Telltale Signs of Termites

It is quite difficult to identify termite infestation in your home or business because termites like damp, dark, and warm areas of a home that are out of sight. Unfortunately, you might not be able to ever see the actual termites since they live underground and in the walls of your home.

The US Environmental Protection Agency states that termites rarely emerge from soil, mud tubes, or food sources through which they are tunneling. Most people are not aware they have termites until they see a swarm or come across damage during construction. 

“By looking at a single termite, it certainly doesn’t look dangerous or menacing, but a whole colony of them can inflict serious structural damage on a home in a fairly short period of time. Termites are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. Each year, termites cause about $5 billion in property damage,” reports


Here are three main termite species: 

  1. Subterranean termites – most common

Their nest is usually found below ground. When the colony is old and well established, they can live above ground with sufficient moisture conditions to support the above-ground nest. The colonies are made up of Swarmers (alates), workers, soldiers who only eat the softwood with the grain. They are found in all states with the exception of Alaska.

  1. Drywood termites

Drywood termite colonies do not need contact with soil moisture nor any other water source. They occur in drywood that may be above ground level and build colonies in structural wood, fence and utility posts, furniture, moldings, door and window frames, etc. They can seriously damage furniture. They also have Swarmers (alates), workers and soldiers. Drywood termites are located in southern states, from North Carolina through the Gulf Coast and into the coastal areas of California.

  1. Dampwood termites

“Dampwood termites infest wood with a high moisture content. Dampwood termites are normally larger in size than other termite species. They do not usually infest structures because of the low moisture content of wood in structures, however, care must be taken to avoid attracting dampwood termites to a structure. Dampwood termites are found in Pacific coastal and adjacent states, the desert or semi-arid southwest, and southern Florida,” informs

Telltale Signs

Since you likely won’t see termites, look for these signs:

  • Termite droppings, which look like small, ridged, wood-colored pellets.
  • Mud tubes on exterior surface.
  • Wings are roughly equal in length.
  • Antennae are straight and may droop.

Best Solution

Since some of these signs are difficult to detect, it is recommended to have a regular inspection by a pest-control professional.


EPA Safe Pest Control suggests that during construction, use a concrete foundation and leave a ventilation space between the soil and wood. Cover exposed wood surfaces with a sealant or metal barrier.

Maintain the Termite Prevention Features

  • Do not pile or store firewood or wood debris next to the house.
  • Inspect periodically to help ensure that termite colonies do not become established.
  • Reduce openings that offer termites access to the structure (filling cracks in cement foundations as well as around where utilities pass through the wall with cement, grout, or caulk).
  • Fix leaks immediately.
  • Keep vents free from blockage, including plants.
  • Ensure that trees and shrubs are not planted too close to the structure and do not allow them to grow against exposed wood surfaces.
  • Keep the soil around the foundation dry through proper grading and drainage (including maintenance of gutters and downspouts).

If you see any evidence of termites in your home or business, contact a pest control company immediately to take care of the issue.

Houseman Services is the only complete service company in the Athens, GA area. We provide Weed control, fertilization, shrub care, mulch & pine straw, sod, annual plantings, irrigation, and commercial & residential lawn maintenance. We are also state certified and licensed in wood destroying organisms (termite control), household pest control, public heath, and turf & ornamental weed control. We are licensed to control and treat mosquitoes, termites, all pest problems and turf & ornamental weed control. Contact the professionals at Houseman Services and set up a free inspection of your yard. We have been servicing homes and businesses in the Athens, Clarke County area since 1985!