For most of us, our homes are our biggest investment and most valuable asset. We would like to think that we would do whatever we could to protect our homes from harm. However, are we doing enough to prevent damage from one of the most destructive pests in Arizona?
Termites, those tiny insects that greedily devour the cellulose in wood, are an unseen threat to the very structure of your home. Homeowners dread hearing that horrible sentence: “Sorry, but your house has termites” – it’s a pronouncement that could cost time and significant money. In the United States alone, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year. The good news is that with regular termite inspections, you can catch a termite infestation early on before extensive damage occurs.
You probably won’t see the signs of a termite colony busy at work digesting the wooden infrastructure of your home. The symptoms are subtle, like cracked or distorted paint on wood surfaces, hollow-sounding wood, discarded wings from swarming termites, slightly sagging ceilings, or crumbling wood and bits of debris. You are unlikely to know how to look for termite mounds or mud tubes on exterior walls.
That’s why you need a professional to conduct periodic and consistent termite inspections. The longer termites have been in residence at your residence, the worse the damage will be. A regular schedule of inspections can buy you peace of mind.
A termite inspection generally takes less than one hour and includes both the outside and the inside of your home. Here’s what you can expect a termite inspector to do during a typical inspection.
- Look for any signs of termite nests, termite mounds, termite droppings, and mud tubes
- Analyze termite risk factors outside, such as tree stumps, loose timber, wood piles, and wooden fences
- Inspect the home’s perimeter, especially the subfloor for moisture and examining the footings and edge of the slab
- Examine any debris in close proximity to the house that is in contact with the soil
- Tap the walls with a thin rod with a small ball on the end to determine if any walls are hollow
- Listen for sounds of wood crumbling or termites moving during the tapping
- Check for moisture levels in the walls and woodwork with a moisture gauge; higher than normal moisture can indicate termites
- Inspect for damage and termite tunnels or grooves or blisters in wood molding or floors
The signs of termite infestations are difficult to see, but experienced termite inspectors are specially trained to use the spot the dangers. After your termite inspection, you will receive a written report outlining the findings. If termites were found, the report will include a cost estimate for termite eradication and repairs.
Because termites burrow through the soil to get to the wood, treating the soil around the house is one option. The inspector may recommend digging a trench around the foundation and treating the soil with a product that the termites take back to the colony, leading to colony elimination. Another recommendation involves drilling holes into the concrete at the perimeter foundation line and injecting the treatment into the soil.
Alternately, the termite inspector could prescribe treating the wood in a house to kill the termite colonies and prevent new infestations. The inspector could recommend injected sprays and foams as well as surface spray treatments. Ideally treatments could be applied to wood or concrete while a home is being built as a preventative measure against termites.
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A professional, experienced termite inspector will be focused on helping you prevent termites, whether your inspection indicated termite activity or not. For starters, you can minimize the amount of wood that comes into contact with your home. One way is to keep a barrier between wood mulch and the house’s foundation. Be sure to watch for areas of dampness and leaks, making sure the gutters drain away from the house and hoses don’t leak.
A regularly scheduled termite inspection is an easy, quick, and affordable way to save on expensive repairs and treatment. Call Horn Pest Management to schedule your termite inspection and gain peace of mind. For over 20 years, Horn Pest Management has earned the trust of thousands of families and business clients across southern Arizona. These professionals are ready to help you protect your home against termite destruction.