Termite and pest inspections is one of the most important tasks that should be in your normal maintenance calendar. But every how often should you have one completed or when should you be looking out for termites? Well at least every 18 – 24 months by a professional, but that does not mean that you should do your own visual inspections frequently as often as weekly or monthly. It takes time for all species of termites to show themselves as they go through a silent time, or a time where they are not visible as the infestation is still at its early stages. The sooner that you find them, the less damage they will create on your structure. That is why it is important to be on the constant lookout, but what are the most common signs to look for?
The first thing that you will notice are termite swarmers wings, this is since when the termites are initially getting into the wood do not fit with the wing on their body. Just before going inside they detach their wings and leave them behind. Normally finding them means that a new family has moved into the neighborhood.
Another important thing to look for are pellets, this is an indication that a colony of Drywood termites is in progress. Termites do not actually eat the wood, but by using a bacterium that they have on their stomach they take the nutrients off, leaving pellets (or poop) behind. This is about 1/8 in size and has six equal sides. After a while, these pellets will pile up, and being that space is limited and with the assistance of gravity, they work their way outside or to the floor. If you do find some, give us a call as soon as possible so that a licensed technician can inspect, and control the area.
A more uncommon sign, but still very important one to look for are mud tubes. This is an indication of Subterranean Termites, it’s what they use to maintain their moist environment and survive. This can be found on the perimeter and cracks of your slab, your crawl space or basement, and other areas that are in contact with soil. However, with time they will expand and will go to more uncommon areas like attics, and wall voids.
Unfortunately, with time termites will start creating damage. And while it is not something that you want to see, it is important to know how to identify it so that the situation can be controlled and resolved as soon as possible. It will start with a small kick out holes, then surface/cosmetic damage and finally create structural issues if not addressed in time. Normally damage means that they have been there for a while, so make sure to have a complete inspection performed to locate all problem areas.
After an infestation hits maturity, they will start looking for new areas to expand and infestate. This is when they swarm and mate, commonly occurs during spring and fall in Southern California. This is bad news, as normally once termites are swarming in your property a whole structure solution will be needed. This is because they will get into areas that are out of reach like wall voids, ceilings and even on furniture. Take immediate action if you are seeing termites flying and dying around the interior of your property (especially areas of light like windows and drop lights).
This are the most common signs to look for. Be proactive and look around whenever you are cleaning or doing shores, remember that the earlier that you find it and control it the more cost effective that it will be. If you find any give us a call as soon as possible, and if not remember to still schedule a professional inspection at least once every 2 years. Our licensed technicians do this every day so they might see something you did not. It is easier and more cost effective to control via small localized treatments while possible than to wait until it is really needed or required as it is in the case of many refinancing and selling/purchasing transactions. Another option is to be protected under a GC Protection Plan which includes a yearly inspection from a licensed professional and treatments if required (plan options and cost vary by the situation). This will ensure that your property is always protected and taken cared off.
Let me know if you have any comments or questions below.
Gilberto A. Cortez
California Licensed Operator and Contractor