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How to Check for Termites Yourself

Dr Ahsanur Rahman, PHD

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How to Check for Termites Yourself
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To check for termites yourself, you can use a screwdriver or similar tool to inspect for termite damage in the wood. Look for tunnels, hollow-sounding timber, discarded wings, and mud tubes.

You can also mix vinegar with lemon juice and spray it around areas suspected of termite activity. Remember to regularly inspect your property for signs of termites, such as discolored drywall, peeling paint resembling water damage, and wooden floors that sound hollow when tapped.

Additionally, keep an eye out for small holes in drywall, buckling floorboards, and excessively squeaky floors. It’s essential to detect and address termite infestations early to prevent further damage to your home.

Tools And Methods For Termite Inspection

Inspecting your home for termites yourself is possible with a few tools and methods. Use a screwdriver or similar tool to check for termite damage in the wood or look for mud tubes, discarded wings, and damaged wood as signs of infestation.

You can also mix vinegar and lemon juice as a termite killer and spray it around the affected areas.

Using An Inspection Probe

If you want to thoroughly inspect for termites yourself, using an inspection probe can be an effective tool. An inspection probe is a specialized tool designed to detect termite activity and damage in wood and other materials. It consists of a long, thin metal rod with a tapered end that can easily penetrate surfaces for closer examination. Here’s how you can use an inspection probe for termite inspection:
  1. Start by examining areas where termites are commonly found, such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, and wooden structures.
  2. Hold the inspection probe firmly and gently tap it against the wood surface in question. You’re looking for any soft or hollow sounds, which could indicate termite damage.
  3. Probe into the wood using a twisting motion. This will help you determine the extent of termite activity by feeling for any resistance or tunnels within the wood.
  4. Continue to check various areas and surfaces, paying close attention to areas where you suspect termites might be present, such as near moisture sources or in areas with visible termite mud tubes.
Remember, using an inspection probe requires a careful and thorough approach to accurately detect termite activity. If you’re unsure about performing a termite inspection yourself or want a more comprehensive evaluation, it’s always recommended to consult a professional pest control expert.

Using A Screwdriver Or Similar Tool

If you don’t have access to an inspection probe, don’t worry! You can also use a simple screwdriver or a similar tool to check for termite damage in wood. Here’s how you can do it:
  1. Choose a sturdy screwdriver or a tool with a pointed end that is capable of penetrating the wood surface.
  2. Visually inspect the wood for any visible signs of termite damage, such as mud tubes, blistered or cracked paint, or weakened areas.
  3. Insert the screwdriver or tool into the wood, applying gentle pressure and twisting slightly. If the wood gives way easily or feels soft, it may indicate termite activity or damage.
  4. Continue checking different areas and surfaces, paying close attention to areas where termites are likely to thrive, such as damp or dark areas.
Using a screwdriver or similar tool for termite inspection is a cost-effective alternative to specialized equipment. However, keep in mind that it may not provide the same level of accuracy as an inspection probe. If you suspect termite activity or want a more thorough inspection, it’s best to seek professional assistance.

Identifying Signs Of Termite Damage

Termites can wreak havoc on your property, causing significant damage if not detected and dealt with promptly. By being able to identify the signs of termite damage, you can take proactive steps to mitigate any potential issues. Here are some common indicators that termites may be present:

Mud Tubes

Mud tubes, also known as termite highways, are one of the most evident signs of a termite infestation. These tubes, usually about the width of a pencil, are made from soil and wood particles and are used by termites to travel between their underground colonies and food sources. Check the foundation, walls, and crawl spaces for these tubes as a clear indication of termite activity.

Discarded Wings

Termites shed their wings after swarming, so finding piles of discarded wings near your windowsills, doorways, or light fixtures is a telltale sign that termites may be present. These wings are usually found in large numbers and are of equal size.

Damaged Wood

Inspect wooden structures, such as window frames, furniture, or even trees near your property, for signs of damage. Termites feed on cellulose found in wood, so look for hollowed-out sections, tunnels, or blistering on the surface. Pay close attention to any wood that sounds hollow when tapped, as this could be a sign of termite activity.

Discolored Or Drooping Drywall

Termite damage can extend beyond wood. Keep an eye out for discolored or drooping drywall, as this may indicate termite activity behind the walls. You might also notice bubbling or peeling paint, resembling water damage, as a result of termites feeding on the drywall.

Pinpoint Holes In Drywall

Small, pinpoint holes in the drywall can be another sign of termites. These holes are often the entry points for termites and may appear like pinpricks on the surface. Inspect your walls carefully for any such holes and take appropriate action if found.

Buckling Floorboards

Termites can cause damage to flooring materials, including wooden or laminate floorboards. If you notice any buckling or warping of the floorboards, it could be an indication of termite infestation. Additionally, excessively squeaky floorboards can also be a sign of termite activity below.

Loose Tiles

If you have tiles in your home, keep an eye out for any loosening or shifting of tiles. Termites introduce excess moisture into the floor, which can cause tiles to become loose or pop out of place. This can often go unnoticed, so regular inspections are crucial to catch any potential termite-related issues.

By being vigilant and knowing what signs to look out for, you can identify termite damage early on and take appropriate measures to address the issue. If you suspect a termite infestation, it’s always best to consult a professional pest control service to ensure proper extermination and prevention of future infestations.

Conducting A Termite Inspection

Inspecting your property for termites on a regular basis is essential to protect your home from potential damage. Conducting a thorough termite inspection allows you to identify early signs of infestation and take appropriate measures. In this section, we will guide you through inspecting both the exterior and interior of your property for termites.

Inspecting The Exterior Of The Property

When inspecting the exterior of your property, pay close attention to the following areas:

  • Foundation Walls: Look for mud tubes, which serve as shelter and transportation for subterranean termites. These tubes appear as pencil-thick to inch-wide tunnels on foundation walls.
  • Crawl Space Walls: Check for mud tubes on crawl space walls as well.
  • Winged Insects: Keep an eye out for discarded wings near windowsills and doors. Flying termites, also known as swarmers, shed their wings after mating.
  • Damaged Wood: Examine any wooden structures, such as decks, fences, or wooden siding, for signs of termite damage, including hollow-sounding timber or wood that crumbles easily.

Inspecting The Interior Of The Property

When inspecting the interior of your property, focus on these key areas:

  • Drywall: Look for discolored or drooping drywall, which may indicate termite activity behind the walls. Tap on the walls to check for a hollow sound, as termites can cause wood to become hollow.
  • Paint: Check for peeling paint, especially if it resembles water damage. Termites can cause moisture buildup, leading to paint deterioration.
  • Floors: Pay attention to any buckling wooden or laminate floorboards, as they can be a sign of termite infestation. Additionally, loose tiles may indicate added moisture due to termite activity.

By thoroughly inspecting both the exterior and interior of your property, you can catch termite infestations early on and take appropriate measures to eliminate them. Remember to be vigilant and perform regular inspections to keep your home termite-free.

How to Check for Termites Yourself
How to Check for Termites Yourself 4


Diy Termite Prevention And Treatment

Termites can cause significant damage to your home if left unchecked. While it’s always a good idea to consult professionals for a thorough termite inspection, there are several simple steps you can take to prevent and treat termite infestations yourself. By following a few best practices, you can protect your home from these destructive pests.

Removing Termite Food Sources

Termites thrive on wood, cellulose, and other organic materials. By eliminating their food sources, you can make your home less attractive to termites. Start by inspecting your property for any decaying or moisture-damaged wood, as well as old tree stumps or timber stacks near your home. Remove or relocate these items away from your house.

Fixing Water Leaks

Termites are drawn to areas with moisture, as it provides them with the ideal conditions for survival. Regularly check for and fix any plumbing or water leaks that might occur around your home. Additionally, ensure that your gutters and downspouts are clear and functioning properly to prevent water accumulation near the foundation.

Properly Storing Firewood

Firewood stored near your home can serve as a potential entry point for termites. To prevent this, store firewood at least 20 feet away from your house and elevated off the ground. This reduces the risk of termites migrating from the firewood to your home.

Using Termite-resistant Materials

When making repairs or renovations to your home, opt for termite-resistant materials. These include treated wood, concrete, and metal, which are less attractive to termites. By using these materials, you can proactively protect your home from termite infestations.

Using Termite Baits And Barriers

Termite baits and barriers can provide an additional layer of protection against termites. These products work by either attracting termites away from your home or creating a protective barrier that termites cannot penetrate. Consider installing bait stations around the perimeter of your property, especially in areas where termite activity is likely.

In conclusion, by following these DIY termite prevention and treatment methods, you can significantly reduce the risk of termite infestations in your home. Regular inspections, prompt repairs, and proactive measures are key to keeping your home termite-free.

When To Seek Professional Help

If you suspect a termite infestation in your home, conducting a thorough inspection is crucial to catch the problem early on. While checking for termites yourself can be a cost-effective solution, there are certain situations where it is best to seek professional help. Professional termite inspections can provide a more accurate assessment of the infestation and ensure effective treatment. Here are some instances when it is advisable to call in the experts:

Severe Termite Infestations

Severe termite infestations can pose significant risks to your home’s structure and require immediate attention. When the infestation is extensive, it may be challenging to eliminate the termites on your own effectively. Professional pest control companies have the expertise, experience, and specialized equipment to handle severe infestations. They can accurately assess the level of infestation, locate termite nests, and implement the most appropriate treatment plan to eradicate termites from your property.

Structural Damage

Termites can cause significant damage to the structural integrity of your home, compromising its stability and safety. If you notice signs of structural damage, such as sagging floors, buckling walls, or weakened beams, it is essential to seek professional help immediately. Professional termite inspectors can assess the extent of the damage and provide recommendations for repairs and treatment options. They can work alongside construction professionals to address any structural issues caused by termites.

Difficult-to-reach Areas

Termites can be opportunistic pests, hiding in hard-to-reach areas of your home. When termites infest areas such as crawl spaces, attics, or inside walls, detecting and treating the problem can be challenging for inexperienced individuals. Professional termite inspectors have the knowledge and tools to access these difficult areas and identify termite colonies effectively. They can provide targeted treatments to eliminate termites from these areas and prevent further damage to your home.

Remember, while DIY termite inspections can be helpful for early detection, severe infestations, structural damage, and difficult-to-reach areas are best handled by professionals. Timely intervention by experienced pest control companies can save your home from extensive damage and costly repairs.

Can I Use the Same Method to Check for Termites in Walls as I Would for Checking for Termites in General?

Yes, you can use the same termite wall inspection methods as you would for checking for termites in general. Inspecting for termite damage, looking for mud tubes, and tapping on the walls are all effective ways to check for termites in walls. Always consult a professional if you suspect an infestation.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Check For Termites Yourself

What Are The Signs Of Termites In Your Home?

Signs of termites in your home include discolored or drooping drywall, peeling paint that resembles water damage, wood that sounds hollow when tapped, small pinpoint holes in drywall, buckling wooden or laminate floor boards, tiles loosening from added moisture, and excessively squeaky floorboards.

How Do You Tell If Termites Are Behind Drywall?

To check if termites are behind drywall, look for signs such as faint lines on drywall, a hollow sound when tapping on the wall, and bubbling or peeling paint. You can also inspect for mud tubes, discarded wings, damaged wood, or wood that sounds hollow.

Do Termites Just Show Up?

Termites are present throughout the year, and their presence may go unnoticed until swarms become visible. They do not just show up suddenly in your immediate environment. Regularly inspect your property for signs such as mud tubes, discarded wings, damaged wood, or hollow-sounding timber.

Is There A Device That Can Detect Termites?

Yes, there are devices available that can detect termites. However, you can also check for signs of termites yourself by inspecting your property for mud tubes, discarded wings, damaged or hollow-sounding wood, and other signs mentioned in the Orkin website.


Inspecting for termites yourself can be a cost-effective and proactive approach to protecting your property. By following simple steps such as using a screwdriver or flashlight to check for termite damage in the wood, homeowners can identify early signs of infestation.

Look for discarded wings, mud tubes, hollow-sounding timber, or peeling paint resembling water damage. Additionally, using natural solutions like vinegar and lemon juice can help deter termites. By regularly conducting these inspections, you can potentially save yourself from significant repair costs in the long run.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to dealing with termites. Protection Status