How to Inspect for Termites: Top Tips From the Experts

Doing a home termite inspection once or twice a year is a good idea for anyone. But you need more than a casual inspection to prevent thousands of dollars in damage. If you are suspecting that your normal termite inspection isn’t adequate, we understand.

Need a guide for where and how to inspect for termites? While you won’t get a termite inspection report for your own inspection, you can at least raise your suspicions for a professional to take over.

Keep reading to find out the answers to your questions and what you’ll need to do your termite inspection.

What to Check For When Looking For Termites

Termites usually won’t say “Hey there! Here we are, nesting in your house!” They can easily be mistaken for other pests, and only pest inspectors can really know the difference all the time.

Coveralls, a bright flashlight, and a flathead screwdriver or pocket knife, and gloves should cover most of what you’ll need. That said, there are some high-tech tools that professionals can use that are non-destructive. If wood gives against the knife or screwdriver much easier than you expect, it’s a good sign it’s been weakened.

So what do they look for?

  • Wood damage
  • Mud tubes
  • Evidence of termite swarms
  • Frass (termite droppings)
  • Paint that’s bubbling or peeling
  • Living termites

If you don’t know what their droppings look like, you could mistake it for cockroach or other pest droppings. Or you might jump to conclusions that you have termites based on pictures you see online, only to have a totally different issue.

Likewise, there could be any number of reasons for moisture to get into drywall areas, which causes buckling, bubbling, or peeling paint.

You might even see a flying ant and mistake it for a termite.

In short, termites are tough to figure out. Without experience dealing with their signs, it’s unlikely to diagnose correctly.

Where to Look for Termites

Still dead-set on dealing with it or diagnosing it yourself? Alright, then you need to know where to look.

The places they like most are, you guessed it, wooden structures. They don’t generally live in them, but they love to go through and eat them. Decks, sheds, carports, trees, anything wooden is vulnerable.

Areas that are outdoor, especially ones touching the ground, should all have been treated during construction to repel termites. Especially fences.

Cracks in joints and in brick construction are common entrypoints for termites. Firewood is another way they often make their way into the home. Keep it off the ground and no closer than 20 feet or about six meters from your home.

This also goes for mulch used in landscaping. Putting mulch right up to your home is asking for trouble. It’s like putting a buffet on the table instead of having your customers get up, then wheeling them to their beds.

Look in your attic, pipes, crawlspaces, foundation, and other areas for mud tubes. They’re similar to a termite highway. You could even find these going to areas where there’s a collection of paper or cardboard.

Knowing How to Inspect for Termites

So now that you know how to inspect for termites, you can see it isn’t too hard to go where to look, but it’s a bit of a dirty job. Not only is it dirty, but it takes a bit of a keen eye to distinguish it from other pests. As with most things, more than one sign is best to look for.

Need more advice on home improvement or maintenance? Keep browsing our articles for the latest on home, health, and lifestyle!

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