Not growing much bigger than ants, termites can look different based on the type you’re dealing with – but most of these critters share a few of the same characteristics: six legs, straight antennae, and wide waists.

While termites have the potential to be beneficial for the environment as decomposers, they’re far from helpful to homeowners. On average, termites cost homeowners around five billion dollars per year in property damage. Catching termites early can minimize the damage they cause, so here’s what San Diego homeowners should understand about why it’s so difficult to spot termites, what the signs of termites actually look like, and what to do if you suspect you may have a termite issue.

Why Are Termites So Hard To Find?

Termites are sneaky pests, and they’re excellent at hiding in walls, floors, and other areas of your property where you’re unlikely to find them. For this reason, termite infestations can go unnoticed for months or even years – and by this point, they may have caused hundreds or even thousands of dollars in property damage.

To catch termites early, it’s important to understand the signs of a termite problem and get annual inspections of your home. A pest management professional knows even the earliest and most subtle signs of a termite infestation and can help you identify how much damage has been caused.

a termite damaged window frame

Signs That You’ve Got Termites

Even with using annual inspections, it’s still important to be on the lookout for signs of termites throughout the rest of the year. Here are some warning signs that you’ve got these critters living in your walls or floors: 

  • Tight-fitting windows and doors: While doors and windows may not fit their frames for other reasons, tight-fitting windows and doors can also be a sign of termites. Termites introduce extra moisture into your home, which can cause wood to warp and change shape. If all your windows and doors suddenly won’t close correctly or seem too tight, termites could be the culprit. 
  • Frass: Termite droppings, also called frass, get kicked out tunnels when termites are creating them. Frass tends to look like sawdust or coffee grounds, and you may find droppings piled in corners or around baseboards. 
  • Discarded wings and swarms: To keep growing their colony, reproductive members of a termite colony will need to take flight and look for a mate. These are called swarmers, and one of the most obvious signs of a termite problem is spotting a swarm around your property. However, it’s more likely for homeowners to find what’s left behind of the swarm: discarded and shed wings around doors and windows. 
  • Peeling paint or discolored walls: Since they introduce extra moisture into your home, termite damage can look similar to water damage. Peeling paint, discolored walls, or even drooping drywall could be from drywood termites living in your walls. 
  • Hollow wood: When termites burrow into your wood flooring and walls, they create hollow tunnels to live in. You may not be able to see these tunnels, but if the wood in your home suddenly sounds hollow when you tap or step on it, that’s another warning sign of termites. 
  • Mud tubes: You may not see it with drywood termites, but subterranean termites create mud tubes around your home. You’ll want to look for these tubes outside, along the foundation of your house.

How To Deal With Termites In San Diego, CA

After finding out they’ve got termites, some homeowners may want to try and solve the problem on their own – usually with ineffective DIY methods that won’t get rid of your termites, but will waste your time and money.

Termites can reproduce rapidly, and getting them out of your home before they cause more damage is crucial – and the best way to eliminate them is with professional help from HomeShield Pest Control. With years of experience serving San Diego and surrounding regions, our experts understand just how detrimental a termite infestation can be.

If you’re spotting some of the signs we’ve listed above or would even just like to schedule an annual inspection of your home, don’t wait to call. Contact us at HomeShield Pest Control today to learn more about our termite control services or schedule your inspection.