If you're seeing signs that you have an insect destroying the wood in your home, you may want to take a closer look. The difference between termites and carpenter ants is a difference between billions and millions. It is estimated that termites cost U.S. property owners over $5 billion each and every year while carpenter ants come in under a billion. Here are some signs you may be seeing and how to tell if what you're seeing are signs of termites.
Warping Walls and Dipping Floors
You're not going to be able to tell which insect is causing the frame of your home, porch, or deck to warp. Both of these creatures do a great job of weakening a structure, and when your doors and windows start to stick, they will stick the same way no matter what is chewing on your home.
If you are finding sawdust, then it is likely that you are dealing with carpenter ants. Termites consume wood. Carpenter ants do not. They build galleries through it. So, sawdust will often lead you back to a carpenter ant nest.
The sad reality is the first sign you're likely going to get that something is eating your home is the presence of winged swarmers. Both of these insects are really good at staying hidden and both of them can produce winged reproductive swarmers. It is usually only when a nest in your home has matured that you'll begin to get winged reproductives on the inside of windows warning you of the threat in their efforts to look for a new place to call home. When you see them, it is important to know which insect it is. Termite swarmers have a small black body and their wings are large and white. You'll also notice that termite wings stack on top of each other, making the ends rounded. Carpenter ant wings can clearly be distinguished as left side wings and right side wings.
If you're finding tubes of mud on your cellar walls, then you have termites for sure. Subterranean termites build mud tubes to protect themselves from the drying effects of the sun and air. If you're seeing these tubes, break a piece off and see if it grows back in the next two days. This will let you know if you have an active infestation.
Whether you have termites or carpenter ants, it is always a good idea to have a pest control professional look at the situation. Both of these insects can eat into the equity of your home; and you have worked too hard for too long to allow wood destroying pests to eat you out of house and home.