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A Guide to Checking for Termites in Your Family Home

Photo by Jimmy Chan: 

Termites are annoying little wood-eaters, and when they construct their colonies, they go big or go home. In fact, science shows us that termites never get their zzzs. In other words, they're up and about busy building their colonies 24/7. If you have termites in the home, their damage can be significant and expensive. Unfortunately, termites are everywhere, and some species have survived for 250-million-plus years. You don't want an infestation, so our bug experts have some excellent tips on checking for termites in your family home.

Mud Tubes

These pesky insects like building narrow tunnels on a home's foundation and crawl-space walls. These mud tubes vary in width from the thickness of a pencil to an inch. Housing pros advise that if you break open a mud tube and see termites of a cream color, then, you have an infestation. If you see nothing, the tiny bugs are using another route to get inside, or the colony is dead.

Winged Termites

Entomologists say that if you spot winged termites outside your property, it doesn't mean a bad thing, but if you happen to observe them indoors, then, you probably have an infestation.

Also, just finding wings they've shed indoors also points to a possible infestation.

Damp Environments

Termites thrive in moist areas. That means the annoying insects enjoy taking up shelter inside damp wood, under a leaking gutter or next to your home's foundation or nearby masonry.

Dry Wood

Take a look at any wood pieces or wood items you have in the basement or attic for the results of blistered wood.

Housing experts explain that when termites are chewing through dry wood, they leave behind a thin veneer that appears blistered. If you press on the wood, it would break quite easily.

Termite Inspection By A Pro

Every state is different in how they handle termites when it comes to selling a property. In California, there is no state law of inspection. However, most buyers and sellers will order a termite inspection to make sure that problems won't be discovered when it's too late.

These professionals can find the issue fast and offer a ready solution. Also, a termite inspection with a home inspection is affordable and something real estate pros advise for getting termite clearance in California.

Moisture Meter

There are several tools you can use to determine if there is a termite colony hanging out in your home. One of these would be a moisture meter. This device can accurately find areas of your property that are showing significant moisture levels.

Anything above a moisture rate of 15% would indicate termite activity.

Borescope

This kind of tool can find termites by peering into a small hole located in a hollow wall. The borescope instrument provides fiber-optic light for detecting termites.

Acoustic Emission Detector

Here is yet another tool for finding termites, and this one sounds a bit frightening. An acoustic emission detector allows you to hear the sounds of hungry insects munching on wood fibers.

Screwdriver/Ice Pick

This is a common and classic tool used for determining if you have the insects lurking about. A screwdriver or an ice pick can be used to probe for hollow or soft spots.

Trained Dog

Yes, even Fido can sniff out the pesky bugs when trained to do so. Termites emit methane as they're chewing wood, and a dog skilled in this activity can find the insects in difficult areas to reach such as crawl spaces, where the wood-eaters can sneak up through cracks into interior walls.

Treatment Options

There are various treatments that can be used to get rid of termites, including baits, boron solution sprays, high-voltage dischargers, etc.

Let's be honest; a termite colony in the family home is a nightmare you don't want. After reading the above, you have a great guide on what you need to know and how to begin your search and detection. Just remember that there are professionals who do this for a living and do it very well and can offer you effective solutions to getting rid of these destructive year-round pests that never ever sleep.

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