A home can be vulnerable to a number of dangers of catastrophic proportions—large trees crashing through the roof, major windstorms, flash flooding, and five-alarm fires that can light up the night sky. But perhaps the greatest threat measures a mere quarter of an inch and works in total silence, devouring “your castle” from the inside, undetected and relentless.
Termites (scientific name: Isoptera) are found throughout the United States, affecting close to 600,000 homes and causing billions of dollars in damage annually. For victimized homeowners, that translates into an average of $8,000 in costs once these pests have chewed into beams, posts, floor and ceiling joists, and wall studs.
As with termites, carpenter ants (scientific name: Camponotus) can go unnoticed for long periods, leading to both cosmetic and structural deficiencies in a home. The problem is that unless you're a trained professional, these insects are extremely difficult to detect. Certified and experienced wood- destroying insect inspectors, like those at a-pro home inspection, know the clear signs that termites or carpenter ants have taken up residence in a home.
During a termite inspection, the structure's exterior, interior, attic, and crawlspaces receive a thorough examination for evidence such as mud tubes, mud between construction joints, wood powder near pinholes, sunken wood surfaces, discarded wings, termite feces, exit holes, and other indicators. Particular attention is paid to areas where there is wood-to-ground contact, excessive moisture, and poor ventilation.
Termites don't have a dormant season. While they may be less active in the fall and winter in areas where temperatures plummet and the ground freezes, they never actually die out. They dig down into warmer soil and wait until spring to swarm, move inside, and feast on wood.
If they're already inside a heated home regardless of the conditions outside, they can cause damage throughout the fall and winter. In warmer climates like California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, termites can be active year round.
Evidence of carpenter ants can be found in the form of conical piles of sawdust-like material (known as frass) they will leave outside of their nest entrance hole. Other indications include the presence of a long trail of ants; a crinkling, rustling sound produced in the nest; a few stray ants (likely checking out the area for food); wall or foundation cracks that make entry easier; and nests outside the home in mulch or vegetation near the foundation. Typical home nesting locations include soft wood around and under windows, around poorly sealed door frames, by tubs and sinks, decks, roof eaves, and porches.
An inspection for wood-destroying insects by a-pro Home Inspection is performed separate from a complete foundation-to-roof home inspection. A detailed wood-destroying insect report can provide:
· Evidence of possible infestation by termites, carpenter ants, wood-boring beetles, carpenter bees, and other insects
· Details about visible damage accessible at the time of the inspection
· Recommended actions in case wood-destroying insects are present or if the home's exterior is ripe for an infestation
· Peace of mind when purchasing a home
· Full disclosure when selling a home, plus the opportunity to take action against an infestation should one exist