What does a termite nest look like in a house and in a garden: how to find insectes on a tree trunk, wall and yard?

How to Find Mounds of Termites in Garden, Walls or Ceiling? What Does a Termite Nest and Mound Look Like?

In order to know where to look for termite nests first, you should know what they are guided by when choosing a place for building and what their nests look like. Since different kinds of termites are not the same, their nests are neither the same. What does a termite nest look like? How to find termites nest? Let’s see answers.

Subterranean insectes

Thus, nests of subterranean termites are located in moist soil, from 4 to 18 inches below surface. Their nests consist of numerous galleries, interconnected with tunnels. Such a nest can be 330-690 feet in diameter.

To get wood, provide the colony with ventilation and maintain proper temperature in there, they build tunnels and mud tubes from this nest towards the surface. A house basement can serve as a good source of wood. However, they never settle in the very house.

Drywood termites

Unlike subterranean ones, Drywood termites can establish nests inside any source of dry food:

  1. Hardwood floors.
  2. Roof material.
  3. Support timbers accessed under eaves.
  4. Furniture.
  5. Fallen trees on yards.
  6. Wooden frameworks of old household appliances.

Of course, in wild nature they only inhabit fallen trees. Even though they can survive without water better than others, they still need it, so they prefer inhabiting areas near sources of water (leaky pipe, water heater).

Structure of their nests is quite similar to subterranean ones’, but all the chambers and passes of Drywood termites’ nest are situated in wooden items and the termites themselves don’t lay the mud tubes.

Mound-building termites

In jungles and savannah of Australia, South America and Africa mound-building termites live. Only they can build several feet tall termite mounds to get accommodated in them. Fortunately, non-tropical species don’t. Their mounds are extremely complex.

Signs of a nearby Drywood termite nest:

  1. Presence of fecal pellets, especially on wood items.
  2. Alates, flying around.
  3. Alates’ wings shed onto surfaces.
  4. Tiny holes or buckling paint on the wood.
  5. Living termites are run across from time to time.
  6. Wood, damaged at bearing points and resonating with a dull thud when hit with a hammer.

Signs of a nearby Subterranean termite nest:

  1. Alates, flying around
  2. Alates’ wings shed onto surfaces
  3. Living termites are run across from time to time
  4. Presence of mud tubes near foundation, which connects underground nest to upper sources of wood. These tubes are brown, dry and cylindrical in appearance.
  5. Dark areas or blisters in wood flooring
  6. Wood, damaged at bearing points and resonating with a dull thud when hit with a hammer.

How to detect a Drywood termite nest

To find termite nest in house, you’ll need:

  1. Flashlight.
  2. Pointed screwdriver.
  3. Light hammer.
  4. Ladder.
  5. Protective suit (knee pads, bump cap and coveralls).

Then you’ll have to inspect the entire house by sounding and probing:

  1. Tap with the hammer.
  2. Listen to the sound.
  3. If the sound is hollow, poke the area with the screwdriver to make sure.

You should pay particularly close attention to the following searching termite mounds in yard or garden:

  1. Wooden sidings.
  2. Exterior trim.
  3. Eaves.
  4. Windows.
  5. Doorframes.
  6. Roof eaves.
  7. Sills.
  8. Exposed ends of rafters.
  9. Porch roofs.
  10. Stair trellises and carriages.
  11. Supports.
  12. Wooden roof shingles.
  13. Cornices.
  14. Wood trim.

Indoors, check every inch and every dark corner, don’t overlook these parts:

  1. Door and window frames.
  2. Trim.
  3. Skirting boards.
  4. Windowsills (look if there’re feces and wings on them).
  5. Insides of built-in cabinets.
  6. Wooden paneling.
  7. Exposed beams.
  8. Places that are usually warmed up.

How to detect a Subterranean termite nest

Because Subterranean termites’ nests are located underground, you should do some digging to find one. As you can guess, they prefer take up their residence by the things they can eat – dead trees trunk, mulch and foundation.

However, those termites may be hidden so deep, that you would better just give up on the idea of finding the nest and simply treat all the soil around your house, barns, warehouses and all other wooden building you’re trying to protect.

After that they can never eat them whenever they live. Or you can use baits and any other treatment that doesn’t require precise detection of the infestation source.

Here you can learn more information about effective treatment method called tenting (fumigation): dangers for termites, preparing for fumigation and cleaning after, how long does this procedure last?

Useful articles

If you interested in more information of termites we recommend you to read the following articles:

Hope that this article will help you to detect and destroy the nests easier. But, of course, as in any business, you should call a professional if you can’t handle it yourself.


Irreparable Termite Damage on Wood

Subterranean termite is a real hidden danger.

The insect leads a highly secret way of life, that is why sometimes it is very difficult to identify the presence of termites’ colony nest inside your house.

How to Identify the Presence of Termites Inside Your House?

To recognize the activity of subterranean termites inside and outside your house, you need a good flashlight, screwdriver or pocketknife and coveralls.

How to spot termite damage? First of all, you should pay attention to damp and warm places (basement), the exterior and interior surfaces of the foundation, particularly construction where wood is on or near the soil.

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Start your termite damage inspection with the basement and use a bright flashlight.

Search for mud tunnels and the activity of the swarmers.

Keep in mind that in almost every house there is old termite damage that could be not noticeable from the first sight, so look carefully.

What Areas One Should Examine at First?

  • All wood constructions and materials in the basement and inside the hard-to-get-to spaces;
  • all sills, sub floors, joists, support posts, supporting piers, basement window frames, wood under porches;
  • take close notice on places where one can find concrete flooring: steps, porches, or slabs join the wooden structure;
  • any scrap wood on the exterior of your house, old and rotten tree stumps, fence posts and basement windows exterior frames.

So, as you can see termite wood damage is not a myth but reality. The surest and most evident sign of infestation – mud tunnels or tubes. Subterranean termites can build their mud tunnel in hard-to-get-to spaces, as well as on the solid structures as walls and the ceiling. Also, we want to mention that wood damaged by termites would be difficult to repair and in most of the cases it is impossible to do.

In principle, termite damage house happens through occupying by them each free piece of space in order to get access to food and moisture. Subterranean termites can construct their tunnels on the following structures:

  • On the foundation. Since subterranean termites base their nests under the ground surface, the basement walls are the first place on their way to your house and the easiest one to get in to. Subterranean termites will use each crack, joint or small hole in the foundation to enter the building.
  • On the wall. A wall is the next step in termites’ journey to food and moisture. Usually, a mud tunnel on a wall means, that there is a huge “flour and basement” termite activity in your house.
  • On the ceiling. Mud tunnels are so fest and solid, that they can keep on a ceiling. Mud tube on a ceiling can mean, that subterranean termite infestation slightly reaches its “scary” scale and the insects are trying to reach the second floor.

As you can see despite the fact that termites damage on wood mostly.

What are The Other Signs of Infestation?

Termites frass (droppings).

These droppings, also called frass or poop, are wood colored.

Such droppings can be found on a bed (the sign of “roof” activity), on window sills, carpet, floor.

Piles of wings. The shed wings of swarmers is a true sign that the subterranean termites have entered their next phase of development. You can often found shed wings on the window sills.

Damaged or hollow-sounding wood. Termites can destroy wood material from the inside, at the same time the wood external appearance stays normal.

If wood sounds hollow when tapped, it may be because termites are eating the wood from the inside out.

Pattern in the wood. Subterranean termites eat and destroy soft wood and eat along the grain. This causes an evident and highly visible honeycomb pattern inside the wood.

How long does it take for termites to do damage?

Termite colonies work 24 hours a day. Sometimes, termite infestations go undiscovered until serious damage is already done to a structure. The damage “actions” can last from 1 to 8 years.

It is quite a difficult question to answer how long does it take to cause first structural damage to a house from a moment of infestation to serious destruction.

Infestations can occur two ways. First, healthy colonies send out winged reproductives to start new colonies. When the termites find a suitable area, they will start a new colony.

The second way infestations occur is when subterranean termites forage for food and find their way into a structure. The first signs of infestation: mud tubes (on walls, ceiling, floor), piles of wings.

To destroy the structural integrity of a house for termites is a matter of time.

As a rule, it takes them from 5 to 8 years approximately. The serious termite structural damage looks like:

  • rotten and hollow like joisting;
  • rotten and hollow like roof timber;
  • invaded basement structures;
  • patterns and holes in framework;
  • swollen ceilings and floors.

Now when you have an idea about how long does it take for termites to cause damage, let’s move to the appearance of the harm effect.

How Does the Damage Look Like?

The damage produced by termites (buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings, areas that appear to be suffering from slight water damage and visible mazes within walls or furniture) could be confused with mildew and mold.

Termite droppings (brown piles of dust-like frass) could be taken for a dust or an old sawdust.

If you have found a structure similar to mud tube, there is a way to check whether it is active or abandoned: if you want to receive evidence that you have found exactly a mud tube made by subterranean termites, you can remove the portion of a tunnel with a screwdriver and see if there are still termites inside.

If you see an active movement inside with termites running back and forward it means, that you have a serious infestation. If the tunnel is empty, you can check it in a few days and see, whether the tube is repaired.


The examples of termite damage on pictures below:

How to Prevent the Infestation?

There are several preventive measures that will help you not to earn serious problems:

  1. Avoid moisture accumulation near the foundation. Moisture and damp are the main termites’ “friends”. These insects need water to maintain their colony safe and sound. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  2. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. When constructing the house, make sure that the basement has a sound vent system to get in and out a portion of fresh air. If there are some bushes or plants near vent ports that prevent proper vent circulation inside the basement, remove these plants.
  3. Remove piles of trash and dead trees stumps from the area – such objects can attract termites.
  4. Avoid direct wood-to-ground contact when building porches or decks.
  5. Siding, brick veneer or foam insulation should not extend below soil grade.
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Here you can learn more information about effective treatment method called tenting (fumigation): dangers for termites, preparing for fumigation and cleaning after, how long does this procedure last?

Useful articles

If you interested in more information of termites we recommend you to read the following articles:

Helpful video

Check out this video to see real damage of termites:


The best option is to prevent the appearance of termites in your house, though they are not always possible to detect before it became a real problem.

Nowadays there are many accessible and safe methods to destroy termites’ colony.

But only a specialist from termite control service will help you to choose the best option to get rid of the pests inside your house for a long-time.


15 Common Pests That Are Destroying Your Home

No matter how clean you keep your home, you’ll probably have a run-in with a household pest at some point. Some can endanger your health (or your sanity). And other pests can do lasting damage to your home or possessions. Below, check out the most common household pests — and how to get rid of them. Don’t overlook little spots on your bed (on page 10).

1. Ants

Ants in the house | Cherkas/iStock/Getty Images

Ants build nests in your lawn, in dry soil, or under paving. They often enter your home to find food, reports pest control company Ehrlich. Nearly 1,000 ant species exist in North America. Carpenter ants, specifically, can damage your home by hollowing out wood for nesting.

How to get rid of ants: Seal off where they entered the home. (Look for small piles of dirt around holes in soil or exterior walls for clues.) Then, clean up any sticky residue on surfaces and cover any food. Lifehacker recommends using ant bait to wipe out the colony.

Next: These pests love your damp spaces.

2. Camel crickets

A camel cricket on a foundation wall | JasonOndreicka/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

Also known as cave or spider crickets, camel crickets seek out dark, damp places (often a basement, shed, or crawlspace). The Washington Post reports they tend to gather in large numbers. When scared, they’ll jump — often directly at what scared them. They also eat fabric, carpet, wood, cardboard, dust, and plants (in addition to fungus and each other).

How to get rid of camel crickets: The Post calls camel crickets as “accidental invaders” who show up because your home resembles their natural habitat. Seal or caulk any openings into the house’s lowest level. Also, try to keep your basement dry, clutter-free, and well-lit. You may even want to invest in a dehumidifier.

Next: Some recommend you actually KEEP these pests.

3. Centipedes

House centipede | Paffy69/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

These scream-inducing pests prefer dark, damp places, explains Apartment Therapy. Centipedes come out at night, and they move quickly. Fortunately, they have little interest in humans.

How to get rid of centipedes: Apartment Therapy says to leave centipedes alone because they eat other bugs. Their venom kills cockroaches, flies, moths, termites, and even bedbugs. Plus, they don’t carry diseases, destroy the house, or eat your food. If you do want to get rid of them, then try to eradicate the pests they eat. Use a dehumidifier. Clear damp debris, like leaves, from the exterior perimeter of your home.

Next: These pests seem to survive anything.

4. Cockroaches

These insects like to live in warm homes, kitchens, and wall cavities, according to Ehrlich. Cockroaches often come out after dark to feed. With a legendary ability to adapt and survive, they can carry E. coli and salmonella. If you see one, more are likely nearby.

How to get rid of cockroaches: Good Housekeeping reports that most Americans encounter either German or American varieties of this pest. Figure out which you have, and call professionals if you can’t get rid of them. Clean up leftover food and don’t leave out dishes. Put out bait, and seal entry points.

Next: These pests can bother your pets, too.

5. Fleas

These small, flightless insects feed on blood and can carry diseases. Both pets and humans can track fleas into the house. In fact, fleas can jump on you outside and then ride into your home. Once there, they can multiply and bite you and your pets.

How to get rid of fleas: You’ll need to get rid of the fleas on your pets, as well as eradicate them from your home. You can use special foggers. You can also use a powder-based product to kill fleas without releasing toxic fumes inside. (Of course, follow your vet’s instructions for removing fleas and treating pets with preventative medication.)

Next: These pests eat other bugs.

6. Spiders

Common house spider | CBCK-Christine/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

Spiders are arthropods with venomous fangs. Ehrlich reports that thousands of spider species live in North America. They don’t spread disease, and they do eat other pests. But most homeowners don’t like spiders. Some people even have arachnophobia, which goes far beyond a simple dislike for the creatures.

How to get rid of spiders: Apartment Therapy notes you can use pesticides to minimize spiders. But you can also get rid of them by decluttering (giving them fewer places to get comfy). You can vacuum and dust more often. And you can clean the exterior of your home to discourage them.

Next: Some people find these pests cute.

7. Mice

Mouse | artisteer/iStock/Getty Images

Ehrlich notes that house mice remain active year-round. They nest inside walls and furniture, and they also spread disease.

How to get rid of mice: If you suspect an infestation, you’ll want to call a professional, who will seal off entry points, destroy nests, and remove existing mice. PestWorld reports mice can breed rapidly and adapt quickly to changing conditions. But you can help prevent an infestation by clearing clutter and ensuring proper drainage outside your home.

Next: These pests can spread dangerous diseases.

8. Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are technically small flies that consume blood. Researchers have found over 150 species in the U.S. Mosquitoes usually become a problem as temperatures rise. They also transmit diseases like West Nile virus, malaria, and Zika.


How to get rid of mosquitoes: They often enter through windows and doors, so it’s a good idea to utilize screens. Since mosquitoes develop in water, it’s a good idea to eliminate water sources. If you have an infestation, call a professional.

Next: These pests can ruin your clothes.

9. Moths

Clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) | 3drenderings/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

Moths can do real damage around your home. They destroy sweaters, but also gnaw on rugs and carpets. Apartment Therapy reports that moths lie low in dark corners. They don’t often fly around your house. And it’s the larvae, not the adult moths, that munch through wool.

How to get rid of moths: Apartment Therapy advises professional help for an infestation. You can discourage moths by regularly shaking out clothes, cleaning closets, and washing clothes. Don’t ever put away dirty knitwear. Vacuum your carpets. And use a pheromone trap to attract male moths and end breeding. Repel moths from clothes with cedar balls or lavender sachets, and seal seasonal clothing in airtight bags when not in use.

Next: Don’t overlook little spots on your bedsheets.

10. Bed bugs

Bed bugs can ruin a vacation. | sahilu/iStock/Getty Images

These parasitic insects feed on human blood. In addition to hiding in your bed, they also hide in cracks and crevices, according to Ehrlich. Bed bugs may not destroy your home, but Ehrlich reports that “bed bug infestations are the source of extensive stress and psychological trauma for many Americans every year.”

How to get rid of bed bugs: As one of the most challenging pests to eradicate, you should call a professional with experience controlling bed bugs. Alert your property manager if you live in an apartment or condo. Bed bugs can move quickly, so you may not be the only one with a problem.

Next: These pests can infest your plants.

11. Gnats

Fungus gnat, Mycetophilidae fly on polypore |

Gnats are tiny flies, as The Washington Post reports. But they get their own entry because they are so annoying. Researchers have identified many kinds of gnats, including the fungus gnat, which like houseplant soil (especially if you overwater). According to Orkin, some species seek out food debris in garbage disposals or on overripe fruit.

How to get rid of gnats: The Post recommends you keep outdoor potted plants outside. If your indoor plants get infested, let the soil dry out before you water again. And keep fruit in the refrigerator instead of on the counter. Orkin notes that gnats can threaten your health because they transport pathogens. You can use traps to catch adults, but not larvae.

Next: A pest-free home is worth its weight in gold — and “silver.”

12. Silverfish

Silverfish feeding on paper | Leonid Eremeychuk/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

These wingless insects may look harmless. But silverfish can do a lot of damage. They aren’t poisonous and don’t transmit diseases, says Terminix. But silverfish will eat most household items, including books, wallpaper, insulation, cardboard, and even fallen human hair.

How to get rid of silverfish: Limit these insects’ foods sources by keeping dry goods and pet food in airtight containers. Vacuum floors and upholstery regularly. Use a dehumidifier in damp areas, and line dirt floors to control moisture. Seal any openings, ensure your gutters are clean, and make sure you maintain the paint on your house.

Next: These pests can do thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home.

13. Termites

Termites count among the U.S.’s most destructive pests, according to Ehrlich. The average termite damage to a home totals about $7,000 to $8,000. And most home insurance policies don’t cover it. They can feed on wood 24 hours a day.

How to get rid of termites: Terminix notes the most common signs include wood damage behind floors and walls, discarded wings near entry points, and mud tubes where the ground meets your home. Most people only spot an infestation after it has become severe. You can replace damaged wood and fix moisture in a crawl space, but ultimately you’ll need the help of a professional for a permanent solution.

Next: Get out your swatter ASAP.

14. Flies

Blow fly on a leaf | Backiris

There are many kinds of flies. And Ehrlich reports these pests can carry bacteria, including Salmonella or E. coli. (Flies can also spread diseases like typhoid fever, cholera, and dysentery.) Orkin reports that every time a fly lands, it sloughs off microbes that can even cause bloodstream infections, diarrhea, food poisoning, or meningitis. Even a small fly problem left uncontrolled can turn into a major infestation.

How to get rid of flies: You can prevent a fly infestation by keeping doors and windows closed, adding screens to windows and doors, and keeping your garbage cans clean and securely fastened. Also, try to keep surfaces clean. PestWorld recommends contacting a professional if you suspect a fly infestation. They can inspect your home, determine the kind of fly, and figure out the best course of action.

Next: These pests can do damage to your home.

15. Rats

Rat on the floor | kozorog/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

Rats are rodents that nobody likes to see around their house. Ehrlich characterizes black rats as common in the U.S. If they find their way into your home, they can damage insulation, chew through joists and walls, and cause fires by chewing on electrical cables. Like other pests, rats can also transmit diseases.

How to get rid of rats: Orkin reports that infestations can prove difficult to confirm. Rats prefer to hide, so the most obvious sign is a sighting of a dead or living rat. You may see rat droppings, or dirt or grease marks along walls and floorboards. If you suspect rats, consult a professional. You can buy traps, but they’ll only catch one rat and won’t effectively address an infestation.


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