One of the most common signs of a wood-destroying insect problem is seeing tiny, round holes drilled into wood. But how do you know if those holes were left by a termite or another insect? These tiny holes are often an indicator of drywood termite activity. When termites swarm to form new colonies, the swarmers (called alates) will depart their nest—this is when the termite exit holes are created. Also known as kick-out holes, these holes are difficult to identify unless you know what you’re looking for. Because they are commonly misidentified, it’s crucial to learn how to identify a termite hole or work with a professional who knows what they look like.
Do All Termites Create Exit Holes?
Only drywood termites create kick-out holes. This is because drywood termites do not need contact with soil and often infest wood above ground. Subterranean termites swarm just like other termites in the spring and summer, but they leave their nests in a very different manner. True to their name, subterranean termites build nests underground and travel through mud tubes. These mud tubes also serve the purpose of being their exit from the nest. Seeing holes on a wooden structure, then, is typically indicative of drywood termite activity.
What Other Insects Leave Holes in Wood?
It can be difficult to know what type of insect has bored holes in wooden items within or outside your property. Other wood-destroying insects capable of creating tiny, round holes include carpenter bees, carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, bark beetles, and more. Each of these exhibit unique behaviors and have different wood preferences, making it difficult to know which wood-boring insect you’re dealing with. For this reason, it’s always best to contact your local pest control experts for help identifying exit holes or holes made by other pests in your home.
Characteristics of Termite Exit Holes
A professional pest control expert is usually the best source to identify exit holes in your property. That said, there are a few indicators that the holes in your wood were caused by termites:
- Termite exit holes are round and no bigger than ⅛ of an inch.
- After the swarmer termites leave the nest, the termite nymphs within the nest will use a paste made out of frass to plug the holes.
- It is rare to see uncovered termite holes, as the nymphs work quickly after the swarmers depart.
- Wood that has been kicked out looks like tiny mustard seeds and can appear in a pile.
Need Help Identifying Termite Holes?
At Ehrlich Pest Control, we know that seeing holes in your wooden structures can be distressing. You can rest easy knowing that our expert termite exterminators will thoroughly inspect your property to seek out termite or other wood-destroying insect activity. For help identifying termite holes in your Virginia property, contact us today!