Due to high humidity in Singapore, termite infestations are highly active throughout the year in Singapore. The chance of termite infestation increases with triggers such as poor airflow, leaked pipes, cracks in the exterior of a building.
If you see a potential sign of termite infestation as highlighted below, take action immediately and get rid of them entirely before it grows to an uncontrollable size and causes substantial damage in your properties such as furniture, clothing and other wood-based materials.
Identifying Termite Infestation
This article sheds some light on the types of termite infestations and the signs of spotting them.
1. Wood damage
Though termites consume cellulose-based plant materials (like papers, even drywalls), their diet is mainly consuming wood (like furniture). Wood damage on your furniture or cellulose-based items at home is tell-tale signs that your home is being infested by termites.
There are differences in the appearance of damage caused by different termites. For drywood termites, they typically leave piles of wood powder or pellets where they burrow. They can also cause wood to take on a blistered appearance by tunneling too close to the surface. You can read more about drywood termites in our previous article.
Moisture-damaged wood is most susceptible to dampwood termite infestation. Wood infested by dampwood termites generally shows no external damage because openings in the wood are plugged with fecal material. You can find out more about dampwood termites from our previous article.
A quick exercise you can do is to check for the hollowness of your wood-based items/furniture at home. Woods are not hollow until it is eaten up from inside. Termite damaged wood sounds hollow when tapped.
2. Subterranean tunnels
Subterranean termites like dark and moist spaces, hence they are usually hiding in the soil or traveling through these tunnels. Wood that looks fine on the outside may be riddled with tunnels on the inside. To check if an area is infested, tap or probe it with a screwdriver. Severely damaged timber sounds hollow and is easy to pierce.
Since they like living and travelling through moist soil, untreated or moist wood that touches the soil is most likely to be affected.
3. Discarded Wings
Termite colonies’ reproductive members, or swarmers, may take flight in large groups to look for new places to start breeding. Usually, these swarmers will cast off their wings after finding the right place to dig through the wood.
Usually, you can spot cast-off termite wings around doors or window grills as these are entry points for lights and they are drawn to light.
4. Mud or shelter tubes
Termites may also build shelter tubes (also known as mud tubes) made out of the dirt of wood particles cemented together by their saliva and other fluids. The purpose of these tubes is to ensure the temperature and moisture content is right for them to thrive and breed.
These tubes are usually about the width of a pencil and are brown in color. These mud tubes are commonly found on walls, cracks, and attics, and may run along flat surfaces or hang down vertically.
To check for active termites in these tubes, simply scrape off a piece of the mud tube. If termites crawl out or repair the tunnel or build a new one, an active colony is present.
5. Brown Pellets of Excrement
Also known as frass, termite droppings are ridged and small. They are usually dark brown in color and appear to be wood colored pellets. Usually, these feces are near the openings of mud tubes, where they have eaten or nested.
Note that only certain species of termites will leave feces behind. If more fecal pellets appear over time, this is a sure sign of infestation.
6. Termite Tapping Noises
When termites travel through wood, they create tapping noises for various reasons. One, soldier termites knock their heads against the wall then they sense danger so as to warn others of imminent danger.
Two, worker termites may emit clicking sounds with their mouths as they work their way through the wood.
Hence, if you hear knocking, clicking or paper rustling sounds, your wood could potentially be infested with termites.
Here is how a termite sound like:
7. Uneven or Bubbling Paint
Uneven or bubbling paint could be sign of termites infestation. It could also be due to water built up, caused by plumbing or water damage.
When termites tunnel through wood, the paint could sometimes be separated from the wood. This causes uneven and bubbling paint as air bubbles form between paint and wood.
8. Hollow Sounding Wood
Because termites work through their way through wood, hollow wood will be resulted. Tapping on the wood will thus result in hollow sounds.
If you hear such sounds when tapping, it is time to call the pest control company. It means that the colony is not small and it cannot be easily handled by yourself.
Find reliable pest control companies in Singapore
SGHomeNeeds provides a list of reliable exterminators in Singapore. Pest control companies typically deals with the following infestations:
- insects: ants, bed bugs, termites, wasps, fleas, lizards, cockroaches
- rodents: mice, rats
If you are looking for pest control professionals to match your personalised requirements, you can contact SGHomeNeeds HomeMatch for a more quick and fuss-free experience.
Read more about how to select a good pest control professional in Singapore.
Find out more about commonly-asked questions when engaging a pest control professional.
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