Termite and Pest Inspection

There's a saying among pest control professionals: There are two types of houses. Ones that have had termites and those that will. This is a bit of exaggeration and there are many precautionary measures that new homeowners can take to prevent termites from infesting their house.

Pests And Termites

As with your property boundaries survey, title insurance searches and any other inspection that has been done before you decide on closing the sale, pest and termite inspection should also be a part of the deal. Termites are a very destructive and an intelligent insect. Every year new termite colonies hatch and along with the existing ones, these colonies cause millions of dollars in damages to business properties and private houses.

You probably had no idea but even concrete skyscrapers and steel are not protected against termites. They eat the paper on the back of drywall, wood stud or floor joist without discrimination.

Termites are truly fascinating insects. Their social system within the colony is a complicated structure with a queen termite at its center who lays thousands of eggs every day. In addition to the queen there are also reproductive termites, soldiers and worker termites - every insect has a specific role and belongs to a specific caste. The reproductive termites are the ones that leave their colonies to form new ones leaving the soldier termites to defend the colony against invaders. The worst termites are the worker termites. They have the biggest appetite.

Worker termites will travel from the colony through a complex network of underground tunnels in order to gather food for themselves as well as all the other termites who have stayed back at the colony. The workers are foraging for food non-stop and at random occurrences. They need to eat constantly.

Food? Well, it's actually your house we're talking about; they will eat some of the wood and take the rest back to the colony. They are always searching for new food sources because they are programmed to do so in order to survive and provide themselves with wholesome fresh food on a regular basis.

If it turns out that termites have held a couple of parties in the house you're interested in and perhaps it is possible that they will show up again, in the future, it doesn't necessarily mean that you should give up on the house right away. The repairs may bring the house back to good condition if the damage is not too serious.


In order to know what sort of condition the house you're after is in, it's a good idea to make an offer only after there's a contingent, upon which an inspection --carried out by two or more different persons -- is conducted.

You can hire a top quality pest control professional to inspect, specifically for the presence of active or previous termite activity. If you know that the house has had past activity there's no reason to believe that a new colony may form nearby. This can possibly be defeated by termiticide treatments. Additionally, it's a good idea to insist on an inspection by a registered professional structural engineer to make sure that the house foundation is not so damaged as to cause a complete ruin in the future.

There's a belief that houses with concrete slabs are termite-resistant; unfortunately this is not the case - no house is safe from termites. Termites will build mud tubes in order to cross concrete, brick, cinder block, metal termite shields, pre-treated wood or any barrier other than a professionally applied termite treatment solution. Since termites have a low tolerance to air and light and they need moisture they live underground and will attack your house from below. All they need is a loose mortar joint, a settlement crack in the slab to gain an entry.

You need to have a throughout inspection done on your house because even if you don't notice any termite damage they may still be around. For example, when a colony of termites swarms, the winged termites are in the air for short time and you may simply miss them. The insects also eat wood from the inside out and only a professional will be able to detect their activity.

The best way to take car of the termite infestation - if you notice their presence - is to call a termite professional as soon as possible. There's no advantage to waiting. Treating for termites should be at a fixed cost but if you wait for a long time, the damage will be worse and the repairs will become more extensive and certainly more expensive.

How Inspection Works

The termite inspector will first visually look through the entire interior of a home - this includes accessing and entering any sub-space such as basements and crawlspaces - as well as exterior of the property. In areas where termites seem to be prevalent, and in houses where there are no sub-areas, the attic may also be accessed and prone to inspection. Following the inspection the findings will be reported.

The average termite or pest inspection takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes for a thorough inspection, depending on the size and conditions - for example clutter; storage of personal items -- of the house and property.

There are a number of methods that are available to treat termites. The most common treatment is the chemical treatment type available for termites. The goal of a chemical treatment is to try to establish a continuous termiticide barrier between the termite colony in the soil and wood and inside the house. This is done by placing termiticide in the soil on both sides of all foundation elements to provide a barrier preventing termites from entering the structure. The extermination technicians will trench the soil and inject termiticide beneath it at 16-inch intervals. They'll also drill into hollow masonry block foundations and inject termiticide into the block voids for further protection (this is called a protective barrier).

In order to prevent future termite infestation is to have a pest control contactor visit the house sometime after termites have been eliminated and spray a liquid termiticide over the entire foundation area and if possible before the concrete is being poured.

The professionals are continually coming up with new methods of infestation prevention. A homeowner could also make post-construction adjustments to the house that are less conducive to an infestation of wood-destroying insects such as adjust earth to wood contact at support posts. Some reasons for termite infestation that should be examined are: cellulose debris and form boards left in the crawlspace; improper drainage away from the structure; and inadequate ventilation in the crawlspace. According to the professionals correction of these conditions will greatly reduce the likelihood of an infestation.

The termite inspection is almost always an inspection for wood-destroying insects and organisms. The termite inspector may also look for ants, bugs and fungus. Sometimes, in areas where termites are prevalent, and in houses where there are no sub-areas, the attic may also be accessed and inspected. Inspectors will routinely look in the attic area for termite pellets that generally accumulate on surfaces or in spider webs near the eaves area of the attic.

Some other pests that are a threat to your house include:

· Rats and mice that are usually a problem in urban, suburban and rural areas. They infest old buildings and crowded, unsanitary areas that exist in an urban environment but they can also be a problem even where newer houses and sanitary conditions exist. Rats and mice will eat practically anything humans eat, they get plenty of food from home gardens, fruit trees as well as garbage disposals.

Carpenter ant infestations usually involve a parent colony and one or more satellite colonies. The parent colony which houses the queen, workers, and brood requires a moist area and is usually located outside the structure unless a severe moisture problem exists within the building. They are attracted to a house with the following features: wood frame, crawl space, cedar or plywood siding, moderately to gently sloping roof, with trees and shrubs surrounding the house. Additionally, the house is about 5- 25 years of age and may be located near the edge of the forest. There are a number of other insects that can infest food stored in the home such as the flour beetles, drugstore beetles, cigarette beetles, booklice, carpet beetles, sawtoothed grain beetles, and their near relatives, the merchant grain beetles. Also common are the larvae of the Indian meal moth, Mediterranean flour moth and the granary and rice weevils. All these insects are small with makes them easily overlooked until they have built up a considerable population. Their smallness also makes them hard to control unless care is taken to be absolutely thorough in cleaning up all the food that gets spilled without neglecting cupboard and drawer cracks. Depending on your point of view spiders in the house can be an advantage or disadvantage. A few spiders can help control other more damaging insects that find their way into the house. Spiders produce sheets or strands -- cobwebs -- of silk webbing, and small white specks of excrement which may drop on underlying items. People who have allergies to spider venom and are afraid of these insects should naturally get rid of them. Bats should not be regarded as dangerous. Although it's very, very rare a bat may have rabies which eventually kill it. For example, the common house bat, Little Brown Bat, cannot easily transmit this disease to humans or pets because of their small teeth but it's possible to get infected if a sick animal is being picked up and touched. Unprovoked bat attacks are extremely rare.