The average cost for termite treatment is $2,500. Hiring a exterminator, you will likely spend between $800 – $3,300 depending on the extent. The price of termite treatment can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). View our local exterminators or get free estimates from pros near you.
The number one reason you should get termite treatment is to protect your investment in your home. Most insurance companies will not cover termite damage. This is because the intent of an insurance policy is to cover your home, additional buildings, fences, and belongings against a list of “perils” such as fire, hail, lightning strikes, windstorms, and theft.
The important distinction between damage caused by termites and any damage that might occur because of any of the perils just listed is the fact that termite damage is preventable and the others are not. Costs vary depending on the size of your home, the degree to which it has been infested, and the treatment required.
Termites are eusocial insects—they operate at the highest level of organization in animal society, dividing labor into nonreproductive and reproductive groups, overlapping generations within a colony of adults, and cooperatively caring for the young.
Their diet mainly consists of dead plant material or cellulose, and while they eat some soils, animal dung, and leaf debris, we see this translate to widespread property damage across the country, because of the prevalence of timber framing in the construction industry. Dubbed as being among the most successful groups of insects on earth with colonies ranging in size from a few hundred to several million, Antarctica remains the only landmass on the planet termites have not been successful in colonizing.
Of the roughly 2,000 different species of termites across the United states, about five invade our largest investment looking for a place to call home.
With their incredible ability to chew through the wood in our floors, framing, doors, windows, and everywhere else, termites are responsible for close to $5 billion in damages to property annually (according to the National Pest Management Association).
In the US, the termites that cause the most damage are:
Commonly found in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Originally from China, they are reported as the most devious, aggressive, and voracious termites.
Seek out wood with a higher moisture ratio than other termites. Usually found in desert states, South Florida, and states along the Pacific coast, as well as the states next to them.
Most likely to feast on your wall joists or roofing materials, the drywood termite doesn’t need as much moisture in the wood as other termites. Despite this characteristic, they are more often than not found in wood near water heaters or leaky pipes in southern states—from the California coast across to North Carolina.
Travel quickly above ground like ants. They were believed to have been eradicated in 2003, two years after they were first discovered, but recently, the Florida Department of Agricultural Services confirmed sightings in Broward County, Florida.
Generally, termites prefer to relax during the colder months of the year, and when the temperatures begin to rise, the workers (or swarmers) come out looking for somewhere new to take over.
There are multiple benefits to having a timber frame house—structural soundness, construction can be completed on or off site, heavy timber frames possess a higher fire tolerance than stick-framed homes, and they can absorb the flexing and impact from seismic conditions matching Zone 4 of the Uniform Building Code. Wood is a renewable resource, eco-friendly, and used with minimal waste. And yet termites love it and, given enough time, can destroy a home.
Unless you know what you are looking for, it is possible to miss the evidence of their presence in your home. The quickest way to know if you have them is to have an inspection done. Termite Inspections can come at a cost of between $100 to $350, but many pest control companies offer this service for free, such as Homeshield Termite & Pest Management in Surprise, AZ.
Termites are very similar in appearance to flying ants. Where they differ in looks is they are generally a pale yellow and have straight antennae, whereas ants have more of an elbowed or bent antenna. Another easy identifier is that both sets of termite wings are the same size and shape, unlike the ants, which have a large set and a smaller set of wings.
Since termites’ wings are normally kept close to the body when walking, you may find wings that have fallen off—a common occurrence for these terrible flyers. In swarming season, the swarmer termites will begin to exit the colony to look for somewhere new. When they leave the colony, they will fly toward the first light they see and upon landing, their wings are no longer needed. By arching their backs, the wings break off and they will never fly again. Because of the age of the swarmer termites, the wings you are likely to find will all be similar in size.
Termite damage will sometimes appear like a carved maze on a piece of unpainted wood. For example, on an exterior piece of wood around a door or window which has been painted over, you will either see the deterioration of portions of the wood resulting in holes in the paint, exposing the damaged wood underneath, or where there is still paint covering the wood, it will appear bumpy or uneven underneath, often resembling the appearance of water damage.
On the interior of the home, evidence might look like buckled wood in furniture or flooring, and it often gives off an aroma like mold or mildew. Generally, this would be evidence of the presence of subterranean termites. Drywood termites set up home in wooden structures and can be found in walls and furniture, only showing up when the infestation is so deep that the external veneer cracks, revealing the maze underneath.
Because each species of termite tends to damage wood differently and to different degrees, visual evidence of an infestation may not always be easy to find. One method to look for termites is to tap on wood with a tool like a screwdriver to see if you can hear a hollow sound. If the wood sounds the same all over, then you should be okay, but if it sounds hollow in some locations, then there could already be an infestation. While this may provide you with some indication, it should not be a substitute for the services of a professional.
Termites can affect the integrity and structure of your house, causing irreparable damage to your home and any other buildings on your property. Even if you haven’t seen any evidence of termites or termite damage, it’s really important to contact a professional pest control company to come out and inspect your home to determine if there is existing damage and a current infestation. With that information, they will know what needs to be done and implement the right treatment, depending on what species they find.
Three of the most common treatments for termites include the following:
Termite bait treatment systems are a targeted assault aimed at destroying termite colonies. For this treatment, your treatment specialist will set up bait around the home and monitor them at set intervals to make sure your home is protected from existing and future infestations.
For instance, PestBear in Seminole, FL, offer a complete termite baiting system installed every 15–20 feet around your home. This system is checked every 90 days with your quarterly termite services and is a key element to killing the whole colony.
As their name suggests, subterranean termites make their home in the soil, and soil treatments are used in the soil surrounding the home to create a barrier. A trench is dug around the foundation of the home and then termiticide is used to treat the soil before the trench is filled back in. This is a very effective treatment method to eliminate a current infestation of subterranean termites when they leave the house to go back to the soil, and it will prevent future infestations.
Types of wood treatments include injected sprays and foams, surface sprays, and Borate-treated wood. For wood treatments, specialists use surface applications when a home is being built, and injections or foams to treat a home that is already built. Your termite specialist can choose a number of wood treatments to eliminate any existing termite colonies and prevent future colonies.
Outside of professional treatment, you can help mitigate or avoid some of the risk yourself by following the following guidelines:
Identify 3–5 specialists, and from there solicit bids for the work to be done. Once you have quotes, you can eliminate the companies you don’t want to work with, leaving you with the best possible choices. To get the list down, find companies that match as many as possible of these criteria:
If your home has termites, it is possible that they have been there for some time, so in regard to getting treatment taken care of the moment you find it, don’t rush the selection process for your specialist. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) says “When most people discover a pest problem, they want the problem eliminated immediately. However, most problems can wait a few days so you have time to select a competent, reasonably priced company.”
Also, don’t go with the lowest bid when looking to pay for a service that will protect something as valuable as your home. The EPA says, “It is important to make sure the pest control company you choose is competent. If pesticides are misused, both health and property can be damaged.”
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