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Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. If you suspect that the wood-eating insects have infested your residence, contacting a pest control expert right away is highly recommended. An inspection will uncover whether or not you have a termite problem and if so, how the insects should be dealt with. The cost of termite extermination depends on the termite species, the structure size, and the pest control method(s) used.
Termite Control Considerations
A resident termite population is not a problem to take lightly. Here's what you should know about identifying the pests, treating them, and protecting your property moving forward.
Telltale signs of termites include mud tubes, feeding damage, and swarms of winged termites, especially indoors. "Swarmers" are typically discovered during the spring (March-May), the time of year when termites disperse and begin new colonies. But in the case of subterranean and drywood termites, the homeowner may never have a clue there's a problem. If you are able to spot (or better yet, capture) a bug, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides this termite identification guide.
The species of termite largely determines the treatment method. Exterminating subterranean termites (which live below the ground), for example, involves treating the soil around and under the home by means of drilling and injecting liquid termiticide. This tactic, however, wouldn't work on other types of termites, which might need to be treated with other methods, including:
- Chemical foams, liquids, and dusts
Whether you want to avoid termites in the first place or keep them from coming back, there are a number of steps homeowner can take to keep termites away. Water control is key; make sure that you have a properly functioning gutter and downspout system and that there isn't excessive humidity in the basement/crawlspace. Also avoid storing lumber, mulch, or wood near or around the foundation and trim back shrubs and trees away from the house. The Ohio State University provides this guide for reducing the risk of termite infestation.
Before Hiring a Pest Control Company
The potentially high cost of termite damage, combined with the visceral reaction people have in response to bug infestations, make homeowners vulnerable to unscrupulous pest control companies. Before signing a work order, make sure that the company is state licensed and a member of the National Pest Management Association (and/or a state pest control association).
A service agreement contract that renews annually (upon payment) and typically includes a once-per-year inspection as well as follow-up treatments as needed will probably be offered. Some homeowners complain that the yearly inspection is nothing more than a cursory walkthrough while others enjoy the added protection and peace of mind.
If you do sign a contract, make sure you understand what's covered. In particular, be clear on the frequency of inspections (once per year, quarterly, etc.) and whether the contract includes repairs (from termite damage) or just retreatment.
Termite Extermination Average Costs
- Pest control companies typically provide a free termite inspection to go along with an estimate.
- Termite extermination starts at $500 to $1,500 but can cost as much as $2,000 to $4,000 depending on the severity of the problem and the solutions implemented.
- Budget $150 to $450 for a yearly termite control contract renewal.