How To Identify Termite Activity In Your Pittsburgh Home

Enlighten your homeowner’s mind with these 6 ways to identify termite activity in your home or call Pestco for the most effective termite control services!


Termites are the smallest, yet most devastating, wood-destroying insects on the face of the earth.

Each and every infestation is serious and requires immediate attention of pest control and pest-maintenance specialists.

There are more than 2,700 termite species found all over the world.

While they somewhat resemble ants and often compete with them for territory, they differ mainly because they feed off wood.

Sometimes, ant and termite colonies that are situated close to each other will go to war, battling over territory and food sources.

These are highly organized campaigns conducted by the soldier castes of each respective colony.

Termite colonies

The termite lifestyle is also very similar to that of the ant. They live in underground colonies where labor is divided.

Soldier termites protect the colony and comprise 1/3 of the population; workers, which are the most numerous caste, cause the most damage by eating wood and building tunnels.

The queen or king of a termite colony can live up to ten years and they are at the reproductive heart of the population. 

Subterranean termites are by far the most damaging to wood, and they cause significant property damage to both homes and businesses.

Their daily activities can and often do devastate entire structures because they are not easily detected until their “work is done.”

This is why it is so important to recognize the signs of termite infestation before it becomes too late for our pest-control and pest-management professionals at Pestco Professional Services to do much about it.

Termite Infestation

A Few Painful Statistics About Termites

According to the latest shocking statistics, every year termites cause about $5 billion dollars in property damage and repair costs to both private residences and commercial spaces.

More than 4 million homes and businesses within the United States are at risk of infestation every year.

This figure is even more staggering when considering damages incurred by termites to building structures and crops, which amounts to a staggering $30 billion.

If you are a Pittsburgh homeowner unlucky enough to be the victim of a termite infestation, on average you might end up spending $8,333 to exterminate them and repair the damage they cause!

Termites eat constantly, which make them the most destructive insect species found in the United States.

The Subterranean Termite

This species has been on earth for more than 55 million years.

Social insects, they live and work together within the colony, unlike roaches or grasshoppers that are loners and work only for themselves.

Their name derives from where they build their nests; namely, underground, where they construct tunnels known as mud tubes.

These structures protect them from the open air and allow access to food sources, particularly cellulose.

They eat only the softwood, which is comprised of soil or mud, resulting in layered damage. Unlike other termite species, they eat with the grain and not against it.

A single colony of subterranean termites contains anywhere from 60,000 to one million termites and they can forage up to 150 feet in search of food.

Professional help from the expert pest-control and pest-management technicians is required to both eliminate the infestation and prevent another one from arising.

6 Ways To Identify Termite Activity in Your Home

The following are common signs of termite damage in your home.

Heed them carefully, and if you even suspect you have one or more indications, contact our teams at Pestco immediately!

Stuck Windows or Doors

Termites tend to target locations like windows and door frames, where wood is exposed and easy to access.

As termites begin to eat through the wood, it may cause your windows and door frames to warp, making it difficult to open or close them properly.

Damage Under Paint or Wallpaper

Termites create tunnels (aka termite galleries, mud tubes) and tiny pin holes while feeding on cardboard and wood paneling underneath the surface of the walls of a home.

Identify Termite Activity in Your Home

This damage is often difficult to detect because termites can accomplish this without disturbing the thin coat of paint or wallpaper on the surface.

Usually, this damage is first noticed during home repairs and renovations.

Search carefully for signs underneath painted or papered surfaces such as: small pinholes where termites have eaten through, bubbling paint; buckling wood; dented or sunken areas and peeling or discolored wall paper.

Termite Swarmers And Discarded Wings

This is an unmistakable sign that termites have infested a Pittsburgh home. Swarmers, which are also known as alates, are the reproductive caste of a termite colony.

Their pale-colored, two pairs of large wings make them very easy to spot. 

Once a swarmer leaves the colony and mates, it sheds its wings. Like moths, they are attracted to the light, and are often found circling near doors and windows. 

Mud Tubes

Our teams are well familiar with mud tubes, which resemble narrow veins running along the side of a residence.

These begin deep in the ground and tend to run towards areas with exposed wood.

Termite Tube

These tubes protect them from the dryness in the air and permit safe passage from the colony to the food source.

Termite Droppings

Also known as “frass,” this is another definite indication of termite activity although it is only visible in the case of dry wood termites.

Subterranean termites produce a liquid form of frass which makes it almost impossible to distinguish. Home owners should rely on other indications. 

Beware Of Piles of Sawdust

Piles of sawdust are a sure sign that termites have infested a residence. The problem is that by the time these are visible, severe damage usually has been done. 

Some Helpful Termite Prevention Tips

Pittsburgh homeowners should heed the following tips, which come from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).

Consider Termite Prevention A Year Round Issue

Homeowners should be prepared to schedule a professional inspection at least once very three to five years by pest-management and pest-control experts.

This is very important because wood-boring insect damage is not covered by most homeowners’ insurance policies.

Keep Things Dry

Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and outside air-conditioning units. Maintain well ventilated and dry basements, attics and crawl spaces. Direct water away from the home via properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.

Avoid Providing Shelter

Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches off the ground. Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.

Protect Wood Surfaces

Maintain an 18-inch gap between soil and any wood portions of your home.

Call Pestco For The Very Best In Pittsburgh Termite Control!

Our professionals at Pestco have been providing effective pest control and pest management solutions since 1948 throughout Pittsburgh, western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and the Virginia Panhandle.

Over the years, we have developed a superior customer service reputation and we service many high-profile commercial accounts as well the residential community.

We understand that no one product ever fits-all strategies and situations, and we utilize only products that are environmentally friendly and promote a carbon footprint policy that will insure a green planet for future generations.

Pestco Professional Services Truck

Our technicians are highly trained and experienced, and we take the time to educate their clients as to what they can do to minimize the risk of returning termites.

And our course, we welcome questions and always offer helpful answers!

In Conclusion

If you are a Pittsburgh homeowner dealing with termites, call our teams today and let us help you get rid of the problem and offer advice on how to prevent future infestations!


A Few More Little Known Facts About Termites

Termites Can Be Nutritious Food

Termites are rich in iron, calcium, fatty and amino acids, and proteins, making them a hearty snack for both the desperate and the not-so-faint-of- heart.

Termites Never Sleep

Termites build their colonies 24 hours a day, every day, until they die.

Soldier And Reproductive Termite Castes Are Blind And Cannot Feed Themselves

These castes spend their lives in the confines of the dark, damp colony and rely on worker termites to feed them by regurgitating digested cellulose into their mouths.

The Estimated Combined Weight Of Every Termite On Earth Would Be 445 Million Tons

In comparison to and given that same placement for humans, collectively on a scale we would weigh 350 million tons.

Termites Are Beneficial to The Environment

Despite the severe damage they cause to structures of all kinds, termites aid in the health of our forests and the decomposition of soil.

They break down tough plant fibers and recycle dead and decaying trees into new soil.


Photo Credits: Pestco, Flickr and Pixabay


You May Also Be Interested In

9 December Pests Pittsburghers Need To Guard Against

The month of December is a time for many things, not the least of which are the holidays that so poignantly reflect our national and personal character and ethos Joy abounds in many ways, but with the advent of cold weather also comes some unwanted intruders that can …

9 Simple Tips To Ensure You Have A Pest-Free Halloween

Temperatures are dropping, leaves are changing their color and and Fall pests are starting to creep and crawl all about our homes and businesses. But rest assured, our pest control specialists have you covered! Follow these 9 simple tips to ensure you have a pest-free Halloween holiday season!

How To Rid Groundhogs From Your Pittsburgh Property

The groundhog is widely distributed throughout Pennsylvania and Wildlife Removal Services are often relied upon to deal with the destruction they can cause to yards and surrounding landscapes! If you own a home or business anywhere throughout greater Pittsburgh, get the very best in groundhog removal services with Pestco.