As a home or building owner, you need to know that termite damage to your structure can be quite devastating and make that structure dangerous and weakened. Termite damage can be small and subtle, but when you look around your property, it can be a little more obvious especially when you know what to look for. It is a good idea to periodically inspect your property yourself to see if you can find any termite damage. Even better, you may want to employ the use of a professional pest control company to do a termite inspection at least once a year.
To be a responsible property owner means that you need to pay special attention to what is happening with your building. So, look for termite damage yourself on a periodic basis and see if you can find any evidence that you may have a termite problem. The key is that you need to know what to look for first and where to look.
Termites eat wood, and they especially love damp wood that is close to the ground, so you need to start looking around the foundation of the structure. Look for swarms of small flying insects since termites tend to swarm at certain times of the year. Also look for a small white insect that slightly resembles an ant. These are worker termites, and they do the most damage to the wood as they are responsible for gathering the food source for the colony.
Unlike ants, termites do not roam around out in the open. They will either tunnel through wood (or other material) or else travel inside pencil-size (or larger) mud tubes that they build from soil, wood particles and other materials. You will find these tubes on foundation walls, floor joists or other parts of the house. Tubes may also hang from the floor system or may be found protruding from cracks between boards and beams and even through holes termites may chew through sheet rock on walls and ceilings.
If you find evidence of mud tubes, there may be termite damage that is occurring deep inside your home. You should break open the tubes to see if termites are still active. An empty tube doesn't necessarily mean that termites are gone; they may have simply abandoned this particular tunnel. Termites often rebuild damaged tubes, which is another indication of current activity. 'Old' tubes are dry and crumble easily, leaving behind "etching" on the surface that may be visible for years (an indication that a house had termite activity at some time). Without knowing the inspection history of the house, it is impossible to tell or guess at the age of tunnels or etching.
When looking for termite damage, you should also look for small holes and burrow tunnels that are odd in shape and extend along the wood. Termite damage is easy to recognize when you know what to look for. Be aware that termite damage can be devastating to your building and the problem needs to be taken care of as soon as possible.