Termites are nasty little buggers (literally).
In addition to a major creepy crawly factor, if not detected before they swarm, the small monsters can easily cause thousands of dollars of structural damage to your home. And they can do it obscenely quickly.
But prevention is possible! The cost of a termite inspection doesn’t have to break the bank. And, even if it did, this preventive measure would still cost significantly less than cleaning up after a termite swarm.
If you think you might have a termite infestation, or are just worried about the possibility of termites damaging your home, here is what you need to know:
What are termites?
Termites are the worst.
The simplest definition (according to many homeowners who have experienced an infestation) would be that they are basically evil flying ants.
But, more scientifically, they are very small insects that live in a structured society, much in the same way that bees or ants do. They are famous for their iconic homes, which are mounds of cemented earth. Most termites’ favorite food is timber, so they are very dangerous for trees…and the wood in your home.
When they start chowing down, they essentially start to eat little tunnels in timber. As they burrow deeper and deeper inside, they severely compromise the wood’s structural integrity. It’s basically like the wood is rotten.
And get this: termite colonies can have an average of 3 million insects. This is just the average though. There have also been documented cases of up to 70 million members in one colony! And the worst part? Colonies in home infestations are often larger and more damaging than when “attacks” occur in nature.
There are three major types of termites found in the United States. They are as follows below:
- Subterranean Termites
- Drywood Termies
- Dampwood Termies
To be really technical, they belong to the phylum Arthropoda, the class Insecta, and the order Isoptera. While there are technically 2,000 different species worldwide, the ones you are likely to find invading your house are Eastern subterranean termites, Pacific dampwood termites, and Southeastern drywood termites.
How much does a termite inspection cost?
The average cost for termite inspections is about $100. However, a lot of termite control companies offer a free termite inspection annually when they inspect your home for all types of creepy crawlies. As the homeowner, you would obviously pay for this yourself.
When you get a home inspected as a part of a sale, you can add on an extra inspection cost of about $75 to $125 for a termite check, bringing the total real estate inspection costs to between $300 and $500.
You might balk at that initial inspection price. However, think about it this way: would you rather have termites damaging your home, silently gnawing away until it’s too late? Or pay just a little bit extra at the beginning of your time as a homeowner for peace of mind?
What happens during a termite inspection?
Termites have two favorite seasons: early spring and late summer. If you are going to have termite problems, it’s likely going to be during these two times. Because of this, it’s best to request your termite inspection report during this time.
During the inspection, pest control companies check your basement or crawlspace for moisture, your foundation for wood debris, and other “risk areas” that may attract an infestation. These risk areas could be things like a wooden deck, portico, or garden shed. Most companies now have things like IR thermometers, moisture meters, and bespoke termite detection systems to ensure that they do not miss anything as they inspect your home.
The entire inspection process usually only takes a few hours, sometimes even less. The final timing varies depending on how large your home is how many at “risk areas” you have on your property.
How do you find a good termite inspector?
Thanks to the internet, it’s now really easy to find a great home inspector! Websites like Google reviews, Angies List, and Yelp and great places to go to find termite companies in your area.
Be sure to carefully read the reviews and compare several different companies and pricing structures before making your final choice.
How do you spot a termite infestation?
The thing about termites is that they are silent, but oh so destructive. Unfortunately, if you do not have regular termite inspections completed on your property, you might not discover you have an issue until it’s too late – too late meaning you wake up to a swarm of termites in your bedroom.
Here are some common signs that your home might have a termite problem:
- A swarm of winged insects in your home
- Any cracked or bubbling paint, a sign of frass (termite droppings)
- Wood that sounds hollow when you tap on it
- Mud tubes on exterior walls, wooden beams, or in crawl spaces
- Shed wings (from swarmers) scatted throughout your home
If you notice any of these signs, it’s in your best interest to contact termite control services immediately. The sooner you can start getting rid of them, the better. This is because if caught early, the impact of a termite infestation can be less devastating.
What happens if you have termites in your home?
Unfortunately, termite treatment costs are significantly more expensive than simply checking for them in the first place. Once you have a termite infestation in your home, it’s time to prepare yourself for a large bill to fix the problem. Repairs from extensive termite damage can cost you upwards of $3,000.
You might have to tear out and replace an entire deck, replace important structural beams in your home, or throw out expensive furniture. Whatever the cost, you’ll be kicking yourself the whole time for not keeping up with termite inspections when you had the chance.