How to Check for Termites in Interior Wood Paneling

  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10
What You'll Need
Pry bar

It may be a challenge to look for and detect termites in interior wood paneling. There are certain steps you must take to successfully detect an infestation because termites usually stay hidden until after they have caused extensive damage. With some basic tools and simple steps, you can detect termites before they damage any part of your home.

Step 1 – Look for Signs of an Infestation

A termite infestation may be active or inactive. In either case, it is important to be always on the lookout for termite wings or pellets of fecal matter. These are usually found near windows and other exits and in cobwebs. Termites may also be found near sources of light. Another sign of termite infestation is the presence of mud tubes that are constructed by termites to travel from the soil to sources of food at a higher level. Any of these signs are definite indicators of termite activity in your home. Termite treatment and removal often require the expertise of a professional. You can, however, confirm the presence of termites in interior wood paneling by performing the following steps.

Step 2 – Check the Strength of the Wood

Tap the wood to see the sound that emanates. Use the blunt, flat edge of the screwdriver for this purpose. If the sound is hollow, it may be an indication of problems in the interior. This technique is known as sounding. Probing is another method, wherein a sharp object is used to inspect under the surface of the wood. Use the sharp end of the screwdriver to hit the wood firmly. When you hit the wood parallel with the wood grain, the screwdriver will rip open the wood if it is damaged. If the wood emanates a hollow sound or rips open easily with the screwdriver, take a closer look inside the paneling.

Step 3 – Inspect Inside the Wood Paneling

To inspect interior wood paneling, you might have to remove a board or panel. Use the hammer and pry bar to carefully open the wooden exterior board of an inconspicuous part. Termite activity generally tends to be more in areas closer to the floor, so you can start at the bottom. You may find live termites in the interior wood paneling. Sometimes you may find a past infestation that is no longer active. In either case, you will find the mud tubes that termites use for traveling. Sometimes fecal pellets may be found in parts of the wood.

Step 4 – Arrange for Termite Removal

As soon as you detect termites in interior wood paneling, contact a professional inspector to determine all areas of infestation. Even in the case of an inactive infestation, you must contact a professional to thoroughly inspect all areas of your home. You will also require professional help to fully eradicate termites. After termite eradication, have your home inspected once a year to rule out any termite activity in the future.