It can be difficult to detect termites, especially the type of termites we have in Merrimac, Massachusetts. Eastern subterranean termites are sneaky and highly destructive pests. Today, we're going to examine the sneaky aspect of these wood-destroying insects. Here are five sure signs your Merrimac home has termites and how you can detect them.

termite on a rock
termite on white surface

1. You See Termite Workers

Subterranean termites live in the ground or inside the wood they are feasting on. You can stand in your yard and not realize you are standing on a million termites. So, how can you tell whether or not there are termite workers in your yard or—worse—inside your home? 

  • If you have logs, tree branches, or some other wood lying on the ground in your yard, you can look for termites underneath. You're looking for tiny, pale insects that are about ⅛ of an inch in length. When you discover them, you may only see them for a short moment as they will disappear into the soil or the wood they are feeding on.

  • If you have a stump in your yard, you may be able to detect worker termites. Take an ax to the wood and check inside. You can also do this with a dead or dying tree, firewood, and other wood you don't mind damaging.

  • If you have mulch around your home, you can use a shovel to check under the mulch for termite activity. While mulches can have products that make them resistant to termites, worker termites can be found underneath mulch because they are moist and shaded.

2. You See Mud Tubes

The most obvious sign subterranean termites will give you is the appearance of shelter tubes on your home. They create these tubes to protect themselves while above ground. Worker termites have thin skins and dry out easily. Shelter tubes allow termites to go from the ground to the wood of your home without being exposed to dry air or the sun. What you're looking for is muddy, wiggly lines crawling up your foundation walls. But they're not always easy to find. You might have to get into some uncomfortable places to find these tubes, places such as:

  • Underneath your deck or porch

  • In the crawl space under your home—if you have one

  • Between dense landscape vegetation and your home

  • Behind objects that sit on the ground against your exterior walls 

3. You See Swarmers

Every spring, subterranean termite nests in Merrimac send millions of termite swarmers into the air. These black insects with long white wings don't look anything like the pale-colored worker termites. For this reason, you might not recognize one swarmer if it lands on you. When you add that a swarmer is a mere ⅜ of an inch long, it is easy to see why this warning sign is often missed. But you might see swarmers if there are a bunch of them altogether. Their white wings make them unmistakable and hard to miss.

4. You See Swarmer Wings

Termites don't swarm for very long. A swarm doesn't last for more than thirty minutes. After that thirty minutes, the swarmers get busy tunneling into the ground to make their nests, but not before they shed their wings. If a swarm has come and gone and you miss it, you may be able to tell that you had one by inspecting your property for these white wings. One good place to check is spider webs. A spider's web is like a sticky trap. It can help you monitor termite activity.

5. You See Wood Damage

Most of the damage subterranean termites cause is not visible. Millions of termites can attack your Merrimac home without alerting you to the danger. Over time, floors will sink, walls will bulge, and you'll start to see other noticeable damage. But this is not a great time to learn that you have termites. If you do, you'll be looking at costly repairs. So, how do you go about finding termite damage when it is on the inside of wood? You really can't unless you chop into a piece of wood. But you might be able to see termite damage on the outside of wood if you dig around wood that goes down into the ground, such as the wood of a fence post or deck support. This can reveal trench-like damage that is indicative of subterranean termite activity.

Termite Control In Merrimac

When it comes to protecting your property from termite damage, the best solution is to hire a termite control professional. We just so happen to have a few of those on staff! Let our team help you find the right plan to help you mitigate the threat of termite damage. Reach out to us today for a consultation or evaluation. We're here to help.


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