If you live in Columbia, SC or the surrounding areas, chances are you love living in a nice warm climate. Unfortunately, so do termites, and homeowners need to familiarize themselves with signs of termite infestations to prevent against the chances of serious damage to their property (that’s over five billion dollars with of destruction caused by termites annually). From hardwood floors to old tree stumps in your yard, we can help you identify potential sites of termite infestation and learn more about the types of termites that pose problems in the Columbia area. With this knowledge in your back pocket, you’ll be on your way to protecting your home – or ready to launch an attack on these pests if they’ve already made an appearance.

Columbia Termite Types

The most common type of termites found in Columbia, SC are Eastern subterranean termites.  On occasion, drywood termites have been known to occur, and just recently Formosan subterranean termites have been found in Columbia. Let’s explore the key differences between these three.

Subterranean

Found in the warm, moist soil of South Carolina and near damp or rotting wood (their favorites!), Eastern subterranean termites are the most common species in the Columbia area. These pests live in the soil and built extensive mud tubes to get to the wood they eat. A colony of subterranean termites have three different types, including workers, soldiers and reproductive termites (also known as swarmers). Swarmers tend to swarm (or reproduce) from February to April, pairing up and breaking off their wings once they find a new place to start a colony near a food source. If this new food source is in or around your home, you’re going to want to take some action to minimize damage.

Drywood

Like their name suggests, drywood termites favor dry conditions as opposed to the warm and moist soil where you find subterranean termites. But don’t let that fool you into thinking you don’t have to worry about them in Columbia’s climate. These termites are more likely to show up in your home, whether that’s in furniture, hardwood flooring, beams, and more. They swarm at night during spring and can range in color from yellowish-brown to pale or even dark brown. While they have smaller sized colonies than subterranean termites, they require special treatment to remove them so it’s critical you act as soon as you see the signs.

Formosan Subterranean

Just recently, the Formosan subterranean termite was found in the Columbia area. This highly destructive species is established in the low country region of the state, but is now moving further inland. Formosan termite colonies are much larger than the native Eastern subterranean termites colonies, which means they can do much more damage in a shorter amount of time. Even though their colonies are much larger, they are controlled with the same methods as our native species. These termites swarm from April to July in the evenings. They are yellowish-brown with wings that are wrapped in tiny hairs.

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Signs & Damage of Termites

It’s absolutely critical to be on the lookout for signs of termites to prevent them from establishing a colony and taking a bit out of your home.

Mud Tubes

Mud tubes are pencil-sized tunnels that subterranean and Formosan termites create to get between the mud they live in and their food source. They can be found on foundation walls, joists, ceilings, or even alongside where the ground meets your house or potential termite food sources like a wooden shed or tree.

Swarming and Shed Wings

When termites swarm, or reproduce, they fly around looking to establish a new colony and then shed their wings when they’ve found one. Seeing swarmers flying near your home of discovering wings near home access points, like doors or windows, may indicate a termite colony has taken up residence in or around your home.

Blistered or Hollow Wood and Sagging Floors

Drywood termites nest inside of wood. While tunneling If you have floors that are sagging and buckling or wooden features in your home that sound hollow when you knock, that could be because termites are chewing away oIf you have floors that are sagging and buckling or wooden features in your home that sound hollow when you knock, that could be because termites are chewing away on them. Outside of the sound and feel of these issues are visual cues, like a honeycomb appearance with hollow, layered sections and traces of mud. But wood isn’t the only thing termites eat – keep an eye on things like cardboard boxes as well since termites love to snack on anything with cellulose. 

Cracked Paint

This can be a telltale sign that something is going on beneath the surface. Cracked paint can indicate that wood is being distorted below.

Maze-Like Tunnels

Termites create tunnels as they eat wood, so if you see a chaotic set of intersecting tunnels in furniture or wood in your home, this should tip you off that termites may be near.

Fecal Droppings

As termites create tunnels and chomp away on wood, they also take care to remove their excrement from where they’re eating. Termite droppings can look like sawdust or coffee grounds, so if you see this you should take action.

How to Prevent Termites

In addition to looking for signs of termites, there are a few other best practices you can use to discourage termites from choosing your home to infest.

  • Discard any rotting wood or old tree stumps from your property.
  • Place piles of wood, like firewood or mulch, far from your home’s foundation.
  • Keep water pipes in your home maintained and regularly repair leaky faucets. 
  • Minimize wood to soil contact near your home.
  • Seal off all cracks from your home to the outside.
  • Put bushes and landscaping at least two feet from the edge of your home. 
  • Keep your drainage systems unblocked at all times and route them away from your home. 
  • Regularly look for signs of termites and arrange for a yearly inspection.

How to Get Rid of Termites in Columbia, SC.

If you’ve discovered signs of termites in your home there’s no need to panic, but you should act quickly. If you want to eradicate an infestation completely, the best way to do so is to call a Terminix expert who will be able to quickly identify the source of the problem and apply the right solution.

Learn more about how you can prevent and remove termites in Columbia, South Carolina