Termites cause billions of dollars each year in damage to homes all over the country, including damage to many homes in Baltimore. While the layman might think it crazy that termites could be wreaking havoc without a homeowner’s knowledge, they are actually incredibly difficult to detect and often not discovered until it’s too late and irreparable damage has been done.

Therefore, it’s important to know the signs of a termite infestation so you can act quickly and get proper termite control. Here are seven signs you may have termites in your home and how to identify them if you spot one.

How to Identify Termites

In Maryland, there is one main species of native termites: subterranean. While it is technically possible to spot a drywood termite, they actually live on the west coast. The primary difference between subterranean termites and drywood termites is that subterranean termites live in large underground colonies, while drywood termites are found in wood above the ground. Subterranean termites are also the most destructive, giving the termite its terrible reputation among homeowners.

When it comes to identifying termites from other species, they can easily be mistaken for flying ants. However, termites are typically ¼ to ½ of an inch long and have a straight antennae. They can range in color from white to dark brown, and kings and queens tend to be larger, while swarmers can be identified by their wings.

7 Signs of Termite Infestation

For the most part, spotting termites is rare and most people identify their presence by a few common signs they leave behind. Here are seven signs of a termite infestation on your hands.

1. Hollow Sounding Wood

If you knock on wood and you hear a hollow sound, it could be a sign that termites are eating it from the inside out. Hollow-sounding wood isn’t a good sign, as it means termites have already burrowed into the wood in your home and will soon destroy it if the problem is not treated immediately.

Be sure to tap around cellar and basement walls, where most termites tend to dwell inside your house.

2. Mud Tubes

Mud tubes are small, pencil-sized tunnels that termites build out of wood and dirt to connect colonies and hide from predators. Mud tubes are often the first sign of a termite infestation, as they are easily visible on the exterior of your home and can be identified during routine inspections. If you spot mud tubes in your home, you are certainly dealing with a termite problem.

3. Termite Swarmers

Termite swarmers are termites who leave their colonies to find mates and form new colonies. They look just like regular termites but have wings, making them easy to identify. Swarmers usually come around during the spring, so be on the lookout. If you see a termite swarmer in your home, it may be time to contact a pest control professional.

4. Discarded Wings

Once male termites find a mate, they will break off their wings to signal to the other termites that they are taken. If you spot discarded wings around your home, it may be a sign that you’re dealing with a termite infestation.

5. Bubbled Paint

Termites produce moisture when they eat, which can cause the paint in your home to bubble. If you notice the paint in your home looking strange or bubbling, you may be dealing with a termite problem.

6. Buckling Wood

Termites are incredibly damaging to wood, as these pests are known to chew through wood floors, framing, and porches. If you notice sudden changes in your floors, including bouncing or weak floors, it could be a sign that termites are eating them from underneath.

7. Frass

Finally, termite droppings, commonly called frass, are often mistaken for wood shavings or dirt. When termites burrow into wood and drywall, they kick their droppings out of the holes they are creating, resulting in frass.

Where to Look for Termites

While the best way to determine if you have a termite problem is to look for the signs, searching for termites where they live is another way you can identify a potential infestation. Termites are commonly found in basements, attics, or storage areas. They are also known to hang around concrete walls, house siding, and places with a lot of wood, like a porch or deck.

When to Call an Exterminator

If you suspect you may be dealing with a termite infestation, it is imperative that you contact a pest control expert right away. Not only can termites be incredibly difficult to get rid of, but they can cause devastating damage if an infestation is not caught in time. Don’t wait—call a trusted exterminator at the first sign of a termite presence.


Are termites all the same color?

Termites can take on a variety of colors, ranging from white to dark brown. Drywood termites tend to have red or brown bodies, while subterranean termites can be milky white, dark brown, or black.

What size are termites?

The size of termites can vary, but they are typically ¼ to ½ inch long.

Can termites be mistaken for ants?

Termites are often mistaken for ants, as they are long and thin and often dark in color. However, a termite’s wings are much longer than an ant’s wings, making this one feature that can help you differentiate between the two.