Termites are such small insects, most being roughly 10mm in length, that it's hard to believe the amount of damage they can cause. But, get them in large numbers and they can be a serious menace to your home. If you want to know what kind of damage they can cause, read on.
Termites live off cellulose food sources, the prime example of that being wood. That's why your home is so popular for them to colonise in. Termites can attack your foundations, floor joists, even your furniture, and if they go undetected can be a very expensive problem.
Individually, termites can't do a whole lot of damage. But get them in colonies of between several hundred and several million members, and that's where the damage lies. They've got an incredibly intricate and successful social structure with each member of the colony being given a specific role to perform. Because they're so regimented, and because worker termites quite literally work for 24 hours a day, they're very successful in what they do. Unfortunately, what they do is often devouring your home.
Termites cause an estimated $5 billion worth of property damage every year. This doesn't happen overnight though - it's thought that an infestation can take between 3 and 8 years to cause serious damage. Although this sounds like a long time, an infestation is incredibly hard to spot, and it's likely to have been running rampant through your home for many years before you being to spot the tell-tale signs. This is why it's so important to know what to look for and the type of damage an infestation can cause.
Termites attack wood from the inside out, which is why they're so difficult to see. You'll probably only notice their presence when your wood starts to soften or dent easily, or if your support structures start to rot. Look out for dents in the skirting board when you vacuum, or window frames mottling. Paint might start to bubble or floorboards might show damage particularly easily. Make sure you catch it soon, or you might end up falling right through them!