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Are Those Pesky Bugs Really Termites? 5 Ways to Tell

Group of termites.

Identifying Termites: Five Signs to Look For

Attempting to inspect your home for pests is a good idea, but it’s important to know what you’re doing. Otherwise, you could end up making a mistake and identifying one type of pest as another. This is especially true when it comes to ultra-damaging pests like termites. Many people see termites and mistake them for winged ants, for example.

1. Mud Tunnels

If you see small mud tunnels that are about the size of a pencil, it’s time to call the professionals. Subterranean termites will make these tubes to connect their nests to the wood of your home. However, they might be placed in a location where you can’t see them, such as under the outside stucco on the wall, or beneath the patio.

2. Damage to the Wood

When termites eat a piece of wood, it will make a hollow sound when tapped upon. This is one way to check if you suspect they’re in a certain area. If you poke at the surface of the wood with a knife, you’ll likely find tunnels that run along the grain of the wood. You also might see a number of small holes in the wood.

3. Live Bugs

Both termites and ants can swarm, but it’s easy to tell the difference between the two. Winged termites, which are the reproductive leaders of the group, are about half an inch long. Their wings are uniform and twice as long as their bodies. The wings of an ant are larger in front than in back. Look for this little detail, and it should be simple to tell which type of pest you’re dealing with.

4. Swarms

Termites typically swarm during the spring and early summer, but they can swarm during other times of the year as well. If you see swarms of winged termites flying around, a big nest might be somewhere nearby. This doesn’t necessarily mean the nest is inside your home, but you don’t want to wait to find out.

5. Fallen Wings

When termites finish swarming and move on to the next phase, they will drop their wings. If you notice a lot of shed wings around the outside of your home, be sure to contact a professional as soon as possible.

If you live near Phoenix or Tucson and you’re worried that you might have a termite infestation in your home, contact us at Burns Pest Elimination. We have years of experience and success in handling termite problems of all types.