Did you know that American homeowners and business owners spend more than $2 billion each year on efforts to control or prevent termite infestations?
In Southern California, the most prominent types of termites are the Subterranean and Drywood species. Once they invade your home, they can wreak havoc on your property, leading to costly and expansive damage. If you’ve noticed possible signs of an infestation, it’s critical to schedule a termite inspection as soon as possible.
Knowing what to expect from this inspection makes it easier to prepare. Today, we’re taking a closer look at what this service includes and why it’s such an important step in keeping your home or business pest-free.
A Look at Termites in Southern California
If you think you may have a termite problem at your Southern California property, you’re not alone. There are more than 23 different types of termites in our region alone!
In nature, they can be highly beneficial, feeding on the felled trees, grasses, and bushes that exist in our forests, woodlands, and deserts and returning valuable nutrients to the soil. However, they aren’t as welcome indoors.
Subterranean, Drywood, and Dampwood termites are especially common here. Buildings can host colonies of the same termite species or several different species, all at once. While you may notice early signs, most property owners are unaware of an infestation until they discover a significant finding.
These pests are especially adept at staying hidden, often staying behind walls, burying into crawlspaces or sneaking under slab foundations during periods of inactivity.
An inspection by qualified, certified termite inspector is the most efficient and straightforward way to determine if the signs you’re seeing are truly from a termite colony or if there’s another type of pest at work.
Signs of a Termite Infestation
Are you thinking about hiring pest control services to help identify and treat potential termites? It’s always a good idea to schedule an inspection if you think you’re dealing with a destructive, invasive species like this. Waiting too long could mean the difference between a manageable repair one and an exorbitant one.
Too often, property owners don’t realize they have termites until substantial damage has already been done. If you notice any of the following signs, contact our team to schedule an inspection as soon as possible:
- Termite droppings (especially piles of feces near the entrance of a termite tunnel)
- Live termites or termite fragments (e.g. pile of wings) around your structure
- Mud tubes inside or outside your home
- Bubbling or peeling paint on your walls
- A hollow sound when you knock behind your walls
- Doors or windows that fit incorrectly or too tightly
- Clicking noises coming from within your walls
- Discoloration on or around your drywall
Why would a termite inspection affect the way your windows or doors fit? Put simply, as termites eat wood, they produce moisture. Over time, this moisture can expand, warp, and damage the surfaces of your home, including your doorjambs or window jambs.
Of course, you shouldn’t automatically assume you’re dealing with termites if this is the only sign you see. However, if you’ve noticed this change along with any of the other signs above, go ahead and call for an inspection.
How to Prepare for a Termite Inspection
Once you’ve scheduled a termite inspection, your inspector will walk you through the steps required to get your property ready before the pest control technicians arrive.
While each team will have its own specific protocols and procedures, there are a few universal steps that most companies prefer clients to complete ahead of time. Here are the ones to expect.
Clean and Declutter
You don’t need to get every room in your home absolutely spotless before a termite inspector arrives. However, we do recommend cleaning out the areas where you’ve noticed any signs of an infestation. This will make it easier for the inspector to work in those spaces.
For instance, remove any accessories or cleaning products that you have stored under your kitchen, bathroom, or utility room sinks. The inspector will need to look behind those lower cabinets to check for any termite activity near your water sources. Subterranean termites are especially known to invade places where the plumbing intersects the slab of your home’s foundation.
While you’re cleaning and re-arranging, it’s also helpful to remove any furniture or boxes that you have stored directly against the wall. Allow at least two feet of clearance in front of each wall if possible, including all of the walls in your garage. As they move into your home from the outside, the garage is often the first area where a termite colony will invade.
In addition to the interior of your property, don’t forget the exterior. If there are bushes leaning up against the outside of your home, trim them back. You should also move any boxes, furniture, or decorative accessories that are directly touching the building.
Open Access to Your Storage Rooms
Do you keep most of your keepsakes or off-season storage in your basement or attic? If so, take the time to clear those entrances so the inspector can easily walk around the rooms.
Termites tend to cluster in places where human activity is low, and most of us don’t spend much time in these out-of-the-way areas. There are also lots of great hiding places in there!
If you have a crawl space in lieu of a basement, make sure the inspector can under the raised foundation. Move away any items or boxes that might be blocking the entrance, and pull all storage at least two feet away from the walls.
Keep Your Notes Handy
When the termite inspector arrives, they’ll thoroughly check every corner of your home for signs of a termite infestation. However, it’s still smart to be prepared with a list of your own observations, too.
If you notice any potential signs of termite activity, write down the date and time that you saw it. You can also take pictures. This will help the inspector understand how long the signs have been apparent, as well as how extensive the termite damage has already become.
Keep Pets and Small Children Away
It can be difficult and even unsafe for any type of home services provider to work with pets or small children nearby. If possible, make arrangements for them to stay with a trusted friend or family member during the allotted timeframe.
What Happens During a Termite Inspection?
On the day of your termite inspection, expect the visit to take at least thirty minutes to an hour. If the damage is already significant or your property is especially sizeable, it could take longer.
Again, each team will have its own approach, timeframe, and checklist it follows. You can always call to check ahead of time if you need to know the specific process to expect. Below, we’ll take a look at the basic steps that most technicians follow.
Schedule a Day and Time
First, you’ll contact your local pest control company to arrange your termite inspection. Today, most companies allow you to schedule a consultation over the phone or via an online form.
Before hiring any team, be sure to learn as much as possible about their approach. You can read reviews, talk to others who have experienced the same issue in the past, and consult your social media followers to learn which teams are the best in your area.
Remember: You’ll give these experts access to your house and garage, as well as any other structures on your property. It’s important that you can trust them. Before hiring anyone, make sure each team has licensed and credentialed technicians on staff and that the business is legitimate and accredited.
It can also help to look through online photo galleries if they have any on their website. This is a great way to see their work in action and gauge how your own experience might go. You can take a look at our Subterranean Termite Treatments on this page!
Visual Inspection: Interior
Once they arrive at your property, the termite inspector will carefully inspect every part of it, including the interior and exterior. As they walk around, they’re primarily looking for visible signs of an ongoing termite inspection, such as:
- Termite droppings
- Mud tubes
- Wing fragments
- Damaged wood
In addition to checking the largest areas in your home, they’ll also focus on the smaller details, paying close attention to any area that a termite colony may invade. This includes your windows and walls, as well as your baseboards, door/window frames, closets, and cabinets.
As mentioned, some of the most important interior rooms to check will be the garage, attic, and crawl space. Termites often congregate here, as long as there is a source of food and adequate moisture.
Visual Inspection: Exterior
As they check the exterior, the inspector will look along the walls and eaves of your home, as well as the foundation. In addition to obvious signs of wood damage, they’re also looking for mud tubes, which can form on the outside of your foundation.
Subterranean termites create mud tubes as a way to connect their nests to the wood they’re consuming. The tubes also help shield them from predators and serve as a source of hydration for the pests. These narrow passageways are usually no thicker than a pencil and are comprised mostly of soil and wood.
Some of the most important exterior areas to check include:
- Outdoor wooden structures (e.g. sheds, carports)
- Wooden fences
- Fallen limbs or dead wood around your home
- Cracks formed in expansion joints or bricks
- Piles of wood mulch
Landscaping can be an attractive place for termites to nest, especially certain types of wooden mulch. While mulch itself doesn’t cause termites, it can become a food source for them, as well as a source of shelter. If the inspector finds termites in your mulch, it’s a good idea to consider a different type of ground covering moving forward.
Discussion of Findings
As the inspector assesses your property, they’ll take detailed notes of their findings, as well as pictures or videos. Then, when the inspection is complete, they’ll meet with you to discuss what they found.
Once they’ve shared their findings, they’ll go over the exact approach that they recommend to treat the issue at hand. If you are indeed dealing with termites, they’ll explain their methodical approach to eliminating the wood-destroying organisms for good. If it’s a different type of pest, they should be able to suggest alternative treatments that can keep them at bay.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of treatment that will work for each individual or property. Instead, the technician will evaluate your specific problem and suggest a custom solution designed around your needs. They’ll also take your questions and concerns into account, delivering a treatment plan that will eradicate the pests and keep them away for good.
Explanation of Quote
Next, you can expect the technician to share their proposed quote. This quote should cover the full cost of the treatment, as well as any future preventative services they recommend. You should understand exactly what you’re paying for and shouldn’t be surprised by any hidden fees, so make sure you’re clear on everything the quote includes.
This includes the terms of any termite warranty that the technician offers. Can they guarantee that their treatment approach will be successful the first time? If not, what are their terms for re-visiting your home in the future if the infestation occurs again?
Our Referral Program
In addition to receiving a free monthly service for every new paying customer that you refer to us, we are also offering a special discounted rate for the referred customer. This means that your friends and family members will be able to enjoy our services at a lower price, while you benefit from free services.
Here are the details of our referral program:
For every new paying customer you refer to us, you will receive one free monthly service.
The referred customer will receive a special discounted rate on their next service.
There is no limit to the number of referrals you can make or the free services you can receive.
We believe that our services are some of the best available, and we want to share them with as many people as possible. By referring your friends and family, you can help us reach more people and build a stronger community.
To make a referral, simply have your friend or family member mention your name when they sign up for our services. We will then contact them to arrange an inspection, and once they have had their service completed, we’ll notify you to arrange your free monthly service.
Schedule a Termite Inspection Today
Do you believe you may be dealing with a termite infestation? If so, we recommend scheduling a professional termite inspection as soon as possible. This isn’t an issue that you should allow to fester, as even a small colony can create a massive amount of damage.
As a family-owned, veteran-operated, and woman-led termite and pest control company, you know you can trust Pest Solutions. Since 2002, we’ve provided homeowners and business owners around the Greater Los Angeles Area and North Orange County with the pest-free peace of mind they need.
Contact us today to schedule an inspection and take a look at our current specials and promotions!