What to Expect When Signing Up for Termite Protection

What to Expect When Signing Up for Termite Protection

Owning a home is a huge responsibility. There are so many things to consider, but when making that list of important items, termite protection should be in the top 5. Termites cause an estimated $5 billion in damages each year in the U.S., and most homeowner insurance policies do not cover damage caused by termites. Additionally, if you are looking to sell your home, the seller is usually responsible for covering the damage during the sale of the home. Knowing all this, let’s look at what you can come to expect in your first year of choosing to invest in termite protection.

Initial Inspection

A comprehensive inspection of your property is done by a certified pest professional. They will look for signs of any existing or previous termite infestations and damage. After this is completed, they will go over their findings and best recommendations on the protection and warranties available for your home.

Installation

Once you’ve made your choice and signed on the dotted line, your local office will schedule your installation day. A licensed termite control professional will come out and strategically install your termite protection system. When they have completed the installation, they will go over what was completed and walk the property with you to make sure everything was completed to a standard to which you expect.

Annual Inspections

The best part about investing in a bait system like Sentricon is cutting out the need for continuous visits and worry. Since the bait is cellulose-based and combined with a slow-acting pesticide, it works 24/7. A year after your installation, your licensed termite control professional will come back out to check every station for signs of termite activity.

Choosing the right direction for you when it comes to protecting your most important assets is a big decision. If you still have more questions, give us a call. We’ll schedule your FREE home inspection to give you all the tools to decide.

Which Pests Are Active In Your Area?

Which Pests Are Active In Your Area?

Just as the weather changes with the seasons, pest activity shifts to usher in new groups of active pests. Let’s take a look at what pests are active in your area and some tips to keep them away.

Subterranean Termites

The humidity and moisture that come with early summer is what helps to increase subterranean termite activity. “Swarm season” is in full effect, and this can present a problem for your home.

  • Avoid water accumulation around your home, specifically around the foundation.
  • Invest in a moisture-reducing program to help reduce humidity in your home’s crawl space.

Bed Bug

Summer is the biggest travel time for many. College students are coming back home, and family vacations are planned. This increases the chances of having an incident with bed bugs, and a bed bug infestation is no easy battle.

  • When returning from vacation, leave suitcases in the garage or driveway. Remove clothing and take immediately to your laundry room to be washed in warm water.
  • Consider packing a large garbage bag to place your suitcase in while on vacation.
  • Do not unpack your clothing and place them in the hotel drawers as these can be hiding places for bed bugs.

American Cockroaches

As the summer weather starts to rev up, American cockroach activity will skyrocket. While they live outdoors, if they find themselves low on food or if the weather experiences a drastic change (extreme heat or excessive rain), they will try move indoors.

  • Put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher or wash them immediately after using them instead of leaving them in the sink overnight.
  • Make sure to eliminate any sources of standing water around your home.

Pest infestation can be costly and a major hassle. Contact a professional pest control company like Northwest for a free pest control estimate to protect your home from pests year-round.

What Are the Signs of Termites in Your Home?

What Are the Signs of Termites in Your Home?

Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. There are two main types of termites: drywood termites and subterranean termites. Drywood termites are found in warm, southern climates. They establish their colonies deep within the wood that they eat. As they consume wood, they create mazes of tunnels and chambers within the walls and foundation of your home. Subterranean termites are found throughout the continental United States. These termites build their colonies underground and emerge in search of food. They can enter your home through cracked or unsealed foundations.

Because termites eat wood from the inside out, termite damage often goes undetected for long periods of time. Often in fact, by the time signs of termites appear, colonies are well established and significant damage has already been done. Because of this, it is recommended that you get a termite inspection at least once per year or any time you find signs of termite activity. The average termite inspection cost is usually free (if no termite report is required, as in the case of a real estate transaction), or can be anywhere from $45 to over $100 depending on the size of your home and the exterminating company hired. A licensed termite inspector will perform a visible inspection on the readily accessible areas of your home looking for evidence of termites. The inspection should include a visual inspection of the entire interior of the home (including crawlspace and basement) and the exterior of the property. If evidence of termites are found, a termite exterminator will be required to provide appropriate termite control options and treatment.

Spotting signs of termites is a good indicator that a well established colony is nearby. But what are these signs? What should you look for? Here are 6 common signs of termites:

  1. Sounds: Soldier termites will bang their heads against wood or shake their bodies when the colony is disturbed. They use these sounds to signal danger to the other termites in the colony. The sound is often heard as a quiet clicking sound emanating from the walls.
  2. Wings: Flying termites are usually the first sign of a termite infestation. While they are often mistaken for flying ants, they are, in fact, “swarmers” who leave the nest in search of a mate to establish a new colony. Swarming season is usually in the spring after the first freeze. Once the termites mate, they lose their wings. These discarded wings, often found near doors and windowsills, are another common sign of termites.
  3. Warping: Termites produce moisture when they tunnel through wood. When they make their way through window frames and doors it causes them to warp, making them difficult to get open, often resembling water damage. This can also cause uneven or bubbling paint.
  4. Wood Damage: Termites consume wood from the inside out, sometimes masking damage for long periods of time. When wood is damaged by termites, it will often make a hollow or papery sound when tapped on. This is one of the most common signs of termite damage.
  5. Frass: Frass is another name for termite feces. Subterranean termites use their feces to build tunnels; drywood termites, however, push their feces out of small holes near the entrances to their nests as they tunnel. This leaves small black marks and a dark powdery substance near sites of infestation and damage. Frass is often found as piles of pellets.
  6. Mud Tubes: Subterranean termites build mud tubes to provide moisture and protect them from predators while they travel between their colonies and their food sources. These tubes are often found near home foundations. Mud tubes are made of tiny pieces of soil, wood, and debris.

If you suspect you have a termite problem or if you spot signs of a termite infestation, contact a professional termite control company who can provide you with a thorough termite inspection and a comprehensive termite protection and treatment plan.

 

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Is Termite Protection Worth It?

Is Termite Protection Worth It?

Termites can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Termites do their damage from the inside out and they often aren’t detected until after significant destruction has already been done. The signs of termites are often difficult to find until colonies are well established. In fact, termites cause an estimated $5 billion in damages each year in the United States. Yet many people still question if termite protection is worth the cost.

Structural damage caused by termites is the most expensive with an average cost of $3,000 for repairs. This amount varies depending on the extent and location of the damage that is caused. In addition to the structural damage caused by termites, cosmetic damage can also require repairs, costing an estimated $2,000 to fix things like discolored sheetrock, buckled floors, and peeling paint. This amount also varies depending on the materials that were damaged and the materials used to repair or replace it.

Termites must be exterminated before any repairs are done. The cost of a termite treatment not only include the termiticides or baits used in the treatment, but also the labor, training, and service hours for the termite exterminator. The average cost of termite control is $4 to $7 per linear square foot of your home. This estimate also varies based on the type of termite warranty provided, the location of your home, and the type of treatment required.

Unfortunately, most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover termite damage and sellers are usually responsible for covering termite damage during the sale of a home. This can vary so it is always a good idea to check your state regulations. This also usually includes a termite inspection prior to the sale of the home.

Knowing the potential costs of termite damage and repair is reason enough to invest in termite protection. What options do homeowners have when a homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover termite damage? A termite bond or termite warranty is your best bet. A termite bond is a warranty between a homeowner and a termite company that functions as a maintenance contract for termite prevention, damage, and repair. Termite warranties vary by company, but they generally include an agreement for annual (or more often) termite inspections during the lifetime of the warranty, an agreement to provide treatment if termites are discovered (often at no additional charge to the homeowner), and in some cases an agreement to repair damages. Not all homes, however, qualify for these repair bonds so always check with your termite control provider about this.

A termite warranty provides you with peace of mind against termite damage. The warranty guarantees that the pest control company will continuously inspect your home and make sure that new infestations are discovered before they can proliferate. Termite warranties are also beneficial when buying or selling a home as they are often required before a sale can occur. Lenders will often not approve mortgages for at-risk homes without a termite bond. Only certified pest control companies can issue termite warranties. Yearly costs typically run $300-$400 for the warranty coverage, which includes the annual termite inspection.

Click here to schedule a free termite inspection.

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What You Should Know Before Termite Swarming Season

What You Should Know Before Termite Swarming Season

Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. Because they work from the inside out, infestations are often not found until significant damage has already been done. Spring marks the beginning of the termite swarming season and these destructive pests are found in most of the United States (except for Alaska). What do you need to know before swarming season starts to help control termites? Find out the answers to many of your termite questions below.

What Time Of Year Do Termites Come Out?

Termites swarm as the weather begins to warm, usually at the beginning of spring or summer and usually after a rain event. Termites swarm when they go in search of a location to establish a new colony. Colonies typically don’t produce a swarm until they have been established for at least 3 years.

Do Swarming Termites Mean An Infestation?

If a swarm happens inside your home, most of them will not survive to establish a new colony but it does mean that your home is likely infested. If a swarm happens outside your home or if you notice just a few stragglers inside, your home is most likely not infested but a colony (or multiple colonies) are present nearby.

Do Swarming Termites Cause Damage?

Swarming termites have one purpose – to reproduce and establish a new colony. In fact, they don’t have biting or chewing mouthparts to cause damage to your home. Several hundred swarmers are produced by each colony but only a small percentage of these actually survive to start the new colony.

What Is The Difference Between Swarming Termites And Flying Ants?

Termites have straight antennae and wide bodies without pinched waists. They are usually black or dark brown in color. Swarming termites have wings that are the same length and clear in color. Termites are found in decaying stumps, trees, wood debris, lumber, and other wooden structures. They cause structural damage by eating wood and other cellulose-based products like paper.

Flying ants (also known as carpenter ants) have elbowed antennae and pinched waists. They can be black, brown or reddish in color. They have 2 pairs of wings that differ in size and are tinted brown in color. Carpenter ants also inhabit wood and wood structures; however, they don’t eat wood and therefore do not usually cause any structural damage. They do eat nectar, seeds, other insects, and food debris in and around your home.

Both termites and flying ants swarm as part of their mating process.

What Attracts Termites To Your Home?

The main attractant to termites is food. Termites love to eat anything wood or cellulose-based including lumber, firewood, newspaper, and more. They also like warm, dark places that are undisturbed such as your crawlspace. They also thrive in moist soil, especially around your foundations.

What Is The Most Effective Termite Treatment?

While there are some do-it-yourself options you can do around your home, these are more suitable for termite prevention rather than termite control. Getting rid of termites is a job best left to the professionals. Some things you can do around your home to help prevent termites include:

  • Getting rid of decayed lumber and firewood and moving wood products away from your foundations.
  • Reduce moisture in crawlspaces.
  • Repair leaky faucets and pipes.
  • Divert excess water from foundations with properly functioning gutters, downspouts, and splash blocks.
  • Position sprinklers to spray away from foundations.

There are two major types of termite treatment: liquids and baits.

Liquid termite treatments have been around for years. Their purpose is to provide a long-lasting barrier in the soil that keeps termites from entering and infesting buildings. This treatment also helps eliminate termites that are already inside structures as it prevents them from getting back to the soil for supplemental moisture.

Bait termite treatments use a cellulose-based food product combined with a slow acting pesticide. The bait stations are installed below the ground where termites eat the bait and share it with other termites in their colony. This leads to a gradual decline in the termite population infesting the structure.

If you suspect you have a termite problem, contact a professional termite control specialist. A thorough termite inspection by a trained pest control professional is critical in identifying and eliminating a termite infestation from your home.

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How Much Damage Can Termites Really Cause?

How Much Damage Can Termites Really Cause?

It is estimated that termites cause billions of dollars worth of damage in the United States annually. While they primarily feed on wood, they can also damage books, insulation, and even swimming pool liners and filters. They can wreak havoc on trees and shrubs and are particularly fond of plants that are in bad health. Termites can infest buildings at any time. This can be particularly troublesome when buying or selling a home. A termite inspection and report are usually required as a condition of sale of a home.

Types Of Termites

There are several different species of termites but the two most common are drywood and subterranean termites. Formosan termites are the most prevalent species of subterranean termites in the southeastern US. Drywood termites don’t cause the extensive damage that subterranean termites do. Drywood termites cost property owners hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and repairs each year; subterranean termite damage is in the billions. This is due in part to drywood termites having smaller colonies, so it takes them longer to cause damage. Drywood termites are also more visible than subterranean ones – they tend to kick their dried feces out onto surfaces as they eat, making them easier to spot. Subterranean termites keep their droppings inside their tunnels so they are more likely to go unnoticed. Subterranean termites can also have multiple colonies near a home which can all feed on the same home at the same time, exponentially increasing the number of termites infesting the structure.

Termite Timeline

Termites destroy homes by eating wood and wood products. They have special enzymes, bacteria, and protozoa in their guts that allow them to digest cellulose (organic fibrous material in wood and plants). The largest subterranean termite colonies can eat up to a pound of wood per day. This damage, however, often goes unnoticed for many years. Because they slowly eat away at the wood inside your home, often without your knowledge, termite damage often severely impacts the structural integrity of your home. Termite colonies can take 3 to 5 years to fully mature. While there is no accurate way of calculating the exact age of an infestation, there are ways to make accurate predictions of their age. It can take anywhere from 3 to 8 years for termite damage to show up depending on the size of the colony.

Signs Of Damage

When signs of termite damage surface, there has often been an infestation for years with extensive damage already sustained. Some signs of a termites in your home include:

  • A hollow sound made by tapping on wood with a heavy object
  • Painted walls that bubble and peel
  • Small entry holes where they tunnel through drywall
  • Subterranean termites can leave dirt on the wall where their bodies have come in contact with soil
  • Buckling ceilings and walls
  • Appearance of water damage
  • Maze-like designs in wood structures
  • Mud tunnels on foundations
  • Seeing swarms of termites, especially in spring

Significant damage from termites can have an effect on the structural integrity of your home and can even cause ceilings and floors to collapse. Termites can also ruin furniture, carpeting, and flooring.

Damage Costs

There is no central agency that monitors or tracks termite damage data. Many pest control companies report their data to state agricultural and academic experts but there is no system in place for uniform tracking across the country. Therefore, most damage cost estimates are based on estimates. It is estimated that:

  • Approximately 600,000 homes are damaged by termites in the US each year
  • $5 billion dollars are spent annually by US residents to control termites and repair damage
  • At least $1 billion dollars are spent on Formosan termite control and repairs each year, although some experts estimate it is closer to $2 billion (according to the USDA)

One question many homeowners have is if termite damage is covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy. Unfortunately in most cases the answer to this question is no. Homeowner’s insurance typically does not cover termite damage or removal because it can usually be prevented through routine home maintenance. However, you should always check with your insurance provider to see what you are and are not covered for.

Since insurance usually doesn’t cover termite damage and repair, what is the average cost to repair termite damage? The cost of repairs varies greatly from case to case and is dependent on a variety of factors such as how much wood the termites have eaten, how long the colony has been in the home, and where the damage was done inside the home. Repairs can often be more expensive than the original building costs, often in the thousands of dollars. In rare cases termite damage can be so extensive that the home is completely demolished. In addition to the structural repairs that have to be made, cosmetic repairs also have to be made. Termites can cause discoloration and other damage to sheetrock, flooring and paint which will also need repair or replacement. The cost of these will vary on an individual basis but some repairs will be more costly than others, e.g. replacing hardwood floors versus floor tiles. Exterminator costs also have to be factored in as the termites have to be controlled and eliminated before any repairs can be done. The costs will vary depending on your termite control professional but will usually include the cost of chemicals and baits, labor, and service and can vary based on your location and the type of termite treatment you choose.

Prevention

Termites can be prevented with scheduled periodic professional inspections which can help identify signs of infestations earlier, keeping damage minimal and repair costs down. Any professional termite control plan should eliminate termites, prevent future termite infestations, and prevent termite damage. If you suspect you have a termite problem or want to have an inspection done to check for termites, contact us for a free estimate.

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