As temperatures rise this spring in the Northeast, your ability to detect the presence of a termite nest in your home also increases. Termite colonies wait until the warmth of spring to release the male and female alates from the nest. Alates are small winged termites in search of a new home to mate and start a new colony. If you find a swarm of alates in your house, you can assume that there is an active colony somewhere in your home. The termites will normally be in dark and moist areas like your basement and attic. If you own a new homeowner in the Northeast and you want to check your basement and attic for termites yourself, here is a quick guide on how you can do it.
You Will Need:
- Large Flathead Screwdriver
You might have to crawl into spaces you don't normally like to visit to look for termites. Termites like dark places where moisture gets into the house and where there's very little activity going on. You will be looking for a few signs like mud tunnels along the wall, hollow pieces of wood, and small wood shavings on the floor or on a ledge. The mud tunnels and wood shavings you'll be able to detect with your flashlight, but you need to tap the wood joists and frame pieces with the screwdriver to find out if the boards are hollow.
Termites will normally be in the basement or the attic of the house. The easiest way to determine which one to inspect first is to leave a single light on in both the basement and attic and wait until it gets dark. Check the lights to see if termites are swarming around them. If there are termites swarming in the basement, but not the attic, you can assume the termites are in the basement. If the opposite is true, the termites are in the attic.
Termites build mud tunnels to travel along the surface of concrete walls. If your house has a concrete foundation, you should first walk around the entire perimeter of the basement to look for mud tunnels on the foundation's walls.
You should also inspect where the wood frame of the house meets the top of the foundation walls and around windows. These are common areas where the moisture can leak into the seam between the wood and the concrete to create hospitable conditions for termites. You want to look for little shavings of wood on top of the foundation wall or on the basement floor. Take the screwdriver and tap the wood around the shavings to see if it sounds hollow. A hollow sound is a strong sign of a termite infestation.
You need to check around the areas where the rafters meet the floor joists. This is where the soffit vents are normally located and are spots that can collect moisture. You need to also check where the chimney meets the roof. You'll be looking for mud tunnels on the chimney and small wood shavings on the floor and joist boards. Again, tap the wood around an area where you suspect termite activity to see if any of the boards are hollow.
For more information, contact Hilo Termite & Pest Control or a similar company.