ABC Blog

Can Termites Spread Through Clothes?

Can termites spread through clothes

Termites are a big threat to your home. How do these dangerous pests find their way onto your property? Can termites spread through clothes? Learn more about termites, their preferred habitats and their behavior so you’ll be better equipped to protect your home against the menace of these wood-munching insects.

Can Termites Travel in Clothes?

The biggest questions homeowners usually have about termites is how they spread. Since termites look similar to ants to the untrained eye, many of us assume termites travel in the same way ants do. That might mean they could crawl into your suitcase while you are packing or hitch a ride in your gym bag when you set it in your garage before you leave.

The truth of the matter is that most of the serious damage done to a home by termites is linked to the subterranean species. These termites prefer to stay close to the soil, as that’s where they find the moisture they need to survive. Subterranean termites are more difficult to spot because they’re hidden underground and inside wood. These termites travel through mud tunnels, galleries inside wood, in cracks along your walls and through earth-to-wood contact.

Since subterranean termites live underground, except in the brief period when swarmers scout out a new nesting site, bringing these termites to another location on your clothing is highly unlikely.

Can Termites Travel in Luggage?

If you see a termite inside your home or on your clothing, you may have spotted a drywood termite. Drywood termites, as their name implies, are most commonly found above ground in sound, dry wood. These termites love to nest under roof shingles and in the siding. Drywood termites are commonly found in Texas, and the simplest way to spot them is by looking for tiny fecal pellets that they leave outside their galleries or even the physical wood damage itself.

Drywood termites are most commonly found a little closer to the Gulf Coast, but it’s not at all unusual to see them as far inland as Central Texas. These termites can feed on clothing and other material that contains cellulose, although it can be difficult to distinguish whether damage to clothing is from termites or another insect.

Another type of subterranean termite is the non-native Formosan subterranean termite. Since they were first introduced to Texas in 1956, these insects have made their way to every major urban center in the state. Formosan termites are especially insidious because they can hitch a ride on wooden furniture and spread quickly to new homes.

As is the case with clothing, chances are very low that you can transport termites in your luggage, unless you pack a wooden item which has been infested. If you are moving, you can unknowingly transport drywood termites on infested furniture, but you are unlikely to spread termites in your moving boxes.

How Did Termites Get in My Home?

Subterranean termites live underground and enter homes through wood has contact with the ground such as decks, doorframes or siding. These termites may also find cracks in your foundation and enter your home by creating mud tunnels through the cracks to gain access to your home.

Drywood termites usually enter your home when swarms descend on cracked wood. Then, these pests build a nest and lay eggs to build their colony. Damage from drywood termites is usually more noticeable after a few years. These termites can enter anywhere there is wood, including from the second story.

Signs You Have Termites

Unfortunately, if you’ve found termites in your clothes, then you likely have a much bigger problem than just replacing a shirt or a pair of pants. Termites are attracted to your body oils and any food or drink you’ve spilled on your clothes. If they found their way into your closet, drywood termites are probably munching away at your home as well. Knowing the signs of termites will help you prevent infestations and stop the destruction of your largest investment.

If you wonder if you might have either type of termites, there are a few things you can look for.

Swarms of Flying Termites 

Swarmers resemble flying ants. This phenomenon is more prevalent in the spring when termites seek out new nesting sites.

Discarded wings

You may see wings on window sills and near doors and other entry points. Spotting this debris can be a tip-off that you have termites.

Fecal pellets

Termite fecal matter is tiny, brown hexagonal pellets usually found on the windowsill or floor. You may find this material around your home, which is also referred to as frass.

Mud tubes

Mud-liketunnels are created from termite activity as they eat their way into your home. These termite highways can be found on the foundation, porch or tree trunks.

Holes in wood

If you notice small holes in your wood, contact an exterminator promptly to determine if the damage is from termites.

Termites in trees 

Termites may make their way into the trees on your property and use branches to travel onto your roof. To keep this from happening, keep your tree branches trimmed and off your roofline and make sure no vegetation is in direct contact with your home’s foundation.

If You Have Termite Trouble, Call ABC

While an unchecked infestation of subterranean termites can be a major threat to your home, you can get rid of termites if they’re caught in time. At the first sign of termites, contact your local pest control experts to discuss your options and protect your property. If you think you may have a termite infestation, contact us at ABC Home & Commercial Services in San Antonio to discuss your options and schedule a free estimate.

Learn More