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.
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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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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.
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.
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.
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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Spring is the time of year when termites swarm, emerging to mate and establish new colonies. Unfortunately, these new colonies are often established inside our homes. An average of 5 million US homes are infested each year by termites, causing an average of $5 billion in damage annually. What many people don’t realize is that termite damage isn’t covered by homeowner’s insurance policies. What’s a homeowner to do? One thing to consider is the Sentricon Always Active bait system for termite control. Sentricon is a highly effective, environmentally responsible treatment option for termites. What is included with the Sentricon system?
- Immediate Prevention. Sentricon bait is scientifically engineered to naturally enter the termite food chain and destroy both the queen and her entire colony. Sentricon begins working immediately upon installation.
- Home Termite Inspection. When you have Sentricon installed, a comprehensive property inspection is performed checking for signs of existing or previous termite infestations and damage.
- Bait Station Installation. Bait stations containing Recruit HD termite bait are installed in the soil around your home’s perimeter.
- Termite Colony Elimination. Recruit HD termite bait works 24/7 to protect your home from termites and damage.
- Continuous Monitoring. Bait stations are monitored as needed to protect your home against future termite invasions.
- Annual Termite Inspections. Annual interior home inspections for termites and pests are included at no additional charge.
- Lifetime Termite Warranty. Every installation of The Sentricon System with Always Active comes with a lifetime warranty against termite infestations and damage.
- Green Termite Control. Sentricon Always Active bait, Recruit HD, poses no hazard to groundwater and has no label restrictions for use around wells and cisterns. The Sentricon system was registered under the Reduced Risk Pesticide Initiative of the US Environmental Protection Agency and is the only termite control product ever to receive the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.
If you suspect you have a termite problem contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough inspection and recommend a comprehensive termite treatment and prevention plan.
If you’ve been outside lately you’ve probably seen signs of spring – blooming flowers, pollen that aggravates our allergies, and lots of new insects buzzing around. Another thing that spring brings is swarms – of termites! Termites are present year round but their swarming season is during spring and early summer.
Termites cause billions of dollars in damage to homeowners each year. Here in the Southeast, subterranean termites are the most common types and are particularly destructive. These insatiable eaters can damage not only wooden structures, but have even been known to cause damage to brick and concrete homes as well. Termites can invade your home through cracks and holes as small as 1/32 of an inch!
Swarms are most common in spring and summer because they are triggered by warm, humid weather. Swarming marks the start of a new termite colony. Winged termites leave their nests when they become overcrowded and their isn’t enough food to sustain them. They then take flight and actually reproduce in mid-air. The females will then shed their wings and fall back to the ground. They then go in search of a new location to start their colonies.
Swarmers don’t usually cause any damage but once they establish their new colonies their offspring can cause significant damage – usually within 2 years. If you see flying termites it can signal one of two problems:
- There could be an existing termite problem nearby.
- Your home could potentially be at risk of a termite infestation when the swarm lands looking for a new place to colonize.
If you see winged termites inside your home this is a good indication that you already have an established termite colony inside or that there is existing damage already.
What can you do to prevent termites from coming into your home? Check out these tips to keep the termites out!
- Have regular inspections done by a termite control company.
- Do regular inspections of the outside of your home and the subfloor of your home checking for wood damage and the presence of mud tubes. (Mud tubes are pencil-sized tunnels located around termite nests, wood structures, and concrete or stone foundations.)
- Repair any damaged roof tiles, soffits, and fascia on your home.
- Keep mulch away from your foundation as this retains water and the moisture can attract termites.
- Keep your basements, attics, and crawlspaces well ventilated and dry. Consider enclosing your crawlspace completely.
- Make sure gutters are clear of debris and downspouts are working to make sure water is diverted away from your home. Consider installing gutter guards to help prevent clogs.
As always, if you suspect you have termites or find signs of damage, contact a termite control company who can come in and do a thorough inspection and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan.