Irrefutable Evidence or Signs of Termites In Furniture

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Termites are a constant headache for the home owners of certain regions.

They destroy the structural elements, spoil the looks of the wooden surfaces and chew your furniture.

And all this so silently and carefully that it’s sometimes too late to notice.

It’s always a pity if you didn’t notice the termite infestation in your favorite cupboard before the damage is irreversible, so what are the signs that can help you suspect the termite infestation in your furniture?

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Different termites – different signs

Let’s start from the evidence of presence termites in furniture: signs that should be taken into account immediately after appearance. First of all, the signs you notice will usually help you determine what kind of termite is your enemy. With a high probability, if we talk about the furniture that is in active use in your house, you’re dealing with drywood termites colony.

This guys can build their nests in as little as one plank of wood and, being specially equipped for it, they don’t need any water or moisture source next to their colony.

Learn more about drywood termites: signs of their activity; best methods of treatment: spot treatment and DIY methods; how to get rid of them in furniture?

Photo 2But if you’re suspecting the termite infestation inside a piece of furniture that was stored somewhere, the enemy can be a different one.

Storing the wooden things in the cellar with the high humidity, or the garage that has a lot of moisture, can lead to the subterranean termites finding it.

The colony of this species needs enough liquid to survive.

The other characteristic detail is that the colony itself is not nesting in the wooden structure, but in the soil.

So the termites inside your furniture are the visitors and not inhabitants. Which can be helpful, because it’s enough to dry this piece of wood on the sun and the termites stuck in it will die, leaving your furniture pest-free.

Learn more about subterranean termites: signs of their activity; best methods of treatment and DIY methods. Eastern subterranean termites and their tunnels and tubes with photo.

What are the signs?

There are plenty of different small and big signs that can help you to notice the infestation in progress:

  1. Frass.
  2. Damaged wood.
  3. Mud tubes.
  4. Swarmers.

In the sections below we will be speaking about signs of termites in furniture separately.


The presence of frass is a guarantee you’ve got yourself a drywood termites problem.

What is the frass? Technically it’s balls of termite workers’ feces, that are evacuated from the nest while the termites are nibbling through the wood.

You can find it in the most unexpected places, they are very small and in some amount look a lot like the sawdust.

Sometimes they seem so similar that it’s hard to tell the difference. Hard but possible. So, take your magnifying glass:

  • the shape of the balls of frass will be a 6-sided granular;
  • the saw dust has the same coloring. The frass elements can vary in shade.
Now, hide the glass and exercise the simple logic. Is it a place the sawdust might appear in your house? Any reason someone was working with a saw here? No? Then why did you even suspect it’s anything else but frass?

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Damaged wood

The damaged wood can look in many ways. The most obvious and simple sign of termites in wood furniture is the characteristically small drillings (they also form the kick holes, through which the workers push out their frass from the colony corridors). Termite holes in furniture can be easily noticed without any special equipment.

The other types of damage can be rather invisible or unobvious to the human eye. The possible signs include buckling paint, sunken or rippled wall coverings and generally wood damage of any kind.

Once you found the area that seems suspicious you should check it. All you need to do is to tap on it with the dull side of the screwdriver and listen. If you hear the hollow sound, try picking the wood with the sharp edge – there’s a chance you’ll catch the invaders right in the middle of the crime.

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Mud tubes

The mud tubes are the sign of infestation by subterranean termites. There’s little chance you will see them on the wooden furniture itself, but maybe on the walls of the room you were storing it in.

If you noticed some – check any wooden object around for hollowed wood and it will tell you precisely where the termites thrive.

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It’s very rare to see some alive termite workers or soldiers in your house, even if every wooden structure is infested. But one type of colony inhabitants can give you a sign of its presence.

I’m talking about the swarmers, winged reproductive termites.

The swarmers are existing only in fully grown mature colony. On one early sunny morning, usually in spring or summer, they leave the nest all at once, in search for the mate and a perfect spot for the new colony.

That’s the moment you can get caught in the middle of several thousands of tiny winged insects swarm and, believe me, that’s the sign that is hard to turn a blind eye on.

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If you see the swarm emerging from under the ground in the close proximity to your house, that is a good reason to make a full inspection of the house for the subterranean termites.

But this swarm will not necessarily mean that your furniture is in danger, the scale can be much bigger than this, especially if we talk about the Formosan super termite.

But the sign can be much more obvious and basically be an arrow pointing to the exact place of the infestation in case if the drywood termite swarm. It’s been said that this termite colony might exist entirely in one piece of furniture.

So if you see crazy load of flying termites coming from under your favorite sofa you can be certain – this one is infested.

Even if you haven’t seen the swam itself you might see the traces of it even after it’s finished. If you were leaving the house, then the alates couldn’t leave the building if the swarm started inside it.

So, when you come back you might notice the dead swarmers here and there or just see some shed wings, which have exactly same meaning for you.

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Advice! If you’re not sure that the winged insect you found are termites, collect the samples in the plastic zip bag and bring it to the pest control office for identification.

Fake signs

There are some legendary signs as well. Some people will reassure you that the termites you can easily smell, or hear them chewing the wood.

That would be true if we were talking of the mutant dog-sized creatures, but in case of tiny insect this is simply untrue. If you hear weirs sounds – check your household for mice, not termites.

So what to do now?

Let’s say you’ve found one or several signs of the infestation, should you get in the fight against termites straight away? Should you wait?

Well, there’s not much to wait for, unless you want the chair breaking under you give you a clear sign there were termites living in it. Start the treatment immediately, but make sure you are not treating just one of the multiple targets.

So, actually, the first thing that is reasonable to do, is to inspect the house fully. You can try to do it yourself, but my advice will be to let the experienced professionals handle this, at least for the first time.

Photo 11The pest operator will see the specific termite species occupying your territory.

And help you determining the best ways of fighting them.

After this you can choose to use the DIY methods if you see that the infestation didn’t touch more than couple of wooden tables.

In case of the furniture you have a wide range of possible treatments that you can handle yourself:

  • Gas bomb;
  • Boric acid;
  • Orange oil;
  • Hot or cold treatment;
  • Electrocution.

All about treating termites in wood furniture.

And so on. Whatever you chose, make it safe for anyone in your household by making your extermination experiments in the garage or other, separated from the living space, place.

Use the protection of the lungs and skin for yourself and do not try to use the chemicals that are made for the licensed professionals.

Useful articles

If you interested in more information of termites we recommend you to read the following articles:

Helpful video

Watch how termites can damage you furniture:


Once you managed to get rid of the termites in your property, you might need to plan the protection of your house for future. Remember that prevention is usually cheaper than the treatment of the full-blown infestation. So, invest a bit of time and money in taking precautions and keep your furniture safe and strong for many years ahead.

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