You’ve just seen termite holes on your wooden structure, does that mean a termite raiding party has invaded your home?
They always leave trails behind —like their holes and sawdust. But do you have any idea what do termite holes look like?
For all I know, you could be confusing it with ants’. And that is okay.
However, termite holes are round, not more than ⅛ an inch, or even smaller in most cases.
And you will rarely see them uncovered—unless it’s the source of the colony after or during the swarm takes place. It is always covered with brown, cement-like material.
I’ll shed more light on this and give you some DIY techniques to successfully kick off termites from your home, even though it’ll be best to call in a trustworthy exterminator.
What Do Termite Holes Look Like?
I had a close friend who worked in a professional pest control company. His response was alarming when I asked him what his advice was about termite holes and infestation.
He gulped, “if you notice termite holes in or around your property, take immediate action. These tiny soldiers are notoriously known for causing extensive damage that isn’t obvious to the naked eye until their mission is fully accomplished.”
And according to Orkin, ignoring termite holes can lead to costly repairs down the line, as homeowners across the country already spend a whopping $5 billion yearly on termite control and repair.
But how can you possibly address this issue when you are clueless about what termite holes look like?
For all I know, you might confuse it with ants’. And that is okay.
Here are a few indications it is a termite hole:
- The holes are usually round and about ⅛ inch or smaller.
- You see a paste-like material made out of frass that plugs the holes.
- Termites’ holes are barely left open. They are mostly covered.
- Kicked out of the woods by termites never have fewer holes. It appears in a pile.
How To Identify Termites Infestation [Signs To Look For]
Knowing what termites look like and the signs of their presence are essential to identify a termite infestation.
Termites are small, pale-colored insects with straight antennae, two pairs of wings of equal size, and a broad waist.
However, reproductive termites, also known as swarmers or alates, can be dark brown or black and have long, narrow wings.
And one of the most obvious signs of termite infestation is small termite holes and circular openings in wooden surfaces. These holes are the entry points for termites as they tunnel through the wood.
Another common sign is the presence of mud tubes, which termites build to travel from the soil to the wooden structures of your home.
You may also notice termite droppings resembling small, brown pellets and discarded wings near windows, doors, and other entry points.
In addition to these visible signs, there are other indicators of a termite infestation.
These include hollow-sounding wood, buckling or blistering paint, and damaged or weakened wooden structures. You may also detect a musty or moldy odor in the affected area.
Remember, early detection is crucial to prevent extensive damage and costly repairs.
Types Of Termites
There are over 2700 species of termites in the world. That is insane!
But you’re probably not aware that not all are considered pests. There are more than 40 distinct species in the US.
Some of the main types of termites that homeowners should keep their heads up for are subterranean, dry-wood, damp-wood, Formosan, conehead, and desert termites.
1. Subterranean Termites
These termites are the most common in the States.
They live in underground colonies and build mud tubes to travel from the soil to their food source, often the wooden structures of homes.
These termites can cause extensive damage to homes and other structures.
2. Dry-wood Termites
Dry-wood Termites are notoriously known for a home invasions.
This is because they thrive in hard, dry wood furniture, roof sheathing, joists, rafters, steps, porches, decks, trim, siding, subfloor, window, doors found in or around the home.
They do not require contact with soil. Wood is all they know.
3. Damp-wood Termites
These species aren’t as popular as the dry-wood or subterranean termites. They are low-key termites who love establishing their colonies in damp or decaying woods.
They are mostly found in the Pacific Northwest and other regions with high humidity.
So if you have leaks that cause excessive moisture in your house, you have just given the damp-wood termites an invitation card.
4. Formosan Termites
Formosan termites are invasive species that arrived in the States after World War II.
They are also called “super termites” because of their crazy ability to consume wood at an alarming rate.
Formosan termites build nests in the soil and can cause significant damage to homes and other structures.
5. Conehead Termites
Conehead termites hail from the Caribbean but arrived at the shore of the United State early 2000s.
This name describes what they look like —cone-shaped, dark brown heads. The conehead species secretes a formidable pine sap-like chemical that scares off predators like lizards, ants, and other termites from a different colony.
In addition, they build nests in the soil. And with their extremely aggressive nature, they can cause widespread damage to property in no time.
6. Desert Termites
Desert Termites behave like subterranean termites because they are subspecies.
They lie deep beneath the earth to form a colony, creating mud tubes that allow them to travel safely and forage.
Also, desert termites are expected in West, and South Texas, particularly in desert regions.
They, too, fest in and out of dry wood, so they can cause significant damage to your wooden structures.
11 Best Methods That Gets Rid Of Termites
It’s important to know that each type of termite has its unique behavior, preferred habitat, and infestation characteristics.
Therefore, knowing how to eliminate each type more effectively will be worthwhile.
1. Termiticide Barriers
Termiticide barriers are a type of chemical treatment applied around a home’s foundation to create a barrier that prevents subterranean termites from entering.
These barriers kill the termites as they try to pass through the treated soil.
There are two main types: non-repellent termiticides are not detected by termites and are often used as a preventive measure.
In contrast, the repellent termiticides are detected by termites and can cause the termites to avoid treated areas, but they do not necessarily kill the termites.
2. Termite Baits
Termite baits are another type of treatment for subterranean termites. These baits are placed in the ground around the home and are designed to attract termites.
Once the termites have consumed the bait, they bring it back to the colony and distribute it among themselves and the other termites, ultimately causing the colony to perish.
In-ground and above-ground baits are the two major categories of bait.
The above-ground baits are left above ground level even though they are occasionally used with the in-ground baits buried in the ground.
3. Direct Chemicals
Direct chemicals are applied directly to areas where termites are present, such as wall voids or crawl spaces.
Chemicals are highly effective at killing termites, but be careful! They can also be hazardous to humans and pets if not used properly. Some types are:
1. Liquid Termiticides:
These are applied to the soil around the foundation or directly onto wood to control termites.
2. Foam Termiticides:
These are used to treat wall voids and other hard-to-reach areas.
4. Spot Treatment
Spot treatment involves applying a termiticide directly to the infested wood, either by injection or by drilling small holes into the wood and applying the treatment.
This method can be adequate for small, localized infestations.
Injection: A professional pest control technician will inject a termiticide directly into the wood to kill the termites.
Drilling: A technician will drill small holes into the wood and then apply a termiticide to the holes.
5. Use Of Oil
The use of oil such as neem oil can drive termites to extinction.
Neem oil has special components that make it a pesticide product.
Just apply it to the infested wood, and you will see an entire colony running helter-skelter.
It works by interfering with the termites’ hormonal balance, preventing them from feeding and reproducing.
6. Remove The Source Of Moisture
The first step in getting rid of damp-wood termites is to remove the source of moisture.
This may involve fixing leaks or other sources of water damage and ensuring that the area is well-ventilated. Without moisture, damp-wood termites will not be able to survive.
7. Use Of Chemical Treatments
Chemical treatments can also be used to get rid of damp-wood termites. A pest control professional can apply a termiticide directly to the infested wood to kill the termites.
Sometimes, a fumigation treatment may be necessary to eliminate the entire colony.
8. Beneficial Nematodes
Beneficial nematodes are tiny, parasitic worms that can be used to eliminate subterranean termites.
When released into the soil around a termite colony, they invade the termites’ bodies, causing them to die.
Beneficial nematodes are a natural and environmentally friendly way to eliminate termites.
9. Boric Acid
Boric acid is a white powder that can kill dry-wood termites. It works by dehydrating the termites and damaging their digestive systems.
To use boric acid, you can dust it onto the infested wood or inject it directly into the termite galleries.
10. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth has been a pesticide that has NEVER failed since the 60s.
The diatomaceous Earth ruthlessly kills termites and other insects that cross its path by penetrating and dehydrating its exoskeleton.
It is produced from a fossilized aquatic organism that has a silica exoskeleton.
Sprinkle the powder directly on the infested regions, and you’ll see them crawling out.
11. Cardboard Trap
This trick works every time you try it. It is a simple yet effective strategy for killing dry-wood termites colony.
You want to bait them with pieces of wet cardboard, stacking them like dessert. Next is to tempt them, placing them near the infested area.
They will go nuts and begin feasting on it. Once you have enough termites, you can remove the trap and set it ablaze.
How To Prevent Termites [6 Simple, Yet Effective Strategies]
It’s always wiser to prevent termites from finding your home in the first place.
Here are some practical methods for making your home less attractive to termites:
1. Check For Leaks
One of the essential steps in preventing termites is to check for leaks and water damage in and around your home.
Termites are attracted to moist environments, so any standing water or dampness can be a potential breeding ground for them.
Be sure to fix any leaks or water damage as soon as they are detected to prevent termites from being attracted to the area.
2. Keep Gutters And Pipes Clean
Gutters and pipes can also be a source of moisture that attracts termites. Keep gutters and downspouts clean and debris-free to prevent water from collecting and attracting termites.
Ensure pipes are properly sealed, and no leaks could create a damp environment.
3. Store Wood Properly
You should store wood away from your home’s foundation to prevent termites from gaining easy access.
If you must store wood near your home, keep it at least 20 feet away and elevated off the ground.
This will make it more difficult for termites to access the wood and enter your home.
4. Use Treated Wood
When renovating or doing woodwork for your home, it is best to use treated wood —especially the ones treated to resist termite infestation.
Treated wood is guaranteed termites won’t get closer to them.
5. Regular Inspections
Regular inspections of your home and property can help detect signs of termite activity early on before they can cause extensive damage.
Look for signs of termite damage, such as mud tubes, termite wings, or hollow-sounding wood. If you suspect termite activity, contact a licensed pest control professional for an inspection.
6. Professional Termite Treatment
Regular professional termite treatments can help prevent termite infestations from occurring in the first place.
A pest control professional can apply preventative treatments around your home to create a barrier against termites.
And before rounding it up, let me address this question once and for all.
When you see termite-treatment workers drilling holes into a foundation, you might be tempted to ask why they drill holes.
The answer might surprise you! (In a good way).
Why Do They Drill Holes For Termite Treatment?
Contacting a pest controller is the most effective way to deal with this menace.
And part of their procedure is drilling holes around the perimeter before injecting the chemical. This ensures a complete chemical surge that terminates that entire colony.
However, this treatment has variations depending on the requirements and type of construction. But overall, that is why drilling holes are vital.
So that is everything you must know about ‘what termite holes look like.’
Termites have been a serious threat to homeowners, whether it is in your garden, back, or front yard. They are ALWAYS a considerable threat.
And whether you choose to handle the situation yourself or prefer to employ a professional, there are a lot of effective termite removal methods.
Nonetheless, preventing an infestation from starting in the first place continues to be the most incredible termite control method.
Storing wood properly and scheduling regular inspections can help protect your home from the costly damage caused by termites.
Remember that prevention is always preferable to treatment!