Did you know that termites cause more damage to homes in the United States than hurricanes, floods and earthquakes combined? Whether they be subterranean or of the dry wood variety, a small colony of approximately 60,000 unwanted pesky termites can eat through one foot of wood in just six months. For that reason alone, it is imperative that as a homeowner, you be on the lookout for termites before they do some serious damage to your property. Below are five ways to tell if these wood munchers have made your house their latest refuge.

  1. Discarded Wings

Besides the obvious signs of ‘swarming’, check for clusters of discarded wings. With each termite having four wings, it will shed them as it begins to eating the wood of your house.  Hotspots include door frames, door jams, window sills and around light fixtures.

  1. Tubes and Tunnels

Termites will often create what are known as ‘shelter tubes.’ Thick and narrow, they are built from either mud and/or excretal pellets and serve as a passageway so the pests can travel from one piece of wood to another. You may see them over the surface of stone, brick or any other impenetrable foundation material.

  1. Droppings

As a colony of termites begins to eat away at your wood, they will leave droppings or frass, which will usually be in a sandy, light brown color. Similar to saw dust or wood shavings, check all door entry ways and the wooden beams in your basement.

  1. Hollow Wood

If you suspect your house is infested with termites, try tapping the wood with your finger of a piece of metal. A hollow sound or a papery rustle could suggest the presence of both termites and their tunnels eating your home from the inside out.

  1. Moisture Damage

Are you noticing that the wood in your house is increasingly warped? What about uneven, bubbling paint? While this could be chalked up to plain old water damage, it may also be the result of moisture created by termites as they eat away at your wood and build tunnels.