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Early Stage Termite Damage Drywall: What does it look like?


Termite Damage: The Silent Killer for Home Damage

Termite damage is a common problem in the United States, affecting over 5 million homes each year. Unfortunately, most homeowners only discover the damage when it's already too late. They often come across drywall damage, decaying wood, or infested wood by accident while cleaning, reorganizing, or moving furniture.

One of the most common scenarios is when a homeowner accidentally pushes their vacuum into termite-infested drywall or baseboard. This type of damage is mainly caused by subterranean termites. In rare cases, homeowners may directly see shelter tubes that these termites construct from the soil surface to under the foundation of their homes. In another case, the homeowner will see dead swarmers, that are relatively close to where the colony workers are.

But how does this extensive destruction of these home-invading species occur? Within a subterranean termite colony, there can be millions of termites tirelessly working to find sustenance. They feed on the wooden components of your home, including floors, walls, and ceilings. Surprisingly, even a small gap as tiny as 1/16" in your foundation is enough for an underground colonies of termites to breach and access the wood above. Explanation of early stage termite damage in drywall

Type of Termites to Damage Drywall: Subteramnian Termites

  • Eastern subterranean termite: Reticulitermes flavipes
  • Formosan termites: Coptotermes formosanus
  • Dampwood termites: Neotermes castaneus
  • Asian subterranean termite: Coptotermes gestroi
Sentricon station with active termites
Live Subterranean termites on Sentricon Always Active station

Consequences of Ignoring Termite Damage

Neglecting termite damage can result in a cascade of detrimental consequences for homeowners. This includes structural damage that can compromise the integrity of your dwelling, leading to expensive repairs and a decrease in property value. Financial implications can be substantial, and insurance often doesn't cover termite-related damage. Furthermore, the health risks associated with potential mold growth, compromised safety, continued infestation, environmental impact from treatments, and the emotional stress of living in a damaged home all underscore the importance of addressing termite damage promptly to mitigate these potential risks and consequences.

Untreated termite infestations can swiftly escalate, resulting in significantly more extensive and costly repairs for homeowners. Termites work silently and relentlessly, progressively compromising the structural integrity of a property. What might have been a localized issue can quickly spread, affecting a wider area and necessitating the replacement of damaged materials. As time passes, the cost of remediation surges, making it financially burdensome to rectify the problem that could have been addressed more affordably if caught earlier. This underscores the urgent need for timely termite inspection and intervention to prevent the progression of damage and the associated financial strain.

The importance of taking immediate action upon discovering signs of termite damage cannot be overstated. Termites are not solitary creatures but part of a colony that can multiply and thrive swiftly. Their life cycle allows for the establishment of new colonies, further exacerbating the problem. Therefore, swift intervention with effective treatment methods is critical to halt the damage's progression and eliminate the existing threat. One such method, the Sentricon System, not only eradicates the termite colony but also provides a robust defense against future infestations. With its proactive approach, the Sentricon System acts as a formidable barrier, protecting your home from potential termite damage and the costly repairs that come with it.

Telltale Signs of Termite Damage


Termites typically engage in swarming activities when the weather is warmer, usually after a rain shower. This is their way of establishing new colonies. These swarming events are short-lived, so even if you don't see flying termites directly, you may find their discarded wings around the homes after a swarm has occurred. The termite swarmers use their wings to disperse from their original colony, but these wings break off as they pair up and search for places with accessible wood sources to start a new colony.

Mud Tubes

Worker termites responsible for foraging and nourishing the colony by consuming wood require a moist environment and protection from natural predators like ants. To traverse obstacles that lie between their subterranean colonies and the wooden structures above, termites craft sinuous mud tubes using a mixture of moist soil and excrement. These tubes typically exhibit a pencil-like diameter, though they can expand over time. These distinctive tubes are observable on foundation walls, within wall cavities, along plumbing pipes, and spanning crawl spaces that bridge the gap between the ground and the subfloor. The presence of these termite pathways serves as a clear indicator that termites either currently inhabit or have previously infested the structure.

Termite mud tubes on a wall
Termite Damage on Drywall – Mud Tubes

Damaged Wood

Termites can inflict concealed damage to wooden structures, lurking beneath and behind surfaces like walls and floors. Their insidious feeding habits involve consuming walls from the interior, rendering their presence inconspicuous. These minuscule pests hollow out the wooden studs within walls without emerging, resulting in a hollow sound when you tap on affected areas. Termites meticulously gnaw through the wood to extract cellulose, leaving intricate patterns of long grooves and faeces . These grooves may resemble a maze hidden within your walls or manifest as a honeycomb-like pattern. Gradually, this relentless tunneling can compromise the wood's structural integrity, potentially leading to severe damage.

Live Termite Sighting

During construction or home renovations, it is extremely important to stay alert for any signs of live termites. These pesky insects may become visible when wood is exposed or remodeled, revealing their pale and soft bodies. They are typically the size of a grain of rice and have a distinct pukish color. Termites usually avoid light and are rarely seen in open spaces.

In addition to keeping an eye out for termites in the wood, it's also crucial to watch for swarming events. These occur when flying termites, known as swarmers, venture out to establish new colonies. Swarms can involve hundreds or even thousands of these insects and are seasonal occurrences. They serve as a potential indicator of long-term termite presence in the area.

When engaging in remodeling projects that involve tearing out biodegraded wood material, be aware that termites often reside within damaged wood. However, it's important to note that eliminating the infestation in the wood itself does not necessarily solve the entire problem. Termites may also inhabit the soil surrounding your home, rotting or damp wood structures, and other areas on your property where they can feed on cellulose-rich organic matter such as tree stumps and firewood piles. It's essential to address all potential termite habitats to effectively control these pests.

Termite mud tubes and alive termite worker
Exposed termite solider on damaged mud tubes

Order of the Colony

Foraging Workers

True workers among subterranean termites are specialized individuals within the large colonies of these insects, responsible for their remarkable wood-destroying abilities. These dedicated workers tirelessly forage for moist wood, their primary food source with their wood-eating habits, and play a pivotal role in acquiring and transporting this vital sustenance back to the colony to support the queen and the rest of the termite community.


Soldiers among subterranean termites are a distinct caste tasked with safeguarding the existing colony. They are equipped with formidable mandibles and are ever ready to defend their nest against potential threats, ensuring the protection and longevity of the termite community.

Reproductive Altes or Swarmers

Reproductive alates, or swarmers, are specialized individuals within mature colonies. These alates are responsible for venturing out to form new colonies, typically numbering a few hundred individuals, by mating and laying the groundwork for the expansion of the termite population beyond the boundaries of the original colony.

The Queen

The queen in a termite colony is the largest and longest-lived member, primarily responsible for reproduction, laying thousands of eggs daily. Her pheromones also play a crucial role in regulating the behavior and unity of the termite colony, making her an indispensable figure in the termite social structure.

Contacting a Pest Professional for Treatment

Protecting your home from termites is incredibly important, especially in sub-tropical climates where termite activity is at its peak. Traditional termite treatments can be labor-intensive and involve the use of large amounts of insecticide to create a protective barrier around your property. However, there is a more efficient solution available: the Sentricon® System with Always Active™ technology.

The Sentricon System takes a different approach by targeting the source of the termite problem. It utilizes "worker" termites, unknowingly turning them into carriers of bait material back to their colonies. This innovative system contains bait with a slow-acting chemistry that disrupts termite molting once consumed. This effectively eliminates entire colonies, including the termite queen responsible for their reproduction.

To ensure maximum effectiveness, strategically positioned Sentricon System stations are placed around your home. These stations contain enough bait to control multiple termite colonies. What's even more impressive is that termites have shown a strong preference for the bait over wood in side-by-side tests, choosing it 14 times more frequently. As the bait matures, cracks, and develops mold, termites become even more attracted to it.

With annual servicing and regular replacement of consumed bait devices, the Sentricon System provides continuous and long-term protection for your home against termites. Don't let these destructive pests take over – invest in the proven effectiveness of the Sentricon System today!

Service pro checking termite station
All U Need Service Pro Checking Sentrion for Termite Damage

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