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Do It Yourself Termite Inspection

Updated on October 29, 2009

Temite inspection DIY

What to do if you think you might have a termite infestation, one option is to call out a professional pest control company. If you would prefer to do an initial inspection yourself you can you just need to be prepared? Get out your coveralls maybe some gloves, a pocket knife or a small screwdriver and a flashlight. Oh, and you might want to wear a hat because you’re going in crawl spaces and attics. You will need to carefully examine any areas where you might see signs of termites. You’ll need to pay close attention to areas which may be hard to access, damp and dark areas, places where pipes or plumbing are visible, the foundations of the house. Anywhere the wooden structure comes into contact with the soil.

Signs of termites

If you can see a powdery substance that looks like sawdust around your home, that’s a possible sign of termites. Small holes in wood, buckling or bubbles in the painted surface of wood work can indicate the presence of burrowing termites beneath the surface. A mud like substance on woodwork, if the termites break through the wood to the open air they will try to patch the holes, for this they use a mixture of saliva, soil and feces.

Termite damaged wood

Structural sections of wood can look as though they are crushed, tapping the wood with hammer will give a dull hollow sound if it’s got termite damage. You can dig into the surface of the wood with a knife or screwdriver if looks infested, it will be crumbly under the surface instead of solid. You may actually see live termites if you break open damaged wood. They will normally look yellow or white but it may not be easy to identify termites as there are around 40 different species in the USA.

Termite Swarms

Swarms of termites will obviously be visible, they may swarm inside your house if you’ve got an infestation or you may see them swarming outside which could mean you or one of your neighbours has a termite problem. They swarm when the colony reaches a certain size and some of the colony leaves to start a new colony. Swarming is most common in the spring but may also occur in the autumn.They look quite like flying ants. When they finish swarming they shed there wings so if you find piles of wings in or around your home you’ve got termites.

Look for any old timber on your property or old tree stumps especially if you’ve seen swarms in the vicinity.

Termite Tubes

Look for termite tubes, subterranean termite live underground in a nest but they build mud tunnels to their food source which is the wood in your house. These tunnels may be seen running from the ground up concrete or brick foundations to the wood. Old tubes may be dry and crumbly, if you break open some tubes you may actually see some termites inside, if you don’t then check later because if termites are still present they will repair the tubes. They will build tubes from the nest to food (your house) other tubes back from the food to the soil and some tubes which are exploratory; these will come from the nest but will not reach the food or wood.

If you don’t see tubes it doesn’t mean there are no termites they can find there way from the nest to your woodwork through cracks in foundation stone or beneath the stucco.

DIY or Termite Companies

If you find obvious signs of infestation in your house then you have a choice, whether to deal with it yourself or call termite control services. If you’re not sure if you’ve detected an infestation but you’re still worried then again it’s probably time to get a termite inspection.

The long term costs of untreated or badly carried out DIY termite control could be far outweighed by getting the job done properly by some one who specialises in termite control services.


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