Should you suspect that you might have termites present in your property ignoring them could be one of the most costly mistake you ever make.
Termites eat cellulose and the wooden structure of your home will keep several thousands possibly even millions of termites nesting somewhere close by well fed for quite some time. Unfortunately, this can and will cause untold structural damage to your house and could potentially destroy it completely. Therefore employing a professional inspector to carry out a full termite inspection is possibly a very small price to pay.
What should you expect during a termite inspection?
Basically a termite inspection is a visual inspection of all accessible areas of your house to determine if there is any activity from wood destroying pests or organisms. The inspection should take in the whole building, inside and out and should include any basements and any areas of crawlspace. The garden landscape including close by trees, wooden fences and outhouses such as sheds etc. should all be covered in the full termite inspection. In properties where there is no basement or crawl space the loft space may be inspected especially if you live in an area where dry-wood termites are common. The whole procedure should only take in the region of 45 minutes, but it could save you thousands of dollars.
FACT:- Did you realise that your general home insurance policy will NOT cover you for termite damage?
Carrying out a termite inspection in the attic of a dwelling could seem a bit unnecessary considering termites are usually found underground. This is because along with hunting for termite activity the inspector is also checking for evidence of any other bugs for example carpenter ants and beetles which will also destroy the wood in and around a property. If Dry-wood termites are a known threat in your area the inspector will be on the look out, looking for dry-wood termite pellets (faecal matter) which can normally be found on surfaces and stuck in spiders webs.
A couple of points worth remembering - don't be fooled into thinking because you live in an area where the temperatures can drop. Cold conditions may reduce termite slow them down and they may go into a state of hibernation but they will NOT DIE. Just as soon as the weather begins to warm up the termites will well and truly be back. In addition, termites don't advertise the fact that they are invading and eating the framework of your home. These tiny home wreckers are very discrete, moving in silence through underground tunnels and inside the wood. It is not unknown for them to totally demolish much of the timber from the inside ages before you have the slightest idea that there maybe a problem. For this reason if your neighbourhood is prone to termite infestations perhaps spending a few dollars each year to have a full termite inspection carried out periodically would be money wisely spent.
In saying that, vigilance on your part is also invaluable, it is extremely unlikely that you will come across termites wandering round your basement but, if you are very vigilant you might come across subtle signs of their presence. Termite droppings are often the first clue. These look similar to grains of sand or sawdust scattered around. They vary in colour from brown to beige (depending on the type of wood the termites have eaten!) You may of course discover more evidence of direct timber damage in the form of a structure which looks like a hollow beehive, or you may find that when you knock on wooden posts they sound hollow.
Regardless of whether you know you have a termite problem, think you possibly have a termite problem or are worried that other homes in your area have termite problems getting a full termite inspection carried out is the only way to be sure. The inspector will provide you with a full written report and help and advise if required and piece of mind if not!