Termite Inspections: What Are They Looking For?

By Kimberly Martin on 18 April 2014

Atlanta — Termites are sneaky, silent invaders that often settle down in your yard and home so quietly that you won’t notice their presence until it’s too late. These insect hoards feed on parts of dead plants and trees, and it just so happens that the wood in your home qualifies as the major foundation of their diet. As a result many places in and around your home are at risk: your home’s foundation, firewood piles, furniture, and more. To determine whether or not these silent attackers are present in your home, calling up a termite inspector is the only option. Termite inspectors come to your home with two questions in mind:

  1. Does the home already have a termite infestation?
  2. Are there conditions present that could potentially invite termites to live there?

But how do inspectors answer these questions? When they begin their inspection, these experts have a checklist of problems to check for and tests they can perform to evaluate the possible infestation in your home. We’re here to take some of the mystery out of the process by explaining a few of these steps to you.

A full termite inspection will involve checking every area, both outdoors and indoors. There are other options available that are considered “limited” inspections, which are either performed to follow up on a previous inspection or concentrate on one specific area in or around the home. These are not as comprehensive, however, and you should choose to have a full inspection performed if you want to evaluate the safety and health of your entire home.

The Visible Signs

Inspectors look first for visible signs of damage that indicate a termite infestation or a potential infestation. One of the visible signs is obvious wear on the wood in or around your home (bite marks, holes, etc.). These can be caused by other insects like beetles, however, so it is not the guaranteed sign of termites.

Another sign which is a more definite indication of termites is the presence of “mud tubes” on wood, walls, and other areas of the home. These tubes are small networks of dried mud that the termites craft themselves so they can cross through open areas of your home without risk of drying out or being caught by predators. If an inspector finds these tubes, it’s almost certain that termites live in your home (or did at one time).

A smaller, visible sign that indicates possible infestation is the presence of small, pin-sized holes in your drywall, wallpaper, or paneling. Termites have created these holes in their quest to find the tastiest wood for their lunch, so an inspector will have concerns if he finds these in your home walls.

Finally, inspectors will walk around the exterior of your home to survey wood piles, sawdust piles, leaf piles, and other areas on the termite diet list. These areas not only supply good snack food for termites that live in your yard, but also are very moist due to outdoor exposure and are therefore the perfect residence for these termites. Removing termites in your yard is important because termites that reside in these areas will often make their way into your home over time.

“Sounding” Areas

Inspectors will also “sound” areas in your home, such as around fireplaces, windows, doors, and more. “Sounding” is the process of tapping wood with a blunt instrument (often a rubber-handled screwdriver) and listening to the sound to determine if it is normal. If the wood makes a “dead” sound or the sound is too quiet, this usually indicates damaged, and possibly infested, wood.

After an inspection is completed, your termite inspector will present you with a comprehensive report of their findings. This report usually lists two things: definite signs of termite infestation, and possible signs of infestation (these are usually damages that can also be caused by insects besides termites, or areas that are at risk of infestation in the future). In addition, your inspector will also provide you with a list of treatment options for present termites or preventative measures against future threats. Homeowners should always try to have termite inspections and termite treatments performed for their homes at least every two years. Usually, termite professionals will guarantee their work for that length of time, so once the guarantee has run out, it’s time for a new inspection/procedure. So if you believe your home needs an inspection performed, let Snehta help you locate a licensed, trusted termite professional near you.

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