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Termite Inspections: Here's what you need to know

Table of Contents

Introduction to a termite infestation

When a termite inspector comes to your home, they will start on the first floor, looking for any evidence of an infestation along the baseboards, drywall, and door frames. They will also pay special attention to the water sources, such as pipe entry points. 

After a thorough search of the first floor, they will move on to the upper levels, looking for dampwood or drywood termites.

The Termite Inspection Process

The Termite Inspection Process starts with inspecting your property for signs of termite infestation. Termites often begin their attack near a woodpile that provides easy access to the house.

Before having a termite inspector come to your home, it is a good idea to cut back bushes and shrubs that block access to your home’s foundation. The inspector will also look for mud tubes in the interior walls.

While termites are very small and hard to detect, you can make an impression of them by looking at the locations where you have spotted them. Termites often swarm near doorways and windows.

The inspector will also look for pieces of termites’ wings. If they see these pieces, there is a good chance they’re in a colony. This process will be able to determine how active a colony is.

The inspector will begin on the first floor and look for signs of termite infestation along baseboards, wall framing, and wood. They will also check the soil around your home.

Termites live in damp and dry wood, so the inspector will look for dampwood termites as well as drywood. Once the inspector has confirmed that the home is infested, the inspector will move on to the upper floors to look for evidence of these creatures.

What are the signs of termites?

There are some telltale signs of termite infestation. Drywood termites nest in wood, creating tunnels to eat the wood. Termites then discard their droppings.

These are typically one millimeter long and resemble wood shavings or sawdust. Termite droppings can be found anywhere where wood is present. If you have a home with an attic, you can also look for these droppings. Soldier termites also make clicking noises as a way to warn you of their presence.

Another tell-tale sign of subterranean termites is sagging floors or warped window frames. These symptoms may be related to damp weather. However, termites also cause wood warping, making it easier to spot. Subterranean termites excavate tunnels as well, so that is another thing to look out for in a termite inspection.

Look for dry dirt near any of these areas. Once you notice a termite tunnel, inspect the area for signs of damage. Termites can destroy your property by consuming the wood in your home.

A dark, white-winged insect is another sign of live termites. This swarm is the sign of a mature infestation, meaning that it is over three years old.

While one termite swarm may land on your foot in your yard, you won’t see a full swarm. Only a few swarmers will nest in your yard. The swarm will also leave a trail of destruction.

Who is best for termite inspection?

Before deciding who is the best termite inspector for your home, you should consider several factors. If you are looking for someone who will do an in-depth inspection, you should choose an experienced and licensed pest controller.

A licensed inspector will explain the process of inspecting your home for termites and will discuss any concerns you have. Depending on the type of termite infestation, the inspector may recommend drilling small holes in your walls to detect their presence.

In addition to a good inspection, you should look for damage on wooden surfaces, especially wood ones. Look for cracks and ripples, as well as spots of drywall that look hollow to the touch.

Termite infestations will also affect the structure of your home and cause extensive damage. The signs of termites are often noticeable, like peeling paint or discolored drywall.

If you hear a hollow sound when knocking on a wall, the termites have made an entry point.

Subterranean termites

There are several different types of termite inspections. Subterranean termite inspections focus on the lowest levels of your home, while Formosan inspections target the crawl spaces and attics.

Drywood termite inspectors concentrate on areas of the home that are accessible. These areas can be affected by termites, and damage to wooden furniture can be extensive. Regardless of the type of termite activity in your home, you should schedule an inspection annually to prevent costly damage.

How to prepare for a termite inspection

If you’re thinking about getting a termite inspection, here are some tips to help you prepare. First, make sure your yard is as clean as possible. Termites like to live outdoors, so remove anything that might get in their way. You should also keep your backyard weed-free and tidy to make it easier for the inspector.

The inspector will be able to do a thorough inspection and give you a personalized termite treatment plan.

Next, clear out any items that may block the inspection area. This may include items that are stored under your sinks, against walls, or underneath sinks. Similarly, make sure your attic access is free of obstacles.

Lastly, move furniture away from walls so that the inspector can get a thorough inspection. Once this is done, the inspector will be ready to begin the inspection. Hopefully, the inspection will be quick and painless.

The inspector will need to see some evidence of termite activity, both inside and outside of the home. Look for damage to the wood, mud tubes on walls, broken wings, and droppings. If you notice any of these signs, the inspector will be able to confirm the presence of termites.

You should also remove any items that are blocking your exterior access, including shrubs or plants. When you’ve done these steps, the inspector will have a much easier time finding the termite nest.

How much does a termite inspection cost?

You might ask yourself how much a termite inspection costs from a professional pest control company. The answer to this question depends on the extent of your infestation, the number of infestations, and the frequency of visits.

Some may think you can get a free termite inspection, but actually, a basic inspection plan costs between $125 and $1,500 per year. Some companies offer quarterly rechecks and monthly or quarterly visits.

You may also choose to purchase a termite bond if you suspect a serious infestation.

To get the best price, it is best to hire a reputable company. Otherwise, you may pay too much for an incorrect diagnosis, which can lead you to overpay for treatments.

While you can learn to look for certain symptoms yourself, termite inspections are best done by professionals, as you may end up paying more than necessary. Furthermore, termite treatments vary depending on the size of your home, the number of structures on your property, and the type of termite damage you are seeing.

One-time initial termite inspections can cost anywhere from $50 to $350, depending on the area you live in. However, you may be better off paying more than this, as termite infestations can lead to expensive structural damage if you don’t catch the problem early.

For this reason, it is crucial to get a termite inspection at least every two years or more, especially if you are prone to pest infestations.

What Termite Control Inspectors Look For

A termite inspection from a pest control company involves looking for evidence of wood-destroying insects, wood damage, mud tubes, a termite colony, or fungi. Bubbling paint may be a definite sign of a termite problem or a sign of bad termite damage from these wood-destroying organisms.

Termites can enter your home through wood-to-earth contact, which occurs in fence posts that are attached to siding, other wooden structures, damaged wood, or even brittle drywall.

The inspector should note the conditions in these areas, and suggest possible inspection methods.

For example, he may recommend drilling small holes in walls or landscaping near exterior walls to access your home’s structure. Termite inspectors can offer various termite control programs. However, be aware that not all programs are created equally. Schedule a free inspection to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.

The inspector will examine all accessible areas of your home, looking for signs of activity and visible signs of damage from previous termites. He will also check any areas that may be conducive to termite activity, such as wood mulch near the foundation, wooden deck supports, and wood-to-ground contact.

During the inspection, the inspector may recommend a termite treatment plan based on his findings.

Key Areas to Inspect

When considering hiring a termite inspector, there are some key areas you should look for. Most homeowners focus on the inside of their home, but there are also areas the inspector should inspect outside of your home, such as your crawl space and the front and back yards. To make the inspection process go more smoothly, move any objects that may get in the inspector’s way.

If you have a garage, you should move any items that are two feet or more from the walls. To complete a thorough inspection, make sure to clear the opening to your crawl space, as well as any doors and windows.

Another area that inspectors can’t see is the attic. You can’t see it if you have insulation on the walls, built-in shelves, or a deck close to the home. Additionally, plants that cover the foundation can block their access. Make sure these areas are accessible. If you have a garage, make sure to clear the space out so the inspector can reach the attic.

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