Termite Warning Signs

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Data unfolds that termites invade around 600,000 homes in the US every year and cause billions of dollars of structural damage. 

This indicates that a termite infestation isn’t a problem solely per se; instead, the money required to eliminate them heightens the expense. But, the question remains, “How can you identify termites in your home?” 

In all honesty, discovering termites in your home is tricky, essentially if it hasn’t been long since they are infested. 

Generally, eastern subterranean termites are most common in the US and are harder to detect because they live underground. 

However, a few tips can help you sport warning signs. Below, we’ve curated 6 warning signs you need to keep an eye on. 

Apart from staying cautious, we suggest annual inspections to detect early termite activity. This would help you take preventive measures on time and protect your property from further damage. 

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termite interior damage Milton DE
termite damage Milton DE

Stuck Doors And Windows

Windows and doors should be moveable and flexible. If a door in your home is too hard to open or close, it is an early sign of termite infestation. 

Termites generally target doorframes and windows because they are easily accessible. When these pets devour the wood frames, your doors and windows become distorted, making it challenging to open and close them. 

However, note that not all stuck doors and windows indicate termite infestation; natural wood often becomes harder in the winter season. So, you may experience difficulty opening and closing them in harsh cold weather. 

Additionally, termites also sag ceilings and flooring and crumble the baseboards. But again, seasonal changes, moisture, or humidity can also be the culprit of structural problems. Therefore, make sure you observe closely for damaged components to detect termites. 

Swarmers and Discarded Wings

One of the most prominent telltale signs of termite infestation is the swarmers inside your property. This indicates you have recently been exposed to a termite attack and that your home has an active termite infestation. 

As stated earlier, termites consist of soldiers, workers, king and queen, and swarmers in their caste system. The swarmers are responsible for reproducing. 

You can identify them pretty easily. They have two pairs of translucent wings and are pale or light brown in color. Their length ranges from ¼ to ½ inches. 

The swarmer sheds its wings as soon as it finds a mate and leaves the colony. 

In the US, you’d observe swarmers flying in the early spring. They appear to find mates and build new colonies. 

Because swarmers gravitate towards the light, you’ll find them closer to doors and windows. 

They do not exist long indoors – unless a swarmer gets in accidentally. If you spot discarded wings near entryways and windowsills, it signifies their presence. 

Note that homeowners often confuse swarmers with flying ants. Yes, they appear pretty similar, but flying ants have pinched waists and uneven wings, unlike swarmers with straight bodies and even wings. 

Paint, Panel, and Wallpaper Damage

When termites eat through wood and cardboard paneling, they create tunnels underneath. While you might assume it would be easy to spot this warning sign, termites often do this without destroying wallpaper and paint coats. 

As such, you won’t be able to recognize their infestation. Perhaps this explains why people often discover termite damage during renovations and repairs. 

Nonetheless, if you encounter a peculiar appearance on wallpaper and painted walls, you can rip or scratch them slightly to detect termite damage. The common unusual signs include:

  • Wallpaper discoloration and peeling 
  • Paint bubbling 
  • Tiny pinholes 
  • Wood buckling  
  • Narrow winding lines 

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Mud Tubes

Mud tubes are one of the most common indicators of termite infestation. They are narrow vein-like termite colonies that form on your home surfaces. 

They typically start from the base and run upward. Termites use this pattern to keep themselves from dryness. Subterranean termites have incredibly thin exoskeletons that dry pretty quickly. 

As such, they need moisture and humidity to thrive. Forming mud tubes enables them to move from their colonies to the food source. 

If you come across a mud tube in your home, you can scrape off a side gently and check for live termites. Later, come back and see if the scratched area was repaired. 

If it does, it signifies live termites. Nonetheless, if you do not spot live termites and the mud tube doesn’t repair, it doesn’t indicate you aren’t exposed to the damage. It simply means that the termites have moved to another area in your home to feed on. 


Termite droppings, also known as frass, are another termite infestation sign. When these pests feed on the wood, they digest it and leave it to avoid forming piles. 

However, note that only drywood termite frass is visible to humans. They are pellet-shaped and brown in color and often appear like dust.

Wood Structure Damage

Termites eat through your wood, damaging it beyond repair. If you spot holes in your wooden surfaces, it indicates termite activity. 

Aside from that, you can tap the wooden doors, windows, and furniture to check for infestation. A hollow sound is a warning sign that your home is exposed to termites and you need treatment as soon as possible.