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A termite infestation is a phenomenon that fills every homeowner with dread. Termites feed relentlessly, and the threat of permanent damage to the woodwork in the house is real and imminent. So much so that on average, Americans spend close to $5 billion a year on termite control and repairs.
Normally, most of us wouldn’t bother about a termite inspection unless we were buying a home. And that negligence can cost you a lot in repairs and maintenance later.
This makes it important for you as a homeowner to not only get a home inspection for termites at least once annually but to also learn how to recognize signs of a termite infestation. Read on to learn more about how you can protect your home from termites.
When you get your home inspected, termite inspectors generally look for the following telltale signs to confirm the presence of these pests. Looking out for these signs may help you detect the presence of termites earlier, although in most cases, termites aren’t noticeable until they’ve wreaked havoc on their surroundings.
Mud tubes are made by subterranean termites to act as a highway of sorts between their nests and the wood they’re feeding on.
A sure sign of their presence, subterranean termites construct these pipes, which are around the width of a pencil, not just as a pathway that connects the nest to the wood, but also to protect them against predators and to prevent dehydration.
While the presence of mud tubes confirms the presence of subterranean termites, the absence of these tubes does not mean your home is termite-free. Some types of termites, such as dry wood termites, do not make tubes at all.
A surefire way to confirm the presence of termites in your home is to knock on the wood. If it sounds hollow, it means the termites have gotten to it already. Another sign that serious termite activity has damaged wood in your home is if the structural joints look crushed or rippled. If you see a tunnel running parallel to the grain of the wood, you can be sure of the presence of subterranean termites.
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As the weather gets warmer where you live, the termites in your home are likely to move to cooler climes en masse. When this happens, they often shed their wings, which you will find in mounds in your home.
Termites don’t just damage doors, windows, and furniture, they also damage drywall. When gives air easy access between the paint and the surface, which in turn causes the paint to buckle.
However, keep in mind that paint buckles for other reasons as well, so this may not be a definitive sign of the presence of termites.
Termite droppings, also known as frass, are tiny, granular pellets shaped like ovals. If you do have a termite problem, you are likely to find frass near window sills, baseboards, and door frames.
Where to look
When you call in termite inspectors, they will obviously look into your basements, garages, and crawl spaces for signs of termites. Here are some of the other places they are likely to inspect.
- Wooden structures such as decks, arbors, and sheds will be checked for termites. A word to the wise: use termite-proof materials while building these structures.
- Termites are likely to make a quick meal of your wooden fencing before attacking your home, so those will be inspected as well.
- Firewood is a great food source for termites, so your stack for the winter is a good place to look for pesky pests.
- Wood mulch may seem unlikely, but that’s another treat for termites you may have in your home.
- Cracks in brick constructions and expansion joints will also need to be inspected since they make perfect entry points for termites to enter your home.
Hiring termite inspectors
If you’re looking at hiring experienced and reliable termite inspectors, you ought to reach out to the top pest control agencies in your area. They are the ones who have trained technicians capable of detecting the presence of these wood-destroying organisms and helping you remedy the damage.
The national average cost for a termite inspection in the United States is around $100, with the lowest charge being $50 and the highest around $280. However, top pest control agencies such as Orkin and Terminix offer free termite inspections.
Termite treatment, on the other hand, could range from as low as $67 to a high of $1,517. The national average is $573.