What Does Termite Damage in South Carolina Homes Look Like?

This is an interesting question. If you can see an area of your home that has been damaged by pests, it is likely that the damage was not caused by termites; in particular, the subterranean termite, which is the most destructive termite in the United States. Let's talk a little bit about what kind of pests damage your home and in what ways you might see subterranean termite damage.

Damage to Hardwood Frames

Are you seeing a hole in your door frame, near the bottom? This is common. But it isn't a subterranean termite issue. It is more likely that you have mice or rats chewing on the wood of your home. While rodents would much rather chew through a piece of rotting wood, they aren't drawn to damp, decaying wood-like subterranean termites are.

Damage to Hardwood

Are you seeing tiny holes in the wood of a piece of furniture or holes in a hardwood floor? The culprits are likely wood-boring beetles or drywood termites. The exception to this is when subterranean termites chew through a soft knothole in a floorboard. If you have drywood termites, you should see tiny fecal pellet near the kickout holes. These pellets are one of the reasons drywood termites aren't as destructive as subterranean termites. Homeowners take notice when they start to see something that looks like sawdust being pushed out of their walls.

Damage to Untreated Wood

Are you seeing circular holes underneath your deck or some other structure in your yard that has untreated wood? Those are carpenter bee holes. Subterranean termites have an aversion to the light and will rarely breach their tunnel walls.

Damage in High Locations

Are you seeing holes in your eaves or soffits? That damage isn't likely to be subterranean termite damage. While termites can attack any area of a home, they prefer to attack locations that are close to the soil because they live in the soil. Those holes may be carpenter bee holes, woodpecker holes or holes created by roof rats.

Damage to Damp, Rotting Wood

This is a tricky one. As we've already pointed out, subterranean termites are drawn to attack this type of wood first. But they aren't the only pests that attack decaying wood. Carpenter ants are particularly fond of this type of wood. If you're seeing damage to rotted wood, carpenter ants are probably the culprit. While carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal, they don't have an aversion to light. One of the best ways to determine whether or not you're looking at carpenter ant damage or subterranean termite damage is to feel the tunnels or trenches. If they feel gritty to the touch, you might have a termite issue. Termites bring soil up into their tunnels. If they feel smooth to the touch, you definitely have a carpenter ant issue.

When Will You See Subterranean Termite Damage?

If you're remodeling your home, you could come across subterranean termites. These termites will sometimes expose themselves in the darkness of wall voids. But, even wall voids can be too well lit for a termite worker. You might have to split boards to find these termites.

Often, what is found during renovation projects is the presence of shelter tubes. Subterranean termites create mud tubes to go from the soil up into the wood of a home. They'll also build them in wall voids as they work their way up a structure. These shelter tubes can be as thin as a pencil or several feet think when they are intertwined.

There is a unique circumstance when you might find damage done by subterranean worker termites out in the open. If you have boxes, books, or clothing stacked on a floor, these insects may go from a wall or floor and enter into these items. As you start moving the boxes, books and stacks of clothing around, you might find some tiny pale insects crawling around in them and notice holes chewed through these items. It is rare but it does happen.

Most of the time, you're not going to see subterranean termites or the damage they do. That is why it is so important to have ongoing, always active termite protection for your South Carolina home. If you need assistance, reach out to the bug experts at the Original Bugman Pest Elimination, Inc.


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