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Signs that you probably have termites

Termites or White Ants are a national problem as they are found in every province of South Africa. Termites that have been nesting in your home for years can cause thousands of rands in damage. This type of damage is not usually covered by your household insurance. Protecting your home BEFORE signs of termites appear is therefore the best way to save money and keep your family safe when it comes to these destructive insects.


Prevent termite damage by actively searching for termite signs in your home on a regular basis and maintaining a termite protection plan by a reputable Pest Control company that includes an annual termite inspection. This helps remove the worry of having to repair new termite damage in your home.


Termites can be in foundations and window and door frames in your home without being visible. They feed on any piece of wood found around your home from furniture to skirting boards. If you know termites are in the neighborhood or even if you see them in your garden, it’s a good idea to do a check around your house or business to catch them as early as possible.

Take a look at the top signs of termite activity below:


1. You can hear them!
You may need a stethoscope to hear them properly but termites do make sounds. A sign of termites is quiet clicking sounds coming from the walls. Soldier termites banging their heads against the wood or shaking their bodies when the colony is disturbed to signal danger to the other termites. The worker termites, which are the ones eating your shelves are noisy eaters. If you put your ear close to any wood infested by termites you can hear them munching away.


2. Evidence of Swarming
Usually the first sign of a termite infestation is the presence of flying termites — called swarmers or alates. The flying termites, which are commonly referred to as flying ants in South Africa, are the males and females that have left the nest to find a mate and then establish a new colony which could be near or in your home. Discarded termite wings can be found near closed windows and doors and near exterior lights as most of our species swarm at night and are attracted to light sources. After landing and finding a mate they intentionally twist their wings off because they will never need them again. Termite wings are all the same size while ants have one pair of larger wings (front) and one pair of smaller wings (rear). Some species. Male and female termites pair up then crawl to a suitable nesting site where they seal themselves in to mate and start the new colony. The king and queen start off by caring for their young until there are enough workers to take over. The king continues to tend for the queen and the pair can live together in the growing colony for over ten years.


3. Blisters in Wood flooring
These areas or blisters can indicate termites feeding within or below. Subterranean termites can cause damage to the subfloor, which can make your wood flooring appear as if it has water damage.


4. Hollow and damaged wood
Wood damage can be found below and behind surfaces like walls and floors and furniture. This is commonly caused by termites chewing through wood in search of cellulose, leaving behind long grooves, which over time weaken the wood and create structural damage. Hollowed wood usually has a honeycomb interior and an empty sound. Termites usually consume wood from the inside out, leaving a thin veneer of timber or just the paint left over. When you tap on an area that has termite damage it will sound hollow or papery. This is because part or all of the timber inside has been eaten away.


5. Tight fitting doors and windows
Stiff windows and warped doors can mean termites but may often be related to signs of damp and hot weather. The moisture that termites produce when eating and tunnelling through door and window frames causes the wood to warp, making it tough to open doors and windows.


6. Mud Tubes on Wood or trees
Pencil-sized mud tubes can be found wherever the ground meets your house or other possible food sources like trees or piles of wood. This is because subterranean termites nest underground and forage up to their food source. Termites require certain temperature and humidity levels to survive and their tunnels help block out cool, dry air, effectively turning your home into an environment where they can thrive. The tunnels in your home are very difficult to see from the outside, but if you see them in a piece of broken wood near or in your house it is a sign that termites have set up camp in your home.


7. Termite droppings (Also called frass)
A key sign of termites termite droppings. This indicator of an infestation is something that is always looked for during a termite inspection. Termites in your home push it out of small holes near the entrances to their nest. This results in small black marks and a dark powdery substance around the area they are infesting. Termites nest inside of wood. While tunnelling and eating the wood they’re infesting, they prefer to keep their tunnels clean. To do this they create kick-out holes where they remove their excrement. And since termites eat wood, their excrement is wood, which essentially creates mounds of pellets.

Unfortunately, even if you do not see signs of termites, that does not mean they are not present. Termite damage can go unnoticed for ages, and by the time damage is noticed, significant structural damage may already be done. That’s why it’s best to be proactive when it comes to termite control by contacting Xpest to schedule a termite inspection.


Xpest technicians are experts in looking for the signs of termites around your home and can detect them when there are no visible signs. As already mentioned, most insurance policies do not cover termite damage so it is a good idea to have a regular professional inspection to detect termite infestation as early as possible and minimise the risk of costly damage to your property. If termite activity is found, our technicians have the knowledge and qualifications to provide suitable treatments for your property.

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XPest Pest Control Services has teams in Johannesburg and Pretoria and we offer a complete pest control service to: Centurion, Midrand, Pretoria-North, Sandton, Fourways, Kempton-Park, Benoni, Alberton, Randburg, Bryanston and Bedfordview. We specialize in the control of Termites, Cockroaches, Ants, Rats, Fishmoth and Dust Mites.