When termite infestation gets severe, termites show up in the unlikeliest of places and things.
Your carpets are one of them.
Termites in carpets and rugs are common yet shocking signs of termite presence in your home.
You’d notice termites crawling on the carpets and floor.
In this guide, you’ll find out why termites in carpets are a warning signal that you should never ignore.
Plus, you’ll also find out a 4-step guide on how to get rid of termites in carpets and what’s the best solution for that.
3 Reasons For Termites In Carpets
Why are there termites in your carpets and rugs?
How did they get there?
But most importantly, why do you need to know it?
Knowing the root cause of termites in carpets will help you attack the source of termites while you’re getting rid of them.
So, here are the top 3 reasons for termites in carpets and rugs.
- Termite infestation in your home.
- The floor has dampness.
- There are termites on the subfloor.
Let’s look at each of them.
#1 – Termite Infestation In Your Home
Well, the truth of the matter is that if there weren’t any termites in your home, there wouldn’t be any termites in the carpet.
Termite in carpets is a clear sign of termite infestation in your home.
Termites attack homes either from underground or by flying into your home in swarms.
The termites that attack homes from underground are subterranean termites.
The ones that fly in are drywood termites. But subterranean termites can also fly in.
The flying termites are known as alates. Alates are the reproductive stage of termites when they form wings.
These alates will quit their current colonies to look out for new places to invade.
They’ll fly in swarms, invading homes and wooden structures.
Once inside a home, these alates will lose their wings, mate, and drill into wooden furniture, joists, beams, and floor to start a new colony.
So, if you see termites in the carpet, it means that termites have already invaded your home. And they’ve infested your home’s floor too.
If your wooden floors don’t have woods that termites avoid, then surely termites will destroy the floor too.
It also means that there are termites in other parts of your home, which you aren’t aware of.
#2 – The Floor Has Dampness
Termites in carpets make two things clear.
First, the floor has termites. And the second, the wooden floor has too much moisture in it.
If there’s anything else other than cellulose that keeps termites alive, it’s the moisture.
Woods with low to no moisture aren’t attractive to termites.
High dampness in the floor makes the wooden floor susceptible to attack from subterranean termites from underground.
Attack of subterranean termites on the floor from underground is widespread mobile homes.
These termites will build mud tubes from the ground to reach the floor.
But keep in mind that drywood termites can also reach the floor while they continue their destruction from the top, like ceilings, joists, and beams.
#3 – Termites In Subfloor
Subfloors are the first thing that termites attack before they reach the main floor and the carpet.
It happens most often when the attack is from subterranean termites. It’s because they attack from beneath the floor’s surface.
Also, the subfloors’ softer wood is a more appealing target for termites.
In a home with a wooden floor, a floor has three sections. Subfloors, joists, and the main wooden floor on which you walk.
The joists support the subfloor. The subfloor is underneath the wooden main floor, providing it strength and stability.
The worst part is that most subfloors are made of woods that termites love to devour.
Plywood and pinewood are some of the woods that builders use most commonly to build subfloors.
So, even though the termites haven’t reached your carpet, they can be on the subfloor.
And to look for new sources of food, termites will crawl up from the subfloors and show up on the carpet.
Termite infestation in the subfloor is menacing. It puts the structural robustness of your home at risk.
The above three are the main reasons for termites on the floor and the carpet.
But how would you know that there are termites in carpets and floors?
The following section goes deeper into the signs of termites in carpets.
5 Signs Of Termites In Carpets
Signs of termites under the carpets can be tricky to spot.
It’s because the signs take time to show up. At the early stages of infestation, these signs might not be visible.
In this section, you’ll find out what signs tell you there are termites under the carpet.
These signs are also an indication that termites have inflicted some severe damage on the floor.
If you are observant, it will help spot the signs on the floor and the carpets or rugs.
Here are the five signs of termites in carpets –
- Termite sightings
- Termite dust
- Hollow and crackling sound on the floor
- Holes on the carpet
- Termite wings
Let’s look at each one of them.
#1 – Termite Sightings
There’s no sure-shot sign of termite presence in your home and carpets other than sightings of live termites.
Termites will come out of the floor through tiny holes and crawl on the carpet.
These termites will be white or off-white. Some may even have big brown heads.
The big brown head can confuse you. You may think that they’re ants.
To confirm if they’re termites, look at their abdomen. If it’s whitish and then they for sure are termites.
But don’t expect that you’d see these termites as frequently as you’ll see ants.
It’s because termites leave their nests very rarely. When they’re nesting on the floor, they get their food from the floor’s wood.
But the presence of cellulose in carpets made of wool, silk, or a blend of both can draw them out.
That leads to the next sign of termites in carpets.
#2 – Holes On The Carpet
Termites will chew on the carpet, especially when the carpet has natural fibers like wool and silk.
Why do termites do it?
It’s because natural fibers contain cellulose that termites eat.
Cellulose and moisture are the two things that keep termites alive.
The cellulose in the carpet will make the termites chew on different areas in the carpet.
That’ll lead to tiny holes in the carpet.
These tiny holes, along with the termites’ physical sightings, are signs of termites under the carpet.
#3 – Termite Dust On The Carpet And Floor
Termite dust is a sandy pile of wood with black pepper-like tiny pebbles on it.
Termite dust is a mixture of wood and the feces that termites discard from their nest in the wood.
You’d notice termite dust near the holes on the floor or in the carpet.
But there’s a catch.
The dust might not be overtly visible like it actually is when termites are in the walls or when termites infest wooden furniture.
It’s because the dust falls from the top.
But sometimes, you’d notice the dust on the floor and the carpet.
It happens when termites tend to come out of the floor looking for a new piece of wood to infest.
#4 – Cracking And Buckling Sound From The Floor
Cracking and buckling sound from the floor is not only a telltale sign of termites in carpets but also an ominous sign.
It means that the floor underneath the carpet is severely damaged.
The termite infestation in your home is either severe or spreading far and wide inside your house.
A hollow floor not only puts you at the risk of injuries but also jeopardizes the structural integrity of your home.
The floor underneath the carpet can break or buckle down while you walk on it.
#5 – Termite Wings On The Floor And Carpet
Now, this is a subtle sign of termites in the carpet.
It might suggest that termites are in the floor, but it indicates that termites have invaded your home.
Alates, or reproductive termites, dispose of wings before they mate and drill inside wooden structures.
Alates invade homes in swarms. Artificial light attracts them, and they enter homes through open doors and windows.
Alates leave their current colonies to reproduce and establish new colonies in a new home or human dwelling.
Alates can be of both subterranean and drywood termites.
And termite wings on the floor are an early sign of termite infestation.
To ensure termites are inside the floor or on any other wooden piece in your home, including on the structural wood of your home, look for tiny pinholes.
Broken wings with minute pinholes on the floor indicate that termites are now on your home’s floor.
And soon they’ll damage both the floor and the carpet.
How To Get Rid Of Termites In Carpets And Floors
In all honesty, termites in carpets and floors are not something you should deal with on your own.
Termites are tough pests to get rid of from your home. And they hide and infest your home’s most inaccessible corners.
That’s why it’s hard to detect termite infestations.
By the time you notice termite presence in your home, it’s too late, or termites have inflicted enough damage in your home.
So, it’d be best if you hire an expert pest controller when you notice termites in carpets and floors.
But, as a stopgap arrangement, here’s a 4-step guide to get rid of termites in carpets.
#1 – Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth On The Carpet And Vacuum The Carpet
Diatomaceous earth kills bugs like ants, termites, and roaches that depend on moisture to survive.
Diatomaceous earth penetrates the exoskeleton of bugs and deprives them of moisture. It causes the bugs to die.
So, sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the carpet and let it sit on the carpet for an hour or two.
Then vacuum clean the carpet thoroughly.
Ensure that you vacuum clean the edges of the carpet and the portion of the carpet underneath the furniture.
There are two alternatives to diatomaceous earth, termite dust, and boric acid.
Termite dust is poisonous. We don’t recommend using it, especially when you’ve kids, the elderly, pets in your home.
But if you use it, ensure that you wear the necessary protective gear and read the instructions on the packet before use.
After applying termite dust, vacuum the carpet.
If the carpet is washable, then spraying a mixture of boric acid and lukewarm water is a great option.
You can check the post on the boric acid termite killer recipe to know more about it.
After spraying, give the carpet for dry cleaning.
Dry cleaning will get rid of both the smell of the spray and the termite dust on it.
#2 – Remove The Carpet On The Floor And Use Termite Spray On The Floor
Termites in carpets are a sure sign of termites on the floor.
After vacuuming the carpet, remove the carpet from the floor.
Spray a termite spray on the floor. Ensure that you spray on the gaps between the wooden beams and the tiny holes on the floor.
If the floor isn’t sounding hollow, then you can drill a few holes on the floor.
Spray the termite spray in those holes.
Doing that will kill the termites that are directly underneath the wooden layer.
#3 – Seal Any Gaps And Cracks On The Floor To Stop Termites From Spreading
Sealing the gaps, pinholes, and cracks on the floor will ensure that termites don’t come out of these holes and spread in other areas of your home.
Use a reliable quality sealant to caulk these gaps. Silicone-based sealants do the work well.
These sealants are strong, and bugs can’t chew through them. Also, they can easily last for a decade.
#4 – Hire A Pest Controller
Remember, these steps will not purge your home of termites.
Getting rid of termites on the floor and in the carpet is only a temporary solution.
Termites in the carpet and floor are pretty severe signs of termite infestation.
It tells you that you need to get rid of termites in other parts of your home.
Also, there can be many biting bugs in the carpet.
If termites are in your carpet, then they can invite ants. Because ants eat termites.
So, it’d be best if you hire a pest controller asap.
Can Termites Live On The Carpet?
No, termites can’t live on the carpet. It’s because carpet fibers don’t have enough cellulose and moisture to sustain termites.
And termites eat 24/7, 365. They multiply fast, and they need a continuous supply of wood and other materials that have enough cellulose.
Termites in carpets signify that termites are on the floor and in other parts of your home.
Do Termites Eat Carpet?
Termites won’t devour the entire carpet as such.
But they’ll eat particular sections of the carpet that has natural fibers with cellulose in it.
That’s the reason why you’d notice some holes and worn-out sections on the carpet if termites attack the carpet and rugs.
Also, termites will eat the carpet tack strip if it’s not made of wood that repels termites.
Do Termites Eat Laminate Flooring?
Yes, termites can eat and damage laminate flooring.
Laminate floors contain particleboard wood that is prone to termite infestation.
Also, the portion underneath the laminate has elements of wood that termites can chew through.
Laminate flooring is thin. Termite damage on a laminate flooring looks like the floor has water damage.
There’ll be bubbles forming on the laminate floor. And you’ll also notice that the laminates on the floor surface are peeling off.
When attacked by termites, laminate floors buckle and sag faster than hardwood floors.
That makes it riskier.
Termite damage to the laminate floor is irreparable. You’d have to replace the entire laminated floor with a new one after termite treatment.
Termites in carpets are warning signs of a thriving termite infestation not just on the floor but also in your home.
You’ve found out the reasons for termites in carpets and the floor, how they get there, and what the signs are.
There’s also a 4-step process to get rid of termites in carpets and floors.
You’ve also learned why hiring a pest controller is the best option when you observe termite infestation.
But do you know that it’s not only carpets that are the most unusual things that termites can damage?
Termites can be inside the walls of your home too.
To know more about it, read our post on termites in walls.
We’re Mark and Jim, and we’re retired pest controllers who made homes pest-free for more than three decades. We, along with our team of experts, founded this site to give you the pest control hacks that work.