Calling termite control services is never a fun thing to do. Whether you have termites, whether you’re looking for a termite report or termite insurance, or even if you have a termite contract with a pest control company and you’re due for a free termite inspection – as long as there are termites involved, it’s never fun.
Still, dealing with termite companies is not only a statistical inevitability for most homeowners, but it’s also really a recommended thing to do every once in a while if you want to make sure your home is termite-free. How should you go about it, however? What are the things you should know before you call the termite control services, what should you be aware of, and how should you prep for the whole ordeal – here is everything you need to know.
What does a termite inspection consist of?
Simply put, during a termite inspection, the inspector will look for any signs of a past or present termite infestation. The inspector will review all possible access locations for termite activity and will also look for areas in or around the home which can be conducive for termite activity in the future.
In short, the inspector will look for anything that might be related to termites in any possible way. Here are some of the signs an inspector will be searching for:
- Termite exit holes. These can be found in any wooden component of your home as termites can dig their tunnels through any piece of wood. Termite holes are small and often hard to spot, especially when they are behind furniture. Unlike the exit holes of carpenter ants’ tunnels, termite exit holes don’t have any dust piles near them as the termites actually consume the wood and don’t throw it out.
- Termite droppings. Termites may not leave dust piles but they do leave droppings like a lot of other animals and pests. These droppings can be hard to spot because of their miniature size but a termite inspector knows to look for them.
- Discarded wings and other signs of swarmings. Especially after the swarming season when flying termites look for new nesting grounds, their discarded wings can sometimes be spotted on the ground.
- Mud tubes. These above-ground tunnels are what termites often use to connect their subterranean colonies with their food sources above ground. These tunnels are typically made out of soil, wood and termite saliva.
- Wood damage. Severe termite infestations can often lead to extensive wood damage. The sooner this is found the better.
- Sings of higher moisture content in the walls. This isn’t a conclusive sign of termite presence but it’s a highly probably indicator.
- Signs of termite activity in the soil surrounding the building. Termites can get into your home not only by flying through your window but also by extending their outdoor colonies into your home’s foundation.
What are a termite bond and a termite warranty?
Termite warranty, termite bond, or termite certificate are some of those terms that a lot of homeowners find confusing and disheartening. After all, the reason we usually call professional exterminator help is to make things simpler for ourselves not to complicate them further with complex lingo. They are far less complicated than they sound, however, so let’s explain them all here.
- A termite bond is essentially a maintenance contract between a homeowner and a termite control company. It typically includes an agreement for annual or quarterly inspections, as well as an agreement for treatment and control services. Some bonds include repair services while others are restricted to re-treatments only.
- A termite warranty, on the other hand, is the warranty that a termite control service provider gives the homeowner after a treatment. A typical termite warranty will have a period of one year during which the exterminator guarantees there will be no repeated termite infestations in the treated area. Should a second infestation occur during the warranty period, the exterminator will typically have to treat it for free, depending on what exactly the specific warranty states.
- A termite certificate (or a W.D.I.R. – Wood-destroying insect report) is what you receive after a licensed professional has inspected your home and either deemed it termite-free or has treated any existing termite presence and has cleaned your property of it. A termite certificate is a guarantee you can present to the possible future buyers or renters of your home that it’s termite-free. Here’s an example certificate form from the Lee County’s Department of Community Development in Southwest Florida.
How much does a termite treatment cost on average?
The average cost of termite treatments can depend on a lot of factors. The things that determine the termite inspection cost can range from your state or country, the square footage of the treatment area, linear footage for chemical treatments, the severity of the infestation, and so on.
A common cost for a residential home termite bond in the U.S. can range between $700 and $1000 for the initial service and cost about $300 or $400 for the annual warranty coverage. The average cost for chemical termite treatments can range between $4 and $16 per linear foot. Fumigation, which is the most common solution for drywood termites, can range between $1300 and $2500 and its price increases exponentially with the size of the area.
How to select the best termite control service provider?
The EPA (United States’ Environmental Protection Agency) has a lot of useful tips to offer when it comes to selecting the best pest control service for your situation. Here’s a rundown of the most important things to consider:
- Does the pest control company have a long and storied history?
- Do they offer references?
- Are the termite exterminators certified and licensed professionals?
- There are lots of “professional” exterminators that are unlicensed, prey on elderly people or ones that live alone, don’t even have a phone number, and claim to be endorsed by the EPA or any other governmental entity (which they can’t be). Be wary of such scams and make sure you only work with reputable professionals.
Termites are the bane of many homeowners and working with termite control services can be an expensive endeavor that we wouldn’t wish on anyone. Yet, it’s better to be safe than sorry as a termite infestation can be one of the worst things to happen to your home and property.