why termites are frequently discovered during renovations.


There are several species of termites and even different types of them within each species. Their colonies are separated into workers, soldiers, and swarmers, all of which serve the queen. The swarmers are the members responsible for reproducing, and they have two large, pale wings. You may see swarmers flying around in the early spring when termite mating season is at its height. They are attracted to light, so you may see them around doors, windows, or lamps at night. They often do not live long indoors, so you may find dead termites strewn about your home if you have an infestation. If you spot wings or dead swarmers in your home, call a termite exterminator immediately. It may be early enough to prevent significant damage.


The tunnels that termites create (mud tubes) are narrow, vein-like lines that run along the exterior of your home. They will start in areas of soil and mud and wind their way to wooden parts of the home. Subterranean termites use mud tubes to prevent their exoskeletons from drying out. The humid environment in the mud tubes allows the termites to travel to food sources inside wooden structures. If you discover mud tubes, break a piece off and look for live termites. If you don’t find any, leave the site and return a little while later to see if the colony has repaired it. If it isn’t repaired, it’s still a good idea to call a termite exterminator because they may have settled somewhere inside your home.


A termite’s droppings are known as “frass.” Some species of termites leave the droppings inside of the wood, so you may not be able to easily identify them. Drywood termites will push the frass out of the exit holes. If you spot sawdust-like piles near tiny holes, it’s a clear indication that you have a termite infestation.

If you take preventative measures against termites, you may be able to avoid a termite infestation. If you’re constructing a new home, make sure there is ventilation between the soil around your property and any wooden structures. After construction, maintain proper grading and drainage of the soil on your property to keep it dry. This will make the environment much less attractive to termites. Also, fix any leaks and cracks in your foundation immediately, keep the house clear of contact with plants and trees, and avoid piling firewood next to your home. If termites are prominent pests in your area, contact a pest control company to inspect your home on a regular basis.

If you’re looking for affordable pest control and termite exterminators in Santa Maria, CA and surrounding areas, turn to the experts at Key Termite and Pest Control. Founded in 1945, we’re an extremely reliable pest control service in San Luis Obispo County. Browse our website or contact us today for more information about termite extermination services or to get started with pest control in your home.