Here is a termite inspection checklist, including preparation tips to follow when carrying out the procedure.
First, we’ll start by saying termite inspections are a necessity for any homeowner. It doesn’t matter if you will inspect the property yourself or hire a certified professional.
Any option selected is vital to the safety of your property.
How often should this procedure be carried out and what are the major areas to inspect for termites?
These questions and many others are often asked by property owners.
Is a Termite Inspection Necessary?
Should I get a termite inspection? In the United States alone, termites cause an estimated $60 billion in damages per annum. This is huge and scary as well.
When people call experts to Inspect their properties for termite infestation, the damage in most cases has been inflicted.
This is because termites are mostly subterranean insects. They only surface or leave symptoms in their wake after they must have caused significant damage.
Inspecting a Home Before Purchase
Sometimes, homeowners sell off their property without informing the buyer about every detail. A termite problem may be part of the reason they want to part with the property. You should carry out a thorough investigation.
By requesting an inspection of the property, you can avoid a problem that may grow worse soon.
Is there a Need to Call in the Experts When I can inspect my Property Myself?
It all depends on your level of experience and expertise. If you have an understanding of how termites behave, then you may not need to call in an expert.
However, if you have doubts about your ability to identify an infestation problem, then asking for expert help maybe your best bet. Here are the average rates that you should expect.
Vital Signs Termite Inspectors are Looking For
How do you inspect a house for termites? Whenever you call for a termite inspection, there are definite signs experienced technicians are on the lookout for.
This section will discuss some of the items that should be included in a termite inspection report.
Termite Inspection Checklist
If you want to ensure a thorough job in finding evidence of activity, infestation, and damage; here is a list of termite inspection checklist to follow:
- Rugged overall clothing, bright flashlight with strong batteries, ladder, pen, and graph paper.
- Check entry point areas:
- where soil meets untreated wood
- surface water or wet soil contacts structure
- external foundation walls (for mud tunnels)
- sub-floor wooden members
- external perimeters of ground earth-filled patios
- structures which touch the soil and are connected to the house
- flower pots in contact with walls
- stairs in contact with soil
- heating areas that keep the soil warm for termite propagation
- Check critical areas:
Examine areas that offer food sources to termites – trees, shrubs, wooden decks, porches, and fences; tree stumps and piled timber.
Examine areas that supply a continuous source of moisture – clogged drains, gutters, leaky roof tiles, AC drip lines, sewer lines, etc.
- Search for Termite Activities
- house foundation wall (where floor and wall meet)
- attached porches
- narrowly confined areas that are hard to see
- areas near the kitchen and bathrooms
- areas where structures enter the house
- window and door frames
- areas behind dense shrubs/foliage
- fuse boxes and meters set into walls
- wooden materials around swimming pools
- beams, chimney bases, hearths
- window facings
- hardwood flooring
- unusual blistering in paintings
- staining on walls and ceilings (water leaks)
- raised or slit areas on the floor covering (water leaks)
Observe for discarded wings of alates. If you come across any mud tubes, break it open. If it’s moist, it means the tunnel is ACTIVE and if dried out, the tunnel is NOT. If a tunnel is rebuilt after a few days of re-inspection, it also confirms that it is active.
Draw the property layout using the graph pad and document your findings while following the checklist provided above.
Termite Inspection Procedure
What does a termite inspection consist of? Below is a list of what to look for when inspecting for termites.
Winged Termites / Alate
Sexually mature termites are produced from established termite colonies. These winged termites are also known as Alates. These are released from the main colony and embark on their maiden flight to establish their nests.
Whenever inspectors see Alates around, it’s a sign that you may have a developing termite problem.
In the absence of live winged Alates, their wings are strewn about. Pest technicians can identify this situation to mean that there’s likely to be a termite ongoing.
The advantage of the findings of this termite inspection is that early treatment can be started as there little or no damage was done yet.
Concrete Construction Joints Containing Mud
Termites are dedicated, builders. These pests would attempt to make or create a nest from the smallest cracks available.
Thus during an inspection, technicians lookout for mud dirt in between cracks.
Wherever this is found, it is a clear sign that there’s termite presence in such areas(s). Upon sighting such, a further probe is conducted to know the extent or size of the nest to know the best treatment to apply.
Mud Tubes or Passageways
This is another evidence of termite presence. Termite inspections undertaken by pest technicians are on the lookout for possible signs of new termite nests including this. If you spot this anywhere around your home, you need to immediately contact a reliable pest control service.
During an inspection, this can be found anywhere around your property.
Breaking open this mud pipe or passageway is likely to reveal termites busy carrying out their destructive activities. These mud pipes can be found on tree trunks, the side of buildings, exposed wood, etc.
Such pipes protect against dehydration.
Damage to Wood
This is the primary target of termites. They obtain cellulose from wood. When termites cause damage to wood, it is not quite evident on the outside.
However, a likely symptom includes droppings in pelletized form. When conducting a termite inspection, the technician checks for this as well as tapping such wood to find out if there’s a hollow within.
In many instances, the damage would have been inflicted before the problem is identified or noticed.
Stored Logs of Wood
Termite inspection covers a lot of things including inspecting your surroundings for signs of logs of wood. These are likely to attract termites.
If termites are found, the inspection will seek to ascertain the level of infestation to find a lasting solution or treatment.
Cracks on Wall and Bubbling Paint
A property overtaken by termites is likely to show cracks on the walls as well as bubbling paint. This is one clear sign of termites in walls. The cracks will not look unnatural. Unnatural in the sense that it will not seem to have resulted from a defective foundation.
How Frequently Should a Termite Inspection Be Done?
The frequency of a termite inspection depends on multiple factors. Some of these include how infested your neighborhood or location is.
Certain locations are known to be more infested with termites than others. In such locations, the inspection can be organized quarterly or twice a year.
These would come with immediate treatment when an infestation is noticed.
So how often should I get a termite inspection? Well, for less infested areas, termite inspection can be conducted once every year depending on your needs as well as from advice received from your pest technician.
This is the recommended termite inspection frequency.
How to Prepare for Termite Inspection
For a complete inspection, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the inspector:
Here is a checklist of things to do in preparation to receive the termite inspector in your home:
- Remove storage from areas within two feet of house exterior; within two feet from the wall of garage interior and areas under bathroom and kitchen sinks.
- Ensure you trim background cover or bushes that hide foundations and walls
- As your attic would be inspected for termites, ensure it is readily accessible, not blocked by storage. If the access is in a closet, remove clothing and storage that may block it.
- If you have noticed any termite around your home, ensure you take your notes of the location and what you observed. It will allow the termite inspectors to concentrate more on these regions and thoroughly check those areas with their tools.
- Avoid mopping floors, turning on a steam shower with the windows closed, and any other task that includes water; as such activities can cause the moisture meters used by inspectors to pick up false positives.
- You do not have to worry about pets, most professional termite inspection services are experts in handling them on the site.
How to Check for Termites
Most of our discussion has been centered around what experienced technicians look out for. You can also use these to gain critical insight.
Let’s now turn our focus to the components of a basic termite inspection process. In trying to find out if your property is being overrun by termites, you might as well be ready to examine areas like the crawl space and other hard-to-reach areas in a bid to carry out a thorough inspection.
First, you need some basic tools, to begin with. These include a coverall or protective garment. This ensures you don’t soil your clothes.
Other termite inspection tools include a screwdriver or any object with a pointed tip and a torchlight.
How do you use these? Termites are known to feed on wood from the inside out. This creates a hollow within the wood. You need to poke such wood to find out if it is weakened.
Here is what happens during a termite inspection:
Using Your Tools
You need to carefully follow every wood to find out if there are signs of termite droppings. Light from your torch enables you to see clearly if there are signs of termite activity. The screwdriver or knife is used to feel if any part of the wood is soft. A block of softwood indicates that termites have been busy.
Based on your Inspection findings you decide the next course of action.
Where to Look
Where to focus your attention also matters to how much success is achieved. If your property has a basement, you should consider conducting a thorough inspection. This is especially true when there are wooden constructions there.
Wherever wood makes contact with concrete, you should pay attention to such areas. These are likely to harbor termites.
Every untreated wood is potentially a hideout for termites.
How Long Does a Termite Inspection Last?
The average time to carry out a thorough termite inspection is around 45 minutes. A lot of factors affect this duration; the size of space being inspected and accessibility conditions being the major ones.
After Termite Inspection What Next?
An inspection seeks to ascertain whether your property is free from termites or not. For more reliable protection from these pests, it is best to schedule an inspection calendar.
Based on the findings of your Inspection, you will need to apply treatment if there’s an existing infestation or carry out preventive treatment to forestall such problems.
There are several ways to exterminate termites.
These include the use of natural treatments and as well as chemical treatments.
Because this article is focused on discussing termite inspection, we will not get into details. However, it will be fair to make a brief mention of some extermination measures.
Termites can be eliminated through predatory treatments such as the use of nematodes. These pose no danger whatsoever to humans and pets. Yet it is highly effective on termites. These feed on the pests and eliminate them in no time at all.
Other treatment methods include the use of damp cardboard strips. Termites love to feed on these. Once they start, you can simply take it out to burn them or expose them to direct sunlight. They hardly survive this.
Other methods of termite extermination include creating a barrier around your property. This is done by spraying or applying any pesticides of your choice. This poisons them and has a far-reaching effect and exterminates them eventually.
Arresting Termite Infestation
To save yourself the time and energy used in combating termite infestation, the best strategy is to by strictly implementing preventive treatment.
This will include carrying out constant supervision around your property, applying chemicals, and other treatments to discourage a build-up.
Also, all cracks and holes no matter how small should be well sealed. By scheduling or creating an inspection calendar, you are alerted early enough to a dangerous build-up of termites.
What does a termite inspector look for? You have your answers now.
Termite inspection has been the subject of our discussion. We have covered several aspects of this talking point by identifying the signs pest technicians are most interested in. These can be used by you to gain greater insights into how termites behave.
A termite inspection is a thorough process that seeks to find the root cause of infestation. In this sense, the infestation routes, as well as damage caused, are assessed.
Inspecting for termites is crucial to preventing heavy losses which can be inflicted by these pests. If due diligence is not followed, these tiny pests will wreak so much havoc to your property. This is unacceptable.
To avoid such, it is best to seek expert help in termite inspection and finding a lasting solution to the infestation problems.
You mustn’t confuse inspection with treatment. After the inspection, you will be presented with treatment options. These consider the source of the problem as well as treatment recommendations.
Where can one get a free termite inspection in your area? Share using the comment box below.