When buying a home, it’s important to understand what you’re purchasing. When doing preliminary research, it’s easy to focus solely on the home’s location, size, layout and aesthetics, but some of the most critical things you need to check out are relatively invisible to the untrained eye.
For instance, did you know that termites do more damage to homes than threats like tornadoes, hurricanes and fires combined? Termites cause roughly $5 billion in damage every year, and a single infestation in your house can cost you $8,000 or more. That means there’s a lot riding on your ability to keep them out of your home.
Most mortgage lenders require a wood infestation report as part of the loan approval process. This is commonly referred to as a “termite letter” or “clearance report.” A “wood infestation report” is a better name for it because it covers several wood-destroying pests in addition to termites.
To ensure you don’t inherit a problem, you’ll need a licensed pest professional to do a thorough termite inspection. A professional will go in, under and around the house to measure the moisture levels in the wood, as well as look for any signs of current or former termite activity.
Termites are active year-round, but are more active when the weather is warmer. There are two main subterranean termites found in the Southeast that can cause major damage to homes: Eastern subterranean termites and Formosan subterranean termites.
- All subterranean termites have colonies underground and need contact with soil to survive, unless there is enough moisture above ground.
- Formosan termites, found mostly along the coastal areas, have much larger colonies and can do more damage in a shorter amount of time.
Eastern subterranean and Formosan termites are different species of termites that have different biology and behavioral patterns and require different treatment options. They are NOT usually covered under the same contracts or agreements.
Be aware of potential signs of termites in a home. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Mud tubes, which are made of dirt and about the size of a straw
- Hollow, damaged or blistered wood
- Termite wings left around a window sill or outside light fixture
Inspect all areas of a home where soil and wood come in contact, and make sure debris and landscaping are away from the foundation of a home. Look for areas where moisture could build up. Also look for cracks in the foundation that could be used as an entry point.
The best way to prevent termites from doing damage is to keep them out of a home. Terminix offers the most advanced solutions, backed by the strongest guarantee in the business. We’ll exterminate them, and work with you to eliminate or reduce the things that attract them in the first place. Find out more here.