Termites cause structural damage worth thousands of dollars every year. The fact that these small insects can make a colony in your building and remain undetected for several years all the while causing serious damage makes them even more problematic. Termites can infest almost every building type.
Even brick homes are not immune to the damage caused by a termite infestation since they tend to have wooden frames and window sills that can be damaged by termites. These tiny insects built mu tubes to safely move from one place to the other. These mud tunnels are one of the obvious signs that you might have a termite infestation problem on your hands and you should call for a professional inspector to have your building checked thoroughlyWhat are termite inspections?
Because of the nature of termites, it is difficult to detect an infestation without close observation. For this, you will need the services of a trained termite inspector. Termite inspections are visual checks of the different areas of your home for signs and evidence of termites.
Termites are wood-damaging insects. This means by the time a termite problem becomes obvious, the wooden fixtures of your home might have undergone extensive damage. However, there are signs of termite activities that can be used by experts to determine the presence of these insects in your home.How are they performed?
Termite inspections involve checking both home interior and exterior for visible signs of termite activities. Some of the visual signs of termite infestations that experts lookout for during termite inspections include termite droppings, mud tubes, broken wings, and wood damage. Some of the steps involved in termite inspections include:
The first step in termite inspection is to check the wooden fixtures in your home interior. This includes your wooden baseboard and walls, window sills, door frames, cabinets, and closets.
During a termite inspection, a room by room check of your home will be carried out. Some rooms of your home such as the bathrooms, utility rooms, and kitchens will get more attention. The plumbing in these rooms is commonly used as entry points by termites to gain access to your building.
With the interior checked, the inspector will then proceed to check your home exterior. This typically involves checking the walls and eaves. The foundation of the building will also be examined for signs of damage and mud tubes.
After checking the building itself, the inspector will also check the yard and the areas around your home for signs of termites and their activities.
A thorough termite inspection like this can take between 90 minutes to 2 hours. However, how much time the inspection will take depends largely on the size of your building. Tools used during inspections
Visual inspection can only go so far. Termites live in walls, under floorboards, and in other elusive places. Use a specialised equipment for accurate results. Some of the tools used for termite inspections include:
This is perhaps the simplest of all the tools used for termite inspections. However, it is one of the most valuable pieces of equipment used by a pest inspector. The inspector will typically run this equipment on skirting boards or tap them with it. Experts can detect the change in tone which is one of the obvious signs of wood damage. Once a tone difference is detected in the wood, further checks will be carried out to see if the wood has been damaged by termites.
Just as the name implies, the purpose of a moisture meter is to detect moisture levels. This device is commonly used to determine if the moisture levels inside walls are at normal levels of too high. Termites love a high-moisture environment so detecting humid conditions in your internal walls can be an indicator of termite activity. Used together, a termite tapper and moisture meter can be all your need to detect a termite problem.
Thermal imagine cameras are specialized cameras designed to detect heat energy differentials which is a common consequence of termite activities. When termites are concentrated in an area, they give off a heat signature which can be picked up by these specialized heat cameras. Areas of high termite activities are identified as hotspots on thermal imaging cameras. So even when a moisture meter cannot detect the termite problem because the moisture level isn’t very high, a thermal imaging camera can detect hotspots
SensorA termatrac motion sensor is an equipment that can detect motion within walls. By using this device, inspectors can avoid the invasive process of opening up walls to detect termite infestation. This machine is designed to use microwave technology to find termites that are hidden within a plasterboard, wood, and even in building masonry. This device consists of a sensor that is placed on a surface to detect any insect movement underneath the surface. It also has a main control unit that relays the data collected back to the inspector. Because this method is non-invasive, the termites are not disturbed which may prompt them to move away to other parts of your building which further makes them difficult to eradicate.
A borescope allows inspectors to see the termites in the wall without actually disturbing them. This device is typically used when the termite tapper detects a likely problem in the wall but the moisture meter is giving inconclusive results. This is an invasive method that involves drilling a small hole in the wall. A device known as a borescope is then inserted into the walls. This makes it possible to see inside the walls. A borescope can be used to detect if there’s a termite problem and to see the extent of damage that has been to wood. Areas of property inspected
How often should they be done?
- The wooden part of your construction especially in the crawlspaces and basement
- Wooden frames and sills
- Wooden support structures like posts, piers, joists, and sub floors
- Timber deck and porches
- Cracks and expansion joints through which termites can gain entry
- Exterior windows, door frames, and fence posts
- Tree stumps, wooden piles, and debris outside your home.
Generally, it is recommended that you have your home inspected for termites at least once a year. However, if you live in an area that has a high risk of termite infestation, you can have the inspection done every 6 months. You should also call for an inspection if you notice any of the signs of a possible infestation.Average costs
The average costs of a termite inspection project can be anything from $190 to $250. The exact amount to pay depends on various factors including the size of the home. This cost should cover a thorough inspection of both your building interior and exterior. A report of the inspection will be sent to you along with any recommendations on how to get rid of the termite problem or how to prevent or lower the risk of infestation.What if you have termites?
The purpose of a termite inspection is to indicate whether you have a termite problem in your home or not. If no termite is detected after the inspection, the inspector will only recommend mitigation solutions that will help prevent a future infestation. But even if a termite problem is detected, a trained inspector will be able to tell you exactly what to do. The exact recommendation depends largely on the nature of the problem. There are several termite treatment techniques that may be recommended. These include:
Rhis involves the use of chemicals (termiticides) to get rid of termites in your structures. These chemicals come in dust or foam forms and are used to treat interior wood fixtures that are already termite-infested. Termiticides can also be used to create barriers between termite colonies in the soil or building exterior and the wooden fixtures in your home. It is also possible to install physical termite barriers that block the foraging activities. These strategies will eliminate termites in your home and also provide ongoing protection for your building.
Another likely recommendation is to set up a termite bait system in your home. This method involves installing cellulose bait stations strategically around your house. These stations attract worker termites in search of forage of the colony. The cellulose materials of the bait are impregnated with a chemical inhibitor which the worker termites carry over to the colony and spreads. This chemical inhibitor makes it impossible for the termites to molt and they eventually die off.Summary
While you should watch out for some of the obvious signs of a termite problem yourself, a professional termite inspector will help spot the signs of an infestation that you are likely to miss. Professional inspectors will also offer recommendations for handling an active infestation and tips for preventing future invasions. Bear in mind that termite inspection is not what stops termites from coming into your home. The purpose of termite inspections is to detect an infestation early enough so you can act quickly before the termite causes major damage.