As much as you hate the idea of having termites inside your home, a termite infestation is sometimes inevitable. Termites can invade your home either by land or by air.
Over time, they can inflict serious damage to your home’s structure and can cost you thousands of dollars worth of repairs.
Before such a problem gets even worse, your best move would be to call for professional help. We recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive to get rid of termites in and around your home. These exterminators have some of the best trained professionals that are able to use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions, which can be dangerous to use if not handled correctly.
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table Of Contents
Should you call for a termite exterminator?
Termites are quite scary pests. The very thought of having these invaders inside your home is horrifying—knowing that they can eat your house from the inside out without you noticing a thing until it’s too late.
Usually, your best option would be to call for a professional termite exterminator.
Why Make the Call?
Termites are very destructive pests. Like ants, termites are classified as social insects, which means that they live in colonies. When you accidentally see one inside your house, chances are that there are thousands more embedded inside your home’s structure.
As mentioned earlier, termites can invade your home in two ways—by land and by air. Winged termites emerge from their nests (particularly during spring time) and disperse to start new colonies. These winged pests enter your home as they get drawn towards the brightness of your household lighting. After mating, they shed their wings and establish a new colony indoors.
By land, termites have long proven themselves to be among nature’s best engineers. They are capable of building extensive networks of mud tunnels which link their underground nests with their food sources (otherwise known as—you guessed it—your home). Sometimes called mud tubes, these termite-friendly passageways are often found on the home’s foundations.
Termite infestation can go on undetected for many years. What seems to be a firm and undamaged wood structure is actually hollowed-out from the inside. And the longer the infestation is left untreated, the more compromised your home’s structural integrity becomes. Furthermore, the possible cost for the needed repair or renovation thus dramatically increases.
Termite exterminators are experienced in accurately detecting termite infestations—including the wooden components of your house that have been compromised. They are also capable of providing continuous treatment to make sure that the pests are completely eradicated.
When to Call for a Termite Exterminator
Eliminating termite infestation is a race against time and a battle against numbers. Termites are well-known as destructive pests, and failing to detect them in your home could mean greater renovation expenses in the future.
The key to ending an infestation is recognizing its clues as early as possible. Keep an eye out for the warning signs to combat these invasive pests as rapidly as you can!
Can I do it myself?
Invading termites are pretty difficult to detect since they’re skilled at keeping the outside layer of the wood they’ve been devouring in good shape. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t recognize the presence of infestation on your own.
One clear sign of termite infestation is the presence of droppings on the floor or atop your kitchen cupboards or cabinets. These droppings appear as small granules or pellets with color like that of wood. These droppings (also called frass) fall off from the infested ceilings or furniture. For a description of the frass, as well as a look at what termites can actually do to the wooden beams holding your home together, check out the video below.
You can also inspect the foundations of your home and look for mud tubes. As the name implies, these are tunnels made of mud that crawl up the foundations of your home from the ground below.
Another easy sign of infestation is the presence of winged termites emerging from the inside of your home. As soon as you see one of these aforementioned signs, it’s best to call a termite exterminator immediately. These are the reproductive members of the colony, and their presence indicates that a new family of termites will create its nest on your property if action isn’t taken to exterminate them immediately.
How bad does it have to get?
Termites are a serious threat to our homes and must be immediately dealt with in the earliest possible stage of infestation. It is, however, inevitable for such infestation to go on unnoticed for years considering the pests’ habitat and way of life.
Wood that can be easily punctured by light tapping is a clear sign of a serious case of termite infestation. Over time, a lot of wood structures of your house become hollow, resulting in particular sections of your home tilting to one side or collapsing on their own.
However, it’s never too late as far as treating termite infestation is considered. Whether it’s already a case of serious infestation or still just the beginning of an invasion, it’s important to call for expert help immediately.
Find A Local Exterminator
How Much Does a Termite Exterminator Cost?
When faced with termite infestation, you’re real best option is to hire a professional exterminator. But do you know how much it costs in hiring one?
Inspecting a property to determine the presence of termite infestation as well as classify its level of severity is an extremely complicated task.
The hired exterminator will have to literally go through all the wood elements of your home, including the structure’s foundations. Hunting termite nests and termite-damaged wood can cost you anywhere between $150 and $350, depending on the size of the property.
The whole treatment cost for termite infestation ranges around $1,000 to $3,500 and directly depends on the size of the property and stage of infestation.
Termite exterminators use different types of treatments, and homeowners can choose between these solutions. There can also be a combination of any two or three of such treatments, depending on the exterminator’s recommendation.
- Liquid Insecticide – This termiticide comes in the form of an aerosol spray and is applied on areas previously identified as termite nesting grounds and tunnels. For properties not more than 100 square feet, a single liquid termiticide can cost up to $1,500.
- Bait Stations – These are placed near termite nests or alongside identified active mud tunnels. Baits are effective in thoroughly eliminating an entire colony of termites, and a set of 10 stations usually runs around $400-$500.
- Heat Treatment – Like bed bugs, termites are also dealt with using the heat treatment method. This is a much more preferable approach for homeowners who don’t like the use of chemical-based treatments. In this method, the entire house is heated up to a certain temperature that is lethal for termites and held up for at least half an hour. The treatment costs about $1 per square foot.
- Fumigation – This process involves the utilization of a warning agent and a specialty fumigant such as Vikane. Fumigation is typically a 3-day process. The house is sealed up prior to the introduction of aforementioned gas agents. The fumigant is contained within the structure for about 24 hours. The following day, the house aerated through proper ventilation systems, prior to house clearing on the third. Typically, fumigation treatment costs around $2 per square foot.
What to Tell Your Termite Control Company
When it comes to calling a termite exterminator, every little detail counts. Making sure that you know what to tell the other person on the line can help save valuable time and effort for both parties.
There are two main reasons why termites invade your home: wood and water. Termites need moisture and cellulose (main component of wood) in order to survive.
So basically, your home is one giant buffet line for hundreds of thousands of termites—especially if you have wood structures that come in direct contact with the ground.
In most cases, termites’ mud tubes crawl up your home’s foundations and infiltrate the structure by burrowing through its wood elements. Apart from the underside of your home, termites are also often seen along house frames and across the ceiling.
When did the infestation start?
Most termite infestations often go undetected for many years. What’s important is for homeowner to be keen in observing typical signals of infestation. These include the following:
- presence of active mud tubes
- wood grains or termite droppings on the floor or at the top of cabinets
- swarmers or winged termites emerging indoors through section gaps
- holes or crushed appearance of wood.
As soon as you see any of these telltale signs, it’s best to call for a termite exterminator immediately.
What do you smell?
Both termites and mold flourish in structures that are rich in moisture. So if you notice a musty odor like that of mold, chances are that there are termites inside your home.
Swollen ceilings and walls
Your ceiling and your wall are among the basic and most noticeable indoor components of your home.
Termites eat and hollow out the insides of your wood structures—which results in odd swollen appearances of your walls and ceilings.
Find A Local Exterminator
Questions to Ask in Picking the Right Termite Exterminator
Termite infestation is a very serious problem that can cost you a fortune in repair or renovation expenses if you let the problem fester.
The biggest issue with termites is that oftentimes, they only get detected after the infestation has already spiraled into its critical stage. When you figure out that you have an infestation, it’s imperative that you hire the most competent exterminator to help you get rid of termites for good.
Termite infestation is a serious problem that warrants the use of harmful chemicals in and/or around your house.
Make sure that the termite control company you are about to choose is registered and licensed by the state’s Department of Agriculture to provide termite extermination services. Look for the staff’s certification in various fields, especially in construction safety and health, pest management, and construction quality management.
Be sure to also check the prospective company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This way, you’ll be able to not only see that they’re a legitimate company in good standing, but you can cross-reference the credentials they’ve given you against a federal database.
Previously treated homes serve as a reflection of the company’s competency and efficiency in treating termite infestations. Ask for the exterminator’s list of former clients and acquire firsthand feedback from these people.
This will help you gain an accurate glimpse on how the concerned termite exterminator works on different termite issues. In addition, this serves as a rubric for how favorably their previous clients see them.
Length of Service
Trustworthiness of the company is another critical factor homeowners must consider in finding the right termite exterminator.
This can be effectively gauged through the company’s length of service in the industry along with the number of satisfied clients. Simply put, a company with a greater level of experience would be your best bet.
Termite infestations are approached systematically with different types of treatments. And these treatments employ a variety of chemicals that can pose serious threat to the environment and your family’s health. Furthermore, treatments used on termite infestations require expert level skills and knowledge in handling the concerned chemicals.
The termite exterminator company you choose should be able to confidently discuss with you the types of treatment they are planning to use on your property. Copies of labels from the chemicals to be used which clearly indicate the ingredients and instructions on how they should be applied must also be provided.
A service guarantee measures the confidence of a termite control company over the solutions it offers.
While some companies offer a money back guarantee in cases of client dissatisfaction, others match their services with re-treatment guarantee if the termites reemerge within the warranty period.
Take some time to investigate different customer satisfaction policies offered by prospective pest control companies. Remember, this is your hard-earned money; spend it wisely on the treatment option that works best for your budget and your peace of mind.
Length of Treatment
Different types of termite infestation treatment require varying lengths of time. Take, for example, the fumigation treatment wherein the entire process could take up to three full days.
Bait treatment, on the other hand, doesn’t require displacing residents of the property concerned but does require continuous monitoring for at least 6 months to 1 year. Your termite exterminator should be able to discuss with you the full details of the treatment to help you and your family prepare accordingly.