It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to termite damage. Hardwood floors, ceiling beams and building foundations can be at risk if you have a termite infestation. Because while one termite can’t devastate your home, a colony can. Here’s everything you should know about termite damage to hardwood floors and other parts of your home.
Termite Damage to Wood Floors and More
Since termites feed on wood, damage is usually most visible in places where wood is prominent. This may include termite damage to hardwood floors, wood-constructed walls, and doors. According to Richard Houseman, an entomologist at the University of Missouri Extension, “any kind of wood that’s in contact with the soil and up against your foundation is going to be a problem that risks a future termite infestation.” As termite colonies migrate, they can find their way into your home through cracks as small as 1/32 of an inch.
Common Areas of Termite Damage
Termite damage can occur on both the exterior and the interior of the home. For homes under construction, infestations are most often found on foundation beams and floor joists. That said, modern homes are typically at a lower risk of infestation. This is because they're constructed with combat in mind. Think fewer entry points and less exposed wood. Inside the home, termite damage can occur on door and window frames, baseboards, window sills, beams, wood paneling and built-in cabinets. Check these locations regularly for signs of infestation.
Signs of Drywood Termite Damage
Due to termites' extensive damage, there are many ways you can identify an infestation in your home. Outdoors, look for signs of infestation on wooden sidings, trims, sills, rafters, roof shingles, windows and door frames. The ends of shingles on roof eaves are one of the most common areas for infestation. Fecal pellets, another example, can indicate the presence of a new termite colony. These pellets will be 1/32 inches long, stubby on one end and pointed on the other. Color-wise, they will match the shade of wood that they have been feeding on. In the case of drywood termites, you may also find detached termite wings in these locations. Wings may appear light or dark in color depending on the species of termite present.
Signs of Subterranean Termite Damage
Indicators of subterranean termite infestations include pencil-thin mud tubes lining walls or window and door frames around your home. Termites use the mud tubes for protection as they forage outside of their nest. If termites are inside of the mud tubes, then there is an active infestation in your home. Mud tubes can appear on walls, baseboards, floors, pipes, chimneys, siding and behind plumbing fixtures. Hanging shelter tubes are similar in appearance to mud tubes but they hang from wooden beams. The “hanging” appearance (drop tubes) is a result of termites trying to build their way from the beam to the floor.
Termite Wood Floor Preferences
Termites are notorious for eating through hardwood floors, but do termites eat laminate flooring, too? The type of wood floor will better determine the likelihood of a termite infestation. Agricultural Research Service entomologists determined that allelochemicals, found in some woods, can act as a repellent to termites. Woods that exhibited natural resistance included redwood, Brazilian, Jatoba, Peruvian walnut, Honduran mahogany, Alaska yellow cedar and teak. Those that proved susceptible (and attractive) to termite infestations included southern yellow pine and spruce along with many others. Thus, termite damage is not dependent on whether you have hardwood or laminate flooring. Rather, it is contingent on the type of wood in your home.
If termites are eating your wood floors, schedule an appointment with Terminix®. Our trained technicians can help identify termites, remove infestations and protect your beloved floors.