Can you tell if the windowsill in the photo above has termite damage or wood rot? It can be difficult to tell the difference because both have similar appearances. Both issues are cause for concern, but termites can cause considerable damage to your entire home once an infestation starts.  We’ll explain the differences between termite damage and wood rot so you will be prepared if you see any damage around your home.

Termite Damage

Subterranean termites are the most common and destructive termites in the United States. They live in colonies underground and feed on plant cellulose and wood. Cracks and crevices in your home give termites access to the wood in your home and they will invite themselves in. They move through tunnels, and it can be difficult to recognize their presence until they’ve done quite a bit of damage (thus prevention is your best defense).

Wood Rot

Wood rot is a type of wood decay triggered by the consistent presence of moisture. Damp wood allows fungi to grow, causing damage from the inside out. Fungi carry moisture further into the wood causing more damage. Like termites, fungi destroy wood by hollowing it out.

The Difference

Wood Rot.

Here is how you can tell the difference:

  • Wood damaged by termites may look normal from the outside but will have tunnels on the inside

  • Wood destroyed by wood rot breaks off into cube-like patterns

The image on the left shows how sneaky termites can be. They can burrow into the structure of your home without leaving much evidence. The photo on the right shows the rigid cube pattern caused by wood rot.

it's important to know which type of damage you are dealing with before it can be resolved.  Unfortunately, both types of damage can be present together since termites are attracted to decaying wood.

Can You Guess?

Now that you know the difference, can you guess which type of damage the windowsill has? It’s wood rot.

If you spot wood damage on your home, it’s best to call a professional to rule out a termite infestation or to help you with a solution if termites are present. Pest control technicians have years of training to be able to find, diagnose, and treat the pest problems in your home.

For more information about termites and what you can do to prevent them from getting into your North Carolina home or business, see our Termite Defense Guide.