can you live in a house with termites

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can you live in a house with termites

Termites make noise, notably a larger termite infestation, and careful listeners or curious pets should be able to hear sounds within the wooden structures around your home. These pests are becoming a national problem and are currently infesting 49 states in the nation and are costing citizens over $5 billion due to termite damage annually. They can be nesting in your home’s structure for years without you even knowing, and can cause thousands of dollars in property damage.

Protecting your home against termites is one of the best ways to save you money and keep your family or home safe. The best method to fight against termite is prevention. To help you out, here’s a thorough guide about termite noises, what kind of sounds a termite makes, the first signs of termites, and how you can spot termites in your home fast.

What is the First Sign of Termites?

Preventing termites from settling around your home is one of the best ways to fight against these pests, and you can increase your chances of fighting termites by knowing the first and common termites signs of infestation.

Below are the first signs of termites in your home and other common signs of termites.

Swarms (Flying Termites)

Usually, the first sign of any termite infestation in your home is ‘swarms or flying termites around your property. These termites are females and males that have left their respective nests to create new colonies, which can be near your home. They usually leave their nests once or twice a year, during spring or fall. Some termite species swarm at night while others like to take flight during daylight. However, most drywood termites like to swarm after rain at certain times of the year. 

Discarded Wings 

Termite swarms can take place inside our outside of your home as mature termites leave their respective nests to build new colonies. After these mature termites or ‘swarmers’ mate for their new colonies, they tend to shed their wings and crawl to find a suitable location for their territories. These destructive pests’ wings are transparent, and you can find small piles of their wings on different surfaces on your home’s foundation, such as window sills.

Head Banging Sound

One sign of having termite infestations in your home is the quiet clicking sounds you can hear coming from the walls. That’s because soldier termites tend to bang their heads against wood or shake their bodies when their colony is disturbed, creating a distinct sound and signaling danger to other termites. Another reason for the noise is caused by worker termites responsible for destroying most of your wooden materials. These pests are noisy eaters, and if you put your ear close to any wood within your home, you can hear the sound of these pests munching away.

Mud Tubes

Subterranean termites are the most common species in the United States, and these pests like to build pencil-sized mud tubes or shelter tubes that they use as bridges between their colony and their source of food. This species of termite likes to nest underground and forage up to their chosen food source, which can be your home’s wood structure. These tubes consist of tiny bits of soil, debris, or wood, and they use it to protect their colonies from predators and conserve the ideal temperature and humidity levels they need to survive. 

Frass or Termite Droppings 

Termite droppings or frass is usually a critical tell-tale sign of termites inside your home. This sign is mostly associated with drywood termites that nest inside wooden structures. When these pests create tunnels and consume the wood, they are infesting; they tend to leave behind small droppings in the form of mounds of pellets. 

Most frass they leave behind are tiny, around 1mm long, and can resemble fine sawdust or wood shavings. You can find these pellets on any wooden structures in your home, including areas prone to moisture such as attics and basements. 

Galleries (Tunnels in Wood)

When you see tunnels or galleries on wooden structures, these are typically signs of termites. Although they can be hard to see from the outside, you can easily see them in a piece of wood or branch near your home, and it indicates that these wood-destroying creatures have settled in your property. You can detect these galleries using electronic odor detectors, X-rays, infrared detectors, sound detectors, or by having an annual termite inspection.

If you are experiencing any of these termite signs, hear distinct sounds from your walls, or see any termite damage, it’s best to contact your local pest control company as soon as possible to prevent any more costly damages.

What Kind of Sound do Termites Make?

Careful listeners may hear termites munching on their home’s wooden structures, and termites emit different sounds. Here are the two common termites sounds you may hear:

  • Dry Rattling Sound

You’ll notice that some termites sound like they’re banging their heads against the walls of their tunnels or wooden structures around your property. This sound indicates that they feel threatened or disturbed, and they create these dry, rattling sounds that human ears can hear.

  • Papery Rustling Sound

This noise is common to drywood termites, and when they tunnel near the surface of any wooden structure, these particular termites sound like rustling paper. They emit this noise as they move through your home’s wood structures.

You may also hear an occasional clicking or rusting sound, and each sound indicates that termites are working their way through the wooden structures in your property. Lastly, homeowners could also hear swarms buzzing during termites’ annual spring mating season.

How Do You Tell if You Have Termites in Your Walls?

Drywood termites typically consume wood from the inside and work their way through the exterior, searching for cellulose, leaving behind long grooves. These grooves can weaken the wooden structures and create structural damage over time. You can find damaged wood below or behind surfaces such as floors, walls, and more. When you knock or top on areas that have termite damage, you’ll also notice that it can sound hollow or papery because these pests have consumed part of the wooden structure inside. Hollowed or damaged wood features a honeycomb-like interior and exhibits empty sounds.


It’s best to keep an eye out and listen for these tell-tale signs of termites to protect your home from these wood-destroying insects. Unfortunately, even if you don’t see any of these signs of termite infestation, that doesn’t mean you may not have a problem with these pests. Termite damage can go unnoticed for an extended period, and most homeowners notice the damage too late, forcing them to pay for costly repairs.

That’s why it’s best to stay proactive when it comes to termite control, and you can start by scheduling an appointment for a termite inspection from your local pest control.

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