(image: Rentokil)

Termites are sneaky insects that cause physical damage to electrical wirings and conduits – increasing risks of short circuits and fires – as well as wood furniture. Yes, these insects are scarier than they look!

They not only feed on cellulose from wood, but also wood by-products such as paper. They invade ceilings, walls, door frames, rooftops, and wall panels, covering a distance of 200 to 300 meters and entering cracks as tiny as 0.4mm.

Think you may have an infestation? These are the warning signs, provided by our friends at pest control services Rentokil: 

  • mud shelter tubes, which is a mixture of soil, faeces and saliva. Subterranean termites build mud tubes as protected runways from the heart to the wood they feed on. Without these tubes, termites cannot survive being out in the open.
  • piles of wings, shed from winged termites or swarmers called alates. Termite alerts have four wings, all of the same size. Swarmers emerge when the humidity is high, usually in the evening after the rain – and they go straight to the lighted areas and/or window sills!
  • seeing swarmers outdoors, is a natural phenomenon; but it may mean that termites are near and possibly attacking a nearby building, so be careful. Swarmers inside the house nearly always indicate an active infestation in the structure.
  • damaged woods, which has channels or passages coated with an soil-like material. Where the wood has been infected for some time, it may be largely hollowed out with passages and look rotten. Damaged wood will sound hollow when tapped with a screwdriver.

(image: Fast Action)


  • Fix any leaking pipes and taps, and keep structures dry to avoid providing termites sources of water
  • Seal all cracks around utility and water pipes to keep termites from crawling through these in search of food
  • Remove other possible food source such as unused timber, stumps, or debris from the home premise

It is challenging to manage termite infestation and home owners should refrain from handling this problem on their own. If mishandled, the termites could disperse and set up new colonies in other parts of the home premise. Home owners should not hesitate to contact a pest control provider for a professional consultation and recommendation, and adopt any rectifying measures before the damage worsens.