Vector illustration on the theme of Termite Awareness Week

Contributed by the NPMA

Termites are one of the most destructive pests on the planet, chewing through wood at an alarming rate. If you think termites are just a household pest, think again. These pests do not discriminate and pose a huge threat to the structure of commercial facilities. This Termite Awareness Week — March 6 – 12, 2022 — the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is equipping facility managers with the information they need to protect their facility from a termite issue. 

“Each year, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage, which is more like $6.8 billion when you adjust for current inflation. These heavy costs can take a huge bite out of your facility management budget and can even be detrimental to your business’ bottom line,” says Cindy Mannes, senior vice president of Public Affairs for NPMA. “Termites are also known as silent destroyers because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper, this makes a regular inspection by your pest control partner an imperative step during termite season.” 

To combat the damage these pests can cause, it is important that commercial facility managers and employees know the top five tell-tale signs of a termite infestation: 

Sign #1: Swarmers 

Swarmers are young female and winged termites that often invade structures in the springtime. They especially seek out buildings that have sustained damage from severe winter weather. Once swarmers have determined your facility to be a good fit, it’s likely that the rest of the termite colony will follow. 

Sign #2: Discarded Wings

The discarded wings of swarmers can often be found near windows and doors and are often the first and only outwardly visible sign of a termite problem 

Sign #3: Wood Damage 

Termites tend to eat wood from the inside out, so wood that sounds hollow when tapped often signifies a termite infestation. Facility managers should also look for rotting wood.

Sign #4: Frass

Drywood termites produce wood-colored droppings as they eat through infested wood. If a facility manager or employee finds a small pile of what looks like pellets inside or outside the building, it could be a sign of a drywood termite infestation.  

Sign #5: Mud Tubes 

Subterranean termites build mud tubes to provide moisture when they travel between their colony and a food source. Mud tubes are most often found near the building’s foundation. 

In order to prevent an infestation and costly termite damage, the NPMA recommends facility managers eliminate or correct any moisture concerns as termites need water for their populations to thrive. Also, be sure to schedule an annual termite inspection with your licensed pest control partner who specializes in termite control work as they can properly identify the species and treat the issue before it gets out of hand.