A single termite might appear harmless, but a whole colony of them can cause severe damage to residential and commercial spaces. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), termites cause more than 5 billion worth of property damage in the United States yearly in homes that are not covered by insurance.
Termites are also challenging insects to eradicate. To cut down on costs, many homeowners choose the DIY route. However, without the knowledge of proper pest control techniques, the effort can lead to potentially costly mistakes. For this reason, professional inspections and pest control services are the best ways to prevent permanent structural damage from a termite infestation.
Don’t let the thought of a termite inspection worry you. Below, we’ll delve into how to handle a termite infestation and the procedures that pest control specialists will follow to eradicate the problem from your home.
What Are Termites?
Termites are considered one of the world’s most destructive insects. They mainly feed on dead plant matter, which includes wooden structures in buildings. They are sometimes referred to as “white ants” even though the two insects are only distantly related.
There are over 2,000 termite species in the world, but the following poses the biggest threat to American homeowners:
- Subterranean: This species is found in every U.S. state except Alaska. They live in underground colonies that can have up to 2 million members. Subterranean termites feed on wood all day and have an almost translucent appearance making them difficult to spot.
- Dampwood: This species feeds on the damp portions of wood, hence the name. They are larger than Subterranean termites and have a reddish-brown color, making them easier to locate. Typically, they don’t infest buildings because wooden structural components have low moisture content.
- Drywood: This species infests dry wood and does not need soil to survive. They burrow in wood to create channels to serve as the colony’s home. Drywood termites are often found in wooden roof and wall supports of buildings.
- Formosan: This species is considered the most aggressive compared to others because they attack a greater variety of wood at a faster rate. Because of this, they are often called “super termites.” They multiply fast and are among the rare termite species that develop wings. Once they infest a particular structure, they can be highly challenging to control.
If you’re unsure about which type of termite is present in your property, the best thing to do is to let professionals perform a termite inspection. Professionals can quickly identify different species, allowing them to create an effective pest control strategy that gets rid of the pests for good.
Importance of Regular Termite Inspections
As long as a structure has wooden components, it is at risk of a termite infestation. Therefore, regular inspections must be conducted to determine if the pests exist on your property, so you can take the necessary steps to eliminate them.
If you’re still on the fence about whether your residential or commercial establishment requires termite inspections, consider the following points:
Termites Act Fast
Don’t let their size fool you – a colony of termites can eat away wooden structures quickly. Different species consume wood at different rates, and the colony’s size is also a significant factor in determining how quickly they can destroy structural components. Experts estimate that a group of around 60,000 members can eat away one foot of a 2×4 beam over five months.
No matter the size of their colony or how fast they eat, all termites cause significant damage to a lot of homes and businesses. Property owners should always keep an eye out for their presence to prevent their spread. The sooner they are spotted, the easier they are to exterminate since they are smaller numbers.
Termites Are Discreet
For the untrained eye, termites can be tough to spot. They are small, fast, and silent – a deadly combination of traits. These characteristics allow them to infest a building for weeks without detection. Some species even have colors that are hard to detect, like Subterranean termites, which have translucent bodies.
In addition, the damage the termites inflict often occurs in dark, hidden places. As a result, it often goes unnoticed for years. Without a regular termite inspection, it can take anywhere from three to eight years before structural damage becomes apparent.
Termites Eat More Than Wood
The reason why termites consume wood is because of the organic matter called cellulose. They need it for nutrition and also utilize it to build their nests. Any items containing cellulose are vulnerable to attacks, such as cardboard, paper, fabric, and live indoor plants. Their jaws are also strong enough to chew materials softer than wood, including carpets, drywall, and insulation. The pests will gnaw their way through any material to get to the wood they need to survive.
Termites Lessen the Value of Your Property
Property owners must legally disclose information about an infestation when planning to place their building on the market. This is because a termite infestation affects the structural integrity, which lowers the property’s value. Experts approximate that termite damage can reduce a home’s value by up to 20 percent.
Unfortunately, the only way to eliminate termite damage is to replace everything entirely. Even if you get everything repaired, this still won’t guarantee that the property value will return to normal. Many buyers use a home’s termite infestation history to negotiate for a lower price.
With regular termite inspections, you can prevent irreversible destruction brought about by these troublesome pests. Having your property checked annually can help ensure that you won’t have termite problems down the line.
What To Expect From Termite Inspectors
Calling for a professional termite inspection is a straightforward process. The first step is scheduling an appointment with your pest control company. It should be at a day and time that works best for you since you have to be at home during the inspection.
Then, you have to make sure that the critical areas for inspection are easily accessible, such as:
- Attics and basements
- Wooden structures
- Wooden flooring
- Sewer and plumbing pipes
- Interior and exterior walls
Inspectors will search high and low for signs of an infestation. The time it takes to complete the termite inspection depends on the size of your property. However, you can expect the job to be completed between 45 minutes to an hour.
Signs That You Need a Professional Termite Inspection
As mentioned above, termites are notorious pests because they are challenging to spot. For this reason, they are often called “silent destroyers.” The moment you suspect an infestation, it’s best to immediately call professionals to do an inspection. The following are the signs to look out for include:
Termites eat wood from the inside out, meaning the first damage sign won’t be visible to the eye. Inspectors would look for hollow-sounding wood and any signs of blistering or warping.
Termite-infested wood display signs similar to water damage, such as cracked or bubbling paint. When termites damage the drywall, they allow moisture and air to get between the paint and the surface, causing the paint to buckle.
Termites use mud tubes to connect the colonies in the soil to wherever they can find food above ground. These tubes are typically a quarter of an inch in diameter and look like veins along the walls, ceilings, or foundation. Once you see a mud tube in your property, you likely have an infestation in your hands. Also, removing the tubes won’t help since the pests will rebuild them quickly.
Termite droppings or frass are a crucial sign of termites. They are small, light-brown pellets that look a lot like sawdust. Since termites consume organic substances, their excrement is non-toxic. However, constant contact with tiny droppings can cause skin irritation and respiratory issues.
Some species of termites can develop wings. These are called swarmers, and they discard their wings when they leave one location to establish a new colony somewhere nearby. This new location could still be on your property since termite swarms are known to only travel at short distances.
Termites are very challenging to see since they are very tiny, but spotting live termites are possible if you know what they look like and the usual areas they congregate.
Call Pest Control for a Professional Termite Inspection
It’s impossible to get rid of termites without a proper inspection. Therefore, calling professionals to examine your home or building regularly is the best way to prevent the spread of pests. When it comes to termite inspection, you should contact the best company in the area to guarantee a thorough job.
Pest Control Unlimited is the top choice for the residents of Middlesex County in Massachusetts and the surrounding areas. Our ultimate goal is to provide exceptional service to everyone we serve. We closely examine your pest issues to develop tailored solutions to your needs.
Every team member attends classes and seminars to learn the latest methods and techniques of effective pest control. Therefore, when you work with us, you can always expect a job done right.
Contact us today for a termite inspection so we can come up with a solution to rid your property of these damaging pests.