garden in front of home

We're going to be straight with you; it's not easy to tell whether or not subterranean termites are damaging your Kittitas County property. These insects are increadly stealthy. They can feed on your property, by the millions, without revealing themselves. You need to know what signs to look for, where to look, and be willing to do the hard work necessary to find them.

termite eating wood
termite damage

Uncovering Worker Termites

Worker termites are ⅛ of an inch long, pale in coloration, and prefer to be in dark, damp locations. You can stand in your yard and have millions of these insects just below your feet. But, apart from digging a hole in the ground, how can you detect them? Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you pick up dead branches in your yard, you may be able to detect worker termites as you do this. Dead branches are food for termites. They'll come up from the soil and eat a tunnel up into the branches. When you lift dead branches, examine the area that was touching the ground. This is likely to be moist and dirty. If you see tiny, pale-colored insects disappearing into the wood, it is likely that they are worker termites.

  • When you rake leaf piles, you may see worker termites. They might be on the ground. But they won't be there for long. Quickly examine the moist soil underneath leaf piles to detect termites before they go back into the ground.

    Termites eat wood pallets, stacked cardboard, paper products in garbage, stacked firewood, etc. You might be able to see worker termites under, or inside, piles of garbage or wood.

  • Termites attack wooden structures and eat tunnels inside. If there are termites in a fence, shed, deck, wood stairs, or some other wooden structure in your yard, you may be able to detect them by digging around near the bases of these structures if there is wood-to-soil contact.

  • Termites can sometimes be found underneath mulch, particularly in areas where too much mulch has been applied. Raking mulch and looking at the soil underneath can reveal termite workers, soldiers, or alates. The alates are winged termites.  

Finding Shelter Tubes

Subterranean termites do not like to be exposed to dry air or the drying effects of the sun. If these termites can't find a direct path into structures on your property, they'll create shelter tubes that go from the soil to the wood. You may see these on the sides of your foundation. But, more often than not, they'll be located in crawl spaces, underneath decks, and in dark voids under exterior structures. If your home is on concrete piers, workers may create shelter tubes inside these piers, which makes them even more difficult to find. Use a flashlight and a mirror to detect shelter tubes in hidden places.

Swarmers And Shed Wings

When you find winged termites in your home, you will know for sure that you have a termite infestation. Unfortunately, termites rarely emerge inside structures. Alates are attracted to sunlight. They're drawn to emerge outside. When they do, they'll appear in a swarm for a short time (less than 30 minutes) and then select a mate. Once they've mated, they'll shed their wings and quickly go into hiding. The only sign you may get is the appearance of shed wings on your property. These could be on the ground or on the surfaces of external structures, but you'll probably have to go looking for them in dark voids underneath structures where alates are likely to mate. You can also inspect spider webs on your property to find shed wings that would have otherwise been blown away by the wind.   

What Termite Damage Looks Like

Most of the damage termites do is on the inside of wood, but you can expose termite tunnels by cutting into wood. If you have a stump, log, or dying tree on your property, you could find termite activity by cutting the wood. You may also detect termite damage near the soil where there is wood-to-soil contact. It may look like trenches carved into the wood. Keep in mind that carpenter ants can create trenches like this as well, but these trenches will be smooth to the touch. Termite tunnels are gritty because they bring soil into their tunnels.

The Best Way To Detect Termites In Kittitas County

When it comes to protecting your property against the threat of subterranean termites, it is best to hire a licensed termite control professional. If you're in Kittitas County, you're in our service area. Reach out to Prosite Pest Control for professional inspections, termite treatments, or to have a termite control barrier installed around the structures on your property. Don't let termites take a big bite out of your equity. Protect your investment with effective, proactive termite control


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