You’ve just found the home of your dreams, were approved by your lender, and scheduled a home inspection. That’s all you need to do, right? Well, not quite. Your next step should be to call your local pest control company to schedule a termite inspection.
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What Is A Termite?
Before we dive in, you should know what termites are and why they matter to you. While these insects come in many varieties, subterranean termites are most concerning because they are wood destroying organisms.
Because you home’s frame, window sills, rafters, sub-floor, and crawlspace are made from lumber, a termite colony can easily destroy your property. No wonder the little terrors cost over $5 billion in damage each year.
Why Do I Need A Termite Inspection?
Like carpenter ants, drywood termites burrow in wood, hollowing it out. This weakens the lumber and may even require you to replace affected areas. This work is both costly and time-consuming – the last thing you’d want to deal with after moving into your new home.
Unlike other insects, termites are not easily visible because they burrow inside wood. However, a trained eye can spot signs of an infestation, which is why having a pest control company conduct an inspection is a good idea. After all, you’are about to make a major purchase. Why risk it over a measly inspection fee?
Signs Of Termites
Termites are often difficult to see, but there are some tell-tale signs that pest control technicians look for. During their termite inspection, they are looking for these items:
“Swarmers” leave their colony to find a mate and increase their population. As their name implies, these pests fly in swarms, meaning you’ll see them in large groups at night or after it rains. After they establish a colony, they shed their wings and get to work.
Termites make their colonies in wood, so it’s natural to assume that a brittle wood that sounds hollow when knocked upon is a sign of termites.
Found around nests and colonies, mud tubes are tunnels constructed by termites to keep them safe and dry. These are often a tell-tale sign of a termite infestation.
After eating wood, a termite has to digest it. A telltale sign? The presence of what can be described as sawdust or small pellets.
Tip: Don’t wait until you see one of the above signs. Have your home inspected every two years, or more if you are in a high-risk area.
Termite Inspection Pricing
Whether you are buying a new home or just want peace of mind, you should schedule a termite inspection. Because termites can strike at any time, the pros suggest having your home inspected at least once per year.
According to Angie’s List, termite inspections range in price from $75 to $150. While most companies will visit an existing home for free, new home inspections will incur a fee as they are looking for multiple types of wood-destroying insects.
Picking a good vendor can be hard, especially when so many fly-by-night companies are found in your yellow pages. Here are our favorite companies. Each of these brands has proven their model and are highly lauded for their pricing, customer service, and effectiveness.
As one of the world’s largest pest control companies, Terminix has the inspection process locked down. A non-home sale inspection is free and customer largely report good experiences with their pricing and technicians.
Well-known across the country, Orkin is a franchised pest control company known for their red logo and professionally-dressed inspectors. They offer free termite inspections, given they are not tied to a home sale.
Mainly servicing the South, family-owned Arrow Exterminators is the 6th largest pest control company in the US. As a large company, they also provide free inspections so long are they are not sale related.
If your termite inspection results show signs of an infestation, don’t panic. Each of the pest control services we’ve listed above have affordable treatment plans to return your house to normal in no time. There are typically three treatment options available:
This option utilizes an in-ground bait station that attracts termites, effectively taking them away from the house. They then take the bait back to the colony, feed on it, and they die. This is a good option for termite damage that has been caught early on.
A technician creates a trench around your yard and drills into your concrete foundation. Then they spray a chemical into the trench and holes to create a barrier against termites as they dig, stopping them in their tracks. Typically, these treatments are used along with the baiting system to ensure redundancy.
The most extreme option is fumigation, in which a house is “tented” and gas is sprayed into your home. Although expensive (per Angie’s list, this service averages $4,000), it’s highly effective.
A benefit of using a national company is that the plans come with guarantees. All three of our recommended companies guarantee their work. If you find termites after they’ve treated the home, they’ll come back, free of charge. Terminix specifically points out that as long as you keep your recurring service with them, they’ll cover the cost of any damage repair costs if termite activity is detected.
Should You Get A Termite Inspection?
For the reasons we’ve listed above, it’s a very good idea to get a termite inspection. Not only are they usually free, but they can save you tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs. Even better, most companies perform their inspections for free. So there’s no excuse in delaying – call one of our recommended vendors today.