The most effective way to identify a termite infestation is to have a professional inspect your home on a regular basis, typically annually. A termite inspector is trained to locate evidence of termite infestations, even when the signs are not very noticeable.
Swarming often is one of the most visible signs of termite infestation; but termites do not swarm until the colony has reached a certain size – and this growth process can take longer than five years. During this time, a termite colony can grow and cause damage in your home, unnoticed.
Other common signs of a termite infestation include discarded termite wings, mud tubes, termite droppings (frass), bubbling or peeling paint, and wood damage.
Methods to Detect Termite Infestation
Termite inspectors are trained to inspect homes for signs of a termite infestation and conditions that may allow termites to thrive, such as excess moisture and wood-to-ground contact.
The most important tool for a termite inspector is a keen sense of observation. Since termite damage can be difficult to detect, a thorough search of possible entry points and areas showing signs of activity is crucial to determining if a home has an active infestation.
If your termite expert sees signs of activity, he or she likely will use a screwdriver or specialized tool to test the soundness of wooden timbers and detect wood damage. When termite damage is present in a wall, you will hear a hollow sound when tapping on the wall.
Experienced termite inspectors may use moisture meters, which can indicate pieces of wood with high moisture content. Since most species of termites thrive in a moist environment, moist wood can be an indicator of a current infestation – or a warning sign that your home is at risk for a future termite infestation.
Technological advancements have led to the use of infrared cameras, which can detect termite activity within walls or underground. These cameras also can detect areas with high moisture that put your home at risk for termite infestations.