Termite Inspection Katy TX (WDI)

Home Inspection Katy TX | Katy TX | Paragon Inspection

A Termite Inspection is a visual inspection of accessible areas for evidence of wood-destroying insects. Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. They primarily feed on wood but also damage paper, books, insulation, swimming pool liners, and filtration systems. Termites can injure living trees and shrubs, but more often, they are secondary invaders of woody plants that are already in decline. While buildings may become infested at any time, termites are particularly important when buying or selling a home since a termite inspection and infestation report is normally a condition of sale. Besides the monetary impact, thousands of winged termites emerging inside one’s home is an emotionally trying experience — not to mention the thought of termites silently feasting on one’s largest financial investment.

A termite inspection includes looking for signs of termite infestation, such as earthen (mud) tubes extending over foundation walls, support piers, sill plates, floor joists, etc. The mud tubes are typically about the diameter of a pencil but can sometimes be thicker.

Termites construct these tubes for shelter as they travel between their underground colonies and the structure. To help determine if an infestation is active, the tubes may be broken open and checked for the presence of small, creamy-white worker termites.

If a tube happens to be vacant, it does not necessarily mean that the infestation is inactive; termites often abandon sections of the tube while foraging elsewhere in the structure.

Termite-damaged wood is usually hollowed along the grain, with bits of dried mud or soil lining the feeding galleries. Wood damaged by moisture or other types of insects (e.g., carpenter ants) will not have this appearance. Occasionally, termites bore tiny holes through plaster or drywall, accompanied by bits of soil around the margin. Rippled or sunken traces behind wall coverings can also indicate termites tunneling underneath.

Frequently, there will be no indication that the home has a termite infestation. These pets are cryptic creatures, and infestations can go undetected for years, hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions. Termite feeding and damage can even progress undetected in exposed wood because the outer surface is usually left intact.

Ridding a home of termites requires special skills. Knowledge of building construction is a great tool to identify the critical areas where termites are likely to enter. Many of these potential points of entry are obscure and difficult to access. Termite control utilizes specialized equipment such as masonry drills, pumps, large-capacity tanks, and soil treatment rods. A typical treatment may involve hundreds of gallons of a liquid pesticide, known as a termiticide, injected into the ground alongside the foundation, beneath concrete slabs, and within foundation walls.

Subterranean termite colonies may contain hundreds of thousands of individuals foraging in many directions. Localized or “spot” treatments are generally a gamble for the homeowner except in retreatment cases. Most reputable pest control firms will not warranty spot treatments. This is because it’s likely that termites will eventually find other points of entry into the structure.

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Some companies may offer a so-called “perimeter” treatment using one of the non-repellent liquid termiticides (Termidor, Premise, etc.). Typically, this will involve a thorough application around the entire outside foundation wall of the building and spot-treating any infested or high-risk interior areas. If the homeowner is considering such a treatment, they should inquire whether it will be accompanied by a service agreement in case termites return. Service renewal agreements usually state that if termites return, the company will return and retreat to the affected areas at no additional charge, provided the renewal agreement is maintained. It’s a bit of a gamble to purchase any termite treatment option without an ongoing service agreement.

All liquid termiticides are supposed to control termites for at least five years when applied according to label directions. The actual length of control on a given structure will depend on factors such as the application’s thoroughness, environmental conditions, and the density of termites in the area. If termites swarm again and continue to be a problem the year after treatment, it’s usually not from degradation of the termiticide. However, termites have found an untreated gap in the chemical barrier.
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