Termite Inspection: Checklist, Preparation and Procedure

Here is a termite inspection checklist and preparation tips to follow when carrying out the procedure.

First, we’ll start by saying termite inspections are a necessity for any home owner. It doesn’t matter if you will inspect the property yourself or hire a professional.

Any option selected is vital to the safety of your property.

Do you need to hire a licensed exterminator? Get free estimates from top services in your area.

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 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 have 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 are able to avoid a problem that may grow worse in the near future.

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 clearly identify an infestation problem, then calling it in may be your best bet. Here is 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:

EQUIPMENT

  • Rugged overall clothing, bright flashlight with strong batteries, ladder, pen and graph paper.

ACTIVITIES

  • Check entry point areas:
  1. where soil meets untreated wood
  2. surface water or wet soil contacts structure
  3. external foundation walls (for mud tunnels)
  4. sub-floor wooden members
  5. external perimeters of ground earth-filled patios
  6. structures which touch soil and are connected to house
  7. flower pots in contact with walls
  8. stairs in contact with soil
  9. heating areas that keep 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 continuous source of moisture – clogged drains, gutters, leaky roof tiles, AC drip lines, sewer lines etc.

  • Search for Termite Activities

Examine:

  1. house foundation wall (where floor and wall meet)
  2. garage
  3. sidewalks
  4. attached porches
  5. narrowly confined areas that are hard to see
  6. areas near kitchen and bathrooms
  7. areas where structures enter the house
  8. window and door frames
  9. areas behind dense shrubs/foliage
  10. fences
  11. staircases
  12. fuse boxes and meters set into walls
  13. wooden materials around swimming pools
  14. beams, chimney bases, hearths
  15. window facings
  16. hardwood flooring
  17. unusual blistering in paintings
  18. staining on wails and ceilings (water leaks)
  19. raised or slit areas on floor covering (water leaks)
  20. attics

Observe for discarded wings of alates. If you come across any mud tubes, break it open. If its moist, it means tunnel is ACTIVE and if dried out, 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 own 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 are able to 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 done yet.

  • Concrete Construction Joints Containing Mud

Termites are dedicated builders. These pests would make an attempt to make or create a nest from the smallest cracks available.

Thus during an inspection, technicians look out for mud dirt in between cracks.

Wherever these may be found, it is a clear sign that there’s termite presence in such areas(s). Upon sighting such, 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 provide protection 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 with a view to finding 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. 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, inspection can be organised quarterly or twice a year.

These would come with immediate treatment when 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 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 wall of garage interior and areas under bathroom and kitchen sinks.
  • Ensure you trim back ground cover or bushes that hides 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 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 include 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 soft wood 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.

As a matter of fact, 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.

  • Extermination

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 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.

In addition, 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 dangerous build-up of termites.

CONCLUSION

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.

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.

It is necessary that you do not confuse inspection with treatment. After the inspection, you will be presented with treatment options. These consider the source of the problem as well as recommendations for treatment.

Where can one get free termite inspection in your area? Share using the comment box below.

Do you need to hire a licensed exterminator? Get free estimates from top services in your area.

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  1. Is there any course i can take on pest inspection as I’m going into the business next month.

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