Termites are a major threat to homes, particularly in warmer climates like Durham, though some form of termite can be found in most US states. The little, ant-like insects can cause serious structural damage to homes, eating wood, insulation, paper and more.
Preventive measures are the best way to avoid termites, so have your home inspected annually by a licensed termite control expert. However, if your home is already infested, the most thorough, comprehensive way to eradicate termites is through fumigation. While fumigation is usually more expensive than other forms of extermination, it’s a more comprehensive procedure and leaves almost no room for error. Fumigation is performed by sealing your home, into which a toxic gas is released and allowed to permeate for 2-5 days. Afterwards, your home is unsealed, and once air samples are taken to ensure the air is no longer toxic you can return to your termite-free home.
Fumigation typically costs between $1,200 and $2,500 for a 1,250-square foot house and $2,200 -$3,800 for a 2,500-square foot house. It’s important to make sure that the exterminator you choose is reliable and follows additional safety precautions, such as locking your home during fumigation and posting warning signs to protect you and your neighbors.
Before fumigating your home you’ll have to remove all plants, food, medicine, and pets, and gas utilities will have to be turned off. You may want to a hire a cleaning service to help get your home back in shape when you return. Since the fumigation process will take a number of days, you’ll have to find accommodations for you and your family in the interim. If you plan on renting a room somewhere or going away on vacation, factor this in to the cost of fumigation.
A termite inspection usually runs between $100 and $200, depending on the size of your home, though some companies offer free inspections.
Signs of Infestation
There are a number of signs that can indicate termite infestation:
- Mud-like material on wooden surfaces: Termites attempt to cover up the holes they have made by patching up the spot with a dirt-like substance. If you find these muddy patches, you may have termites.
- Termite tubes: Some termites burrow underground and build their colony next to a source of wood, travelling back and forth between the wood and the soil, in small, inch-wide tunnels of earth. If you see these tunnels your home may be infested.
- Sawdust: If you find unexplained piles of sawdust around your house you may have termites.
- Termite Wings: Termites shed their wings at certain stages. If you notice wings on the ground, it may be time to have an inspection.
If you discover an infestation and your flooring has been damaged, contact a local flooring contractor to repair any damaged joists or beams.
Termites pose no threat to humans but they can be severely damaging to your home. Have your home inspected annually, and if you see signs of termite infestation contact a professional exterminator in your area.