Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Initial Signs of Termite Infestation AKA "What Is This Pile of Dark Sand?"

Termites love Hawaii. In fact, they love all warm weather places, like Texas and Florida. There is no harsh winter to freeze the little buggers, so they live here happily all year round keeping you company.  Unless you happen to be one of those rare people who lives high up on Haleakala Crater, where it is very cold. Or if you live in a specially built house.

The Spanish hospitality greeting, “Mi Casa Es Su Casa” (My Home is Your Home) is beloved by termite guests.  Hospitality to termites means Your Home is also Their Food. It’s not just the wood in your Maui Jungalow that entices termites, but also any furniture you may have. If you’re lucky, your Maui Jungalow was built using termite-treated wood, subject to a special chemical process that makes the wood look greenish with crystal residues on the exposed saw cuts.  Or your Maui Jungalow was built using concrete or a super hard wood like koa. If you’re not lucky, then your Maui Jungalow was slapped together by smokin’ tokin’ surfer hippy dudes (and dudettes) using untreated wood plus some odds and ends and might as well have a big flashing neon sign on it saying “EAT ME.”

It may take a while to realize that your Maui Jungalow is in fact infested by termites. Initially, termites are very discrete and hardly noticeable. As times goes by, they start leaving very distinct marks of their presence.

Termite signs include:

1.  Little pukas (Hawaiian for “holes”). Holes in the wood of your window frame, your furniture, the ceiling, your bed frame.

Termite pukas (holes) in the window sill.

More termite holes and some "tracks" or "burrows."

2.  Bigger troughs and furrows, as the holes get larger and larger:

Extended burrows through this section of wood tile in the floor. For some reason, only this particular square of wood has a lot of termite damage.

3.  Little piles of termite poop. The color will vary depending on the kind of wood they’ve been eating. The poop is very firm like little grains of evenly uniform sand. It does not feel gross, since it’s basically leftover constituents of chewed up wood that couldn’t be digested. I usually see used dark or reddish termite poop but have also seen very pale yellow termite poop under pale yellow furniture.

A few termite droppings on the counter.

More termite droppings, both black and light, on the rug. It looks like ground pepper.

4.  Little translucent wings along the bathroom sink, bathtub or shower, kitchen sink, window frames, door ways, and random other places like underneath light fixtures. These are the wings of termite adolescents who have dropped their wings and are now somewhere inside a piece of yummy wood. 

Some termite wings on the window sill.

Don't you love Maui?  Enjoy your pet termites.

P.S. If you've enjoyed this post, you will LOL reading
about amateur termite treatment.


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