As a homeowner, protecting your home from pests is crucial to maintaining its value and keeping your family safe. Some of the most destructive pests are termites. These tiny insects cause significant structural damage before you realize they’re there. Understanding the signs of a termite infestation is the first step in protecting your home. Here, we’ll guide you through the telltale signs that termites may be invading your space.

Mud Tubes

One of the most common signs of termites is the presence of mud tubes. These are small, tunnel-like structures that termites build to protect themselves from the elements while traveling between their nest and food source. You’ll often find these tubes on your home’s foundation or walls. They are about the width of a pencil and are made from soil, wood particles, and termite saliva. If you break open a mud tube and see live termites, it clearly indicates that you have an active infestation.

Wood Damage

Termites consume wood from the inside out, making it challenging to spot damage until it’s severe. However, there are a few clues to look for. Tapping on wood that should be solid, such as door frames, baseboards, or windowsills, may reveal a hollow sound. Termites might be present if the wood feels soft or sounds hollow when tapped. You might notice blistering or darkening in wood structures, indicating termite activity underneath the surface.

Swarmers and Discarded Wings Are Signs of Termites

Termites reproduce by swarming, which typically happens in the spring. Swarmers are winged reproductive termites that leave their colony to establish new ones. You might notice swarms around light sources, windows, or doorways. After they swarm, they shed their wings, which you may find in piles or scattered around your home. Finding discarded wings, especially near entry points, strongly suggests that termites are nearby.


Frass is termite droppings, and it can be a clear indicator of an infestation. Drywood termites push frass out of small holes near the surface of the wood they inhabit. These droppings resemble small, granular pellets and accumulate in piles. If you find mysterious piles of what looks like sawdust or coffee grounds, it’s worth investigating further.

Buckling or Bubbling Paint

Termites damage wood behind walls, causing paint to bubble or buckle. This occurs because the moisture from termite activity gets trapped, leading to an uneven surface. If you notice areas of your walls where the paint is blistering or peeling, it might be more than just a cosmetic issue. Investigating these areas will help determine if termites are the cause.

Hard-to-Open Windows and Doors

As termites consume wood and cause structural damage, windows and doors might become difficult to open or close. This is because the frames warp as the wood is weakened. If you notice a sudden change in the way your windows or doors function, termites might be to blame.

Signs of Termites: Clicking Noises

Believe it or not, termites can be noisy. Soldier termites, in particular, will bang their heads against the wood or shake their bodies to signal danger to the colony. These clicking or rustling sounds can often be heard from within walls. If you hear mysterious noises, especially at night when your home is quiet, it could be termites communicating.

Understanding these signs and acting quickly will save your home from extensive and costly damage. Regular inspections and preventive measures are your best defense against these pests. If you suspect termites, don’t hesitate to seek professional help to protect your most significant investment: your home.

Signs of Termites FAQs

What should I do if I find signs of termites in my home?

If you suspect a termite infestation, contacting a professional pest control company is crucial. They will perform a thorough inspection and recommend an effective treatment plan to eradicate the termites and prevent future infestations.

Are termites harmful to humans?

Termites are not directly harmful to humans as they do not bite or transmit diseases. However, the structural damage they cause can be dangerous, leading to costly repairs and potentially unsafe living conditions.

How quickly can termites cause damage?

Termite damage can occur relatively quickly. A large colony can consume a foot of a 2×4 beam in just a few months. The sooner you detect and treat an infestation, the less damage your home will sustain.

Porch Light Home Inspections provides inspection services to customers in the central Oregon area. Contact us to request an appointment.