Staying Within Your Budget: 5 Tips On Determining Termite Treatment Cost
Six hundred thousand US homes are damaged by termites every year. US homeowners spend $1 billion to $5 billion on termite treatment cost and home repairs. Termites and their hybrids can consume wood faster. They can consume between 3 to 11 pounds of wood per colony each day.
If this happens to you, termites will compromise your home structural integrity. Not only that. Termites and other pests can place your home at risk of fire and infest stored food such as grains.
How to Know If Your Home Is Infested by Termites
To find out if you have a termite infestation, check for winged termites indoors. Winged termites are attracted to light.
To tell the difference, termites have straight antennae, wings of equal size and a thick waist. Ants have pinched waists and elbowed antennae. They also have longer forewings compared to their hind wings.
If you note swarms of termites emerging close to the foundation or your porch, then your home is infested. Another sign of an infestation is mud tubes on walls, sill plates, floor joists, and support piers.
The mud tubes act as shelter. This allows them to move between underground colonies and the surface to find food. To know if the infestation is active, break one of the tubes. If small creamy white worker termites fall out, then it is an active infestation.
To be sure, check the broken section after a few hours. If you find the section has been repaired, you have an active infestation.
You may find that the mud tube is empty. This means the termites have abandoned it. To be sure, break a few more mud tubes. Once you confirm an active infestation, call a termite control company.
1. Type of Termite Present at Your Home
In Florida, you can come across the following termite types:
- Formosan subterranean termite
- West Indian drywood termite
- Eastern subterranean termite
- Florida dampwood termite
- Conehead termite
The most destructive is the Formosan subterranean termite. It has the ability to consume 3 pounds to 11 pounds of wood each day. On the other hand, the most widespread is the Eastern subterranean termites. Each of their colonies can reach millions of termites.
These termites can produce secondary colonies. They can survive where there is moisture such as damp wood or leaking plumbing pipes. If not detected, they can destroy a home in months.
How much does termite treatment cost?
Start by determining the species of termites infesting your home. Call your local termite control company and inform them of the type of termite. They will offer a free termite treatment cost estimate within a few minutes.
2. Type of Damage
The Formosan termites have large colonies and infest homes using mud carton nests. This is the same with Asian, and Eastern subterranean termites. If the infestation has gone undetected for months, the damage done is extensive.
On inspection, you may find damage to your foundation, floor joists, walls, porch, and patio. Without the proper tools and skills, it is difficult to quantify the extent of the damage.
The best course of action for you is to hire a professional termite control expert. Upon arriving at your home, the expert will carry out an inspection. By doing so, he gets to determine the kind of damage.
After inspection, the expert will present you with a report. In the report, you will find your free estimate.
3. Termite Treatment Cost and Techniques Used
Termite control experts use many techniques to get rid of the infestation in your home.
Some of the methods used include:
- Liquid chemical barrier
- Non-repellent liquid treatment
- Termite bait systems
Let’s take a look at each method. In the liquid chemical barrier method, experts repel termites before they enter your home. To do so, termite control experts apply a liquid chemical such as termiticides. If termites are already present in your walls or floor, they will die from dehydration.
Non-Repellent liquid treatment does not involve chemicals. As the most preferred method, experts can set up a physical barrier. For instance, they can use sand and steel mesh. Also, they can choose biological control agents like nematodes.
Examples of termite barrier systems include Noviflumuron and hexaflumuron.
4. Size of Your Home
When it comes to the size of your home, the bigger the house, the higher the termite treatment cost. Why? Bigger homes are likely to suffer extensive damage compared to smaller homes. This is because before the infestation is found in a bigger home, it will have spread to several parts of your home.
Also, it will require experts more time to inspect your big home compared to a small home. This does not mean you cannot save your home. To save your home, take steps to get rid of the infestation.
5. Foundation of Your Home
In Florida, you have two types of foundations. They are the stem wall and monolithic foundations. If your home has a monolithic foundation, you will need a custom treatment method.
New homes have a monolithic foundation while older homes have a floating foundation. Termites will likely enter a home at the foundation level through a gap. To eliminate the termites, experts will focus on the outside foundation
The general treatment method for termite infestation affecting a monolithic foundation is trenching. In this method, the location of the infestation is treated with non-repellent termiticide.
There are two reasons for this:
- Helps to ensure the sub-colony is eliminated as they exit the colony
- Prevents the emergence of a new colony
Pest Inspections & Termite Inspections
When looking to purchase a new property in Australia, it’s important to get a combined building and pest inspection to check for any termite activity or damage.
Termites tend to avoid open air and bright lights, and as a result, their colonies are typically underground, out of sight or within wood materials so more often than not, termite damage is hidden away from sight. For this reason, it’s important to get a professional pest or termite inspector who knows common areas to check for termite damage or conditions conducive to termites.
Our pest and termite inspections involve a visual inspection of the readily accessible areas of the property for evidence of termite activity and/or termite workings or damage. The areas that will be inspected include the interior and exterior of the building as well as accessible roof cavities and subfloor areas. The findings of the inspection will then be noted in your pest report which will be issued via email the following morning, including any recommendations for a suitable termite treatment plan.
What is a Pest Inspection?
A Timber Pest Inspection or Termite Inspection entails a timber pest inspector completing a visual pest and termite inspection of all accessible and available areas of a property for the presence of active termites and/or termite damage. The results of the pest inspection include conductive conditions to termite attacks, risks & recommendations for termite management programs.
What does a Pest/Termite Inspection entail?
A Termite Inspection is a visual inspection of the readily accessible areas of a home for evidence of termite activity and or termite workings/damage. The inspector will visually inspect the interior and exterior of the home or building including any accessible roof cavities and sub-floor areas.
After the pest inspection has been performed, the findings are noted in the termite report which will be issued via email the following morning.
How long does a Pest Inspection take?
The average Pest Inspection takes approximately 60 minutes for a thorough inspection, depending on the size and conditions (e.g. clutter; storage of personal items, etc.) of the home and property.
How much is a Pest Inspection?
The cost of a pest/termite inspection will vary depending on what region you are located in and the size of the property being inspected. For an accurate quote please contact us or view our inspection prices page for an approximate idea of the cost.
What do termites look like?
Subterranean termite colonies consist of three different castes (reproductives, workers and soldiers).
All of the subterranean termites are generally creamy white in appearance and are translucent, looking very much in size, shape and colour as a grain of rice.
The reproductives, or “swarmers”, have a pair of even-sized wings and are often mistaken for flying ants. The workers look similar to the “swarmers” only they are a little smaller and do not have wings. The soldiers are also similar except for their oversized heads and large, crushing mandibles.
What is the difference between ants and termites?
There are a number of differences between ants and termites. The body shape of an ant is like an hourglass–it narrows between the abdomen in the rear and the thorax in the front. The body of a termite is more cigar-shaped without the narrowing between the front and back halves of the body. When wings are present, ants have larger wings in the front and smaller wings in the back, whereas termite swarmers have relatively equal-sized wings. Ant wings are less veiny than termite wings.
Also, ant wings have a stigma (dark spot) on the leading edge of the front wing, and termite wings do not.
Ant antennae are bent or curved, while termite antennae are relatively straight. Also, termites eat the wood they tunnel through and ants do not.
Types of termites
Common throughout south-east Queensland, the Schedorhinotermes Intermedius termite can cause major structural damage to hardwood timbers. Often having multiple nesting points in dead tree stumps, native trees or underground, they travel across the property to get to new nesting points and food sources, making it difficult to locate the source of the infestation.
They eat both softwood and hardwood timbers, usually attacking weathered or moist areas of the home. Ferocious attacks can even leave solid hardwood reduced to shambles.
Coptotermes AcinaciformisConsidered the most destructive termite species throughout Australia, the Coptotermes acinaciformis forms large colonies and can be found anywhere on the Australian mainland. Because of the size of their colonies, they’re capable of causing incredible damage in relatively short periods.
While they can show up anywhere in suburbia, they tend to nest in gum trees, old tree stumps, old logs and even behind retaining walls. They’re a bold species and you can sometimes find them over 100 metres from their nest.
Nasutitermes Walkeriis noticeably darker than other termite species, the Nasutitermes Walkeri is easily identified by its colouring and single sharp point on the head of the soldier caste (most have two acting as incisors). They can be found in eastern New South Wales and south-east Queensland.
They tend to form dark coloured mud mounds as nests in Brisbane’s bushland areas but like to make themselves home in roof cavities. Although they can be found nesting in homes they prefer to feed on decaying hardwood, so it’s possible to have an infestation with very little timber damage.
Termites: How to Identify and Control Them
Does termite damage worry you? If so, you are not alone. Every year termites cause billions of dollars in structural damage, and property owners spend over two billion dollars to treat them. This fact sheet focuses on how you, as a consumer, can identify and help protect your property from termites through effective prevention measures and appropriate use of termite treatments.
How do I Know if I Have Termites?
The first step in prevention is to be on the alert for termites. Termites rarely emerge from soil, mud tubes, or food sources through which they are tunneling. Most people are not aware they have termites until they see a swarm or come across damage during construction. Some of the ways to discover if you have termites are listed below:
- Examine, by probing, exposed wood for hollow spots (using a flathead screwdriver or similar tool).
- Identify termite swarms (sometimes ant swarms are mistaken as termites).
How Can I Prevent Termite Infestation?
Make the Structure Less Attractive to Termites
During construction, use a concrete foundation and leave a ventilation space between the soil and wood. Cover exposed wood surfaces with a sealant or metal barrier.
Maintain the Termite Prevention Features
- After construction, keep the soil around the foundation dry through proper grading and drainage (including maintenance of gutters and downspouts).
- Reduce openings that offer termites access to the structure (filling cracks in cement foundations as well as around where utilities pass through the wall with cement, grout, or caulk).
- Fix leaks immediately.
- Keep vents free from blockage, including plants.
- Ensure that trees and shrubs are not planted too close to the structure and do not allow them to grow against exposed wood surfaces.
- Do not pile or store firewood or wood debris next to the house.
- Inspect periodically to help ensure that termite colonies do not become established.
What are the Different Types of Termite Treatments?
Some ways to keep termites out do not involve the application of insecticides. For example:
- One such method is a physical barrier, typically incorporated during construction.
- Steel mesh and sands of particular sizes have been shown to perform effectively as physical barriers.
- Biological control agents (nematodes and fungi) have demonstrated some success, particularly in laboratory settings.
Because these methods do not involve the application of an insecticide, EPA does not regulate them.
Before a company can sell or distribute any pesticide in the United States, other than certain minimum risk pesticides, EPA must review studies on the pesticide to determine that it will not pose unreasonable risks to human health or the environment. Once we have made that determination, we will license or register that pesticide for use in strict accordance with label directions. The pesticides used for the prevention or treatment of termite infestations are called termiticides and must demonstrate the ability to provide structural protection before we register them. In most cases, termiticide application can only be properly performed by a trained pest management professional.
Approved treatments include:
- Liquid soil-applied termiticides.
- Termite baits.
- Building materials impregnated with termiticides.
- Wood treatments.
Two common forms of treatment are conventional barrier treatments and termite baits.
Conventional Barrier Treatments
The most common technique for treating termite infestations is the soil-applied barrier treatment. Termiticides used for barrier treatments must be specifically labeled for that use.
If conducted improperly, these treatments can cause contamination of the home and surrounding drinking water wells and will not protect against termites. For that reason, it is important to hire a pest management professional who is licensed and trained to take proper precautions.
In recent years, several bait systems have been introduced to help reduce the overall use of insecticides and their impact on human health and the environment. These systems rely on cellulose baits that contain a slow-acting insecticide.
The most common active ingredients found in termite baits are:
- Diflubenzuron – inhibits insect development.
- Hexaflumuron- first active ingredient registered as a reduced-risk pesticide. It is used as part of a termite inspection, monitoring, and baiting system. Also see general fact sheet (PDF) (3 pp, 248.46 K) EXIT
- Hydramethylnon (PDF) (5 pp, 150.66 K) EXIT- insecticide used to control ants, cockroaches, crickets, and termites. (Also see information on hydramethylnon regulatory status.)
- Lufenuron- an insect growth regulator used to control termites and fleas.
- Noviflumuron (PDF) (6 pp, 97.8 K)- disrupts termite growth and activity.
What do Drywood Termites Look Like?
There are three distinct groups into which termites are divided: subterranean, drywood, and dampwood.
Since the worker termites in these groups more or less look the same, the appearance of the reproductive caste (alates) and soldiers is important.
Alates, or swarmers, have two sets of wings. The front set of wings has a pattern of three or more heavy, well-pigmented veins in the outer part of that front wing. Also, swarmers shed their wings very quickly after swarming, so most all dead swarmer bodies do not have attached wings. This is a good characteristic to distinguish drywood termite swarms from subterranean termite swarms since subterranean swarmers will consist of dead swarmers with and without attached wings. Swarmers can be up to 12 mm long.
Drywood termite soldiers have large mandibles (mouthparts) with teeth and their pronotum is as wide, or wider, than the head. Also, most drywood termite soldiers and workers are larger than the soldiers and workers in subterranean termite colonies.
How Did I Get Drywood Termites?
Drywood termites get all the moisture they need to survive and develop from humidity in the air and moisture they get from consuming the wood they eat. As a result, the drywood termites can survive without living in soil and do not construct their nests in the ground, but instead construct their nests in the dry, above ground wood they infest. The pests enter homes through exposed wood or infested items like wooden furniture.
How Serious Are Drywood Termites?
Infestations can be limited to one area of the house or can be widespread. Damage is often extensive, as these pests will chew tunnels inside wooden beams or other wooden objects, weakening them from the inside. Home repairs for drywood termite damage may be costly and involve the use of house fumigation procedures.
Signs of a Drywood Termite Infestation
When a drywood termite colony is mature, swarms of winged male and female reproductive insects are produced. These reproductive termites fly out of their colony to create new colonies after mating. Warm temperatures and heavy rains instigate swarms.
Drywood termites extract as much water as possible from the feces to conserve it. The result are very distinct fecal pellets called frass. They are a hexagonal and all are a similar size of 1 mm long. The termites kick them out of their tunnel. Appearance of mounds of these pellets indicate activity. It is important to note that pellets can remain almost indefinitely from a dead colony and may mislead a homeowner that it is current activity. Contact a termite control professional to confirm current activity.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Where do they live?
Create colonies in wood and occasionally other cellulose material, with no connection to the ground necessary; often found in attic wood; need very little moisture.
Nymphs pass through four to seven instars before reaching adulthood; sexual forms eventually swarm to form new colonies.
It is estimated that termites cause over a billion dollars in damage to United States homes each year. Unlike fires, hurricanes and tornadoes, termite damage is seldom covered in homeowner insurance policies. The dangers of termite infestation are also underpublicized, leading most homeowners to believe that no preventive measures are necessary.
However, annual inspections are an effective means of preventing major damage to your home. There are two major families of termite present in North America: subterranean and drywood termites. Both species feed on cellulose material, including books, dried plants and furniture, as well structural wood. While subterranean termites burrow underground, drywood termites do not need the soil. After a colony of drywood termites has gained entrance to a home, they are capable of dispersing widely throughout many rooms and floors.
Although drywood termites are far less common than subterranean termites and are found primarily in coastal, southern states and the Southwestern states, drywood termite damage is substantial. Drywood termite infestations are identifiable by piles of fecal pellets. These fecal pellets are often first noticed in places like windowsills. If you find piles of tiny pellets in your home, it could be a sign of a drywood termite infestation. A trained pest control professional can provide a thorough inspection.
Six Key Signs of a Termite Problem
The Australian Standards recommend having an annual termite inspection done by a licensed timber pest inspector at least annually to detect any seen or unseen termite activity within a structure. This is particularly important for home owners in south-east Queensland where subterranean termite populations are exploding across the region. Our sub-tropical climate is ideal for subterranean termites and we are busier than ever with calls from panic stricken home owners who have just discovered a colony of termites making a meal of their investment.
This is just a helpful guide for home owners and should by no means be a replacement for a professional termite inspection but we have compiled a list of signs that you may have a termite problem. You may find all or couple of these signs or none at all, if in doubt always contact a professional.
Early in the summer season it’s not unusual to see flying termites, especially after rain. These swarmers or flying termites (known as alates) are the reproductive kings and queens of a nearby nest. During the warmer months (usually during periods of high humidity) the kings and queens will fly from the nest to mate and start a new colony. Hundreds of kings and queens are released from a termite nest at any one time (hence the nickname: swarmers). Alates are not distance flyers and will go wherever the breeze takes them, with this in mind, if you see alates near your home it is usually indicative of a large or mature nest that is very close.
Hollow Spots in the Walls or Skirting Boards
If left to their own devices subterranean termites will eat all the timber in a home and have been known to leave only the paint behind. We’ve had panicked calls from home owners who have just poked their fingers through their walls to find nothing but a thin veneer of dry paint. If you fancy yourself a bit of a DIY termite inspector, be on the lookout for hollow spots in your walls, window frames or skirting boards but the noises you should be looking for can be difficult to identify without years of training and experience.
Stiff Doors and Windows
If you suddenly notice a door is harder to close all the way than it used to be or it just doesn’t sit right, it could be indicative of an unseen termite problem. The stiff doors indicate that the timber has shifted or possibly swollen. This is a little known fact but a subterranean termite nest and galleries are very hot and humid. The heat and humidity can cause timber to swell and the termites eating at the timber may cause it to shift. It could also mean you have a moisture problem in this area so if you’re unsure, consult a professional to make the distinction.
Live Termites in the Garden
Finding termite in the garden doesn’t necessarily mean you have termites in your home. If you’ve found termites eating away at some sleepers in the garden it means a nest is close by. If you happen to find a nest, it’s best to take action and have a professional pest controller treat the nest and inspect the home for any unseen termite damage. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking the termites are happy eating your sleepers so they won’t head towards your home. A termite colony can have millions of members with galleries heading in all different directions, so they can be simultaneously attacking your home and your garden sleepers. Another thing to consider is if they ARE just eating your sleepers, what will they eat once the sleepers are finished?
Many people don’t know this but you can actually hear termite workers chewing on your home’s timbers, if you do hear a slight chewing, gnawing or rustling noise from within your walls it would be a wise idea to have a professional perform a termite inspection to ascertain whether what your hearing is termites or maybe something else entirely. If you also hear a slight clicking or tapping noise this could be the termite soldiers knocking their heads or body on the timber surface to indicate danger to the other termites.
Frass refers to termite droppings and/or dead bodies. You may find small piles of frass around the home or skirting boards. This indicates you may have an ant problem or a Drywood termite problem. Drywood termites are different to subterranean termites in that they live their entire lives in the timber they are infesting, whereas Subterranean termites need to return to the soil for moisture. It is unusual for subterranean termites to leave frass behind as they use their feces in the making of their galleries. Drywood termites are an introduced pest and are capable of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage and should not be ignored. As Drywood termites are an introduced pest their presence should be reported to the governing body: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
These are just a few of the major signs of a termite infestation but nothing beats a comprehensive termite inspection completed by a professional timber pest inspector because whilst you can look for these signs, you may not have the experience and knowledge to identify what your looking at and know the best course of action in response to what you find.