Also known as “silent destroyers,” termites are any homeowner’s worst nightmare.
These pests might be small, but they’re hard workers and difficult to eliminate from your property. They build their colonies while chewing away at your home’s infrastructure by turning the wood into energy to grow the colony.
But there’s more bad news: Infrastructure repairs like these can cost you hundreds of dollars, or more.
The best way to avoid termite damage from an infestation is through prevention.
About six out of 10 homes in the Boston area have termites in them, but most professionals aren’t able to detect activity around 50% of the time — which is why you need a team that will do more than check for movement.
You need to put the Greenhow difference to work for you.
The Termite Inspection Process
Termites live underground. They’ll eat anything that contains cellulose like trees, paper, and housing infrastructure made from trees. In New England, the only type of termite native is the eastern subterranean termite.
Fortunately, eastern subterranean termites don’t require tenting and fumigation like other species do. Instead, you can control them by treating the ground around your property’s foundation.
Here’s how the termite inspection process works at Greenhow Pest Control:
Step #1: Schedule Your Inspection
Since we’re all about making things simple for our customers, you can easily schedule your inspection with Greenhow Pest Control online, via phone, email, or even text. We provide a two-hour arrival window that works with your schedule.
Our inspectors will need to inspect the basement, crawl space, garage, and first floor. We recommend pulling any stored items away from your foundation walls and opening any crawl spaces so we can check every area thoroughly.
Step #2: Inspection Takes Place
The termite inspection starts at the lowest level of the home, which is usually the basement. We work methodically around the perimeter of your foundation using a flashlight, a probe to test the wood, and a six-in-one screwdriver tool to access tight or secured spots.
First, your inspector will look for evidence of mud against the foundation or in and around any wood. Then, they’ll inspect smaller areas like form boards, utility line entries, and cracks in the foundation for signs of termites or evidence they have been there.
Step #3: Provide Effective Treatment
Since eastern subterranean termite infestations don’t require fumigation or tenting, you can stay in your home while we conduct the treatment. Depending on the severity, we offer several termite solutions that we can use individually or together:
- Termite liquid treatment: Our team uses liquid termiticides like Altriset to protect your property, which will paralyze the termites’ jaw muscles within 24 hours to prevent them from eating any more.
- The Sentricon® System: This system eliminates subterranean termite colonies of any size. By preventing molting, the entire colony is killed including the queen. This material is so specific it only impacts one insect, the eastern subterranean termite. It has no impact on any other animal or wildlife.
- Wood preservation with Boracare: We use Boracare, which is a borate treatment that protects the wood for several years from damaging pests like termites as well as ants, beetles, and fungus.
At Greenhow, our treatment methods are selected to have no negative impacts on you and your family, including any children and pets. That’s because we rely on research and university studies to find materials that do not have adverse effects on any non-target organism. We only kill termites with our termite service.
We’re proud to have our Green Shield Certification, GreenPro Certification, and QualityPro Certification. We’re also part of the National Pest Management Association and we adhere to ethical PESP and IPM practices. Learn more about our accreditations here.
Important Areas to Check During Termite Inspections
The most critical areas you should inspect are around the foundation and perimeter of the home since eastern subterranean termites live underground and move upward. Typical termite hotspots are basements, crawl spaces, finished basements, laundry areas, bathrooms, and near boilers. The closer the wood is to the ground, the sooner termites will find it. In New England, heated homes provide a year-round feeding opportunity that is not available in the wild.
If you’re unsure that there’s any termite activity in or around your home, Greenhow offers free inspections. As a part of our termite inspection services, we’ll even place termite monitors around your property.
The monitors contain wood or paper-like material that will attract termites, making it easy to identify any population. Our experts will place the monitors near the front and back doors of the foundation. We’ll then come back to check for any activity that might indicate a termite infestation.
When ruling out a problem with these wood-destroying insects, we’ll also check the following areas:
Area #1: Wooden Structures
In New England, almost all of our structures are made of wood or at least contain wood elements. Brick buildings are a veneer of stone over wooden infrastructures. Commercial buildings with metal studs still have sheetrock or drywall that is coated in the paper that termites will eat.
In reality, no building is entirely safe from termites unless it’s thoroughly treated by industry experts. And since eastern subterranean termites infest from the ground up, we focus on the bottom level of your home to ensure we don’t miss signs of an infestation anywhere else.
Even if there are termites in your attic, the chances are good that our termite inspectors will find evidence of them around your foundation first.
Area #2: Cracks and Crevices
A foundation will have many cracks, crevices, and seams. Cracks occur from your home settling, cold seams from the way the concrete was poured during construction, and crevices occur around standard openings around water and sewer lines. Unfortunately, termites can fit through gaps that are only 1/64th of an inch thick, about the same width as a piece of copy paper.
Our inspectors will look for small openings like these around the foundation and basement. If there is a termite population, we’ll likely find mud tubes strategically hidden around moist soil and foundation walls.
Area #3: Mulch
Often, mulch is used around the perimeter of homes for landscaping and garden purposes. Mulch is just shredded wood laid over your landscape and ornamental beds to reduce weeds. Termites feed on mulch and other cellulose in the beds like plant roots. Mulch beds can provide additional food resources for termites adjacent to your foundation. If you also have mulch against your home’s foundation, it could be increasing termite activity right next to the area a termite colony needs to enter to begin infesting and feeding on your home.
Area #4: Firewood
Almost every New England home has wood-burning fireplaces. That means millions of pieces of wood are used to keep homes around Boston warm throughout the winter.
Here’s the problem with this: Wood stored against the home will likely be attacked by termites. All wood contains cellulose.
The best thing to do to avoid a termite infestation is to store your wood on a concrete surface or metal rack off the ground and away from your home. Only put firewood next to your home that you will use within a month of storing.
Signs of Termites in Your Home
Although termites typically work quietly, there are obvious signs that any trained professional can identify, like mud tubes and damaged wood. However, even homeowners can identify some symptoms of a termite infestation, like witnessing a termite swarm or finding discarded wings.
Sign #1: Termite Swarm
The most telling sign of a termite infestation is during swarm season every spring.
Once a year, termites swarm in the spring. They are the true reproductive offspring of the colony. Think of swarmers as the children of the queen and the swarm is their departure from the nest to start their own termite colonies. Termite swarms usually occur on a warm afternoon following a rain event. Swarms that occur inside are very common. Termites swarm in large numbers as a defense against predators like birds. A large swarm is shocking for any homeowner to see. After they swarm, termites mate (for life!), and then they begin to start their colonies, which can, unfortunately, be around your home.
Swarms inside your home are an indication a mature termite colony is feeding on your property. Termite swarmers inside can be simply removed with vacuuming, they do not need to be treated. The reason they do not need to be treated with a chemical is the eastern subterranean swarmers that are inside will not be able to successfully set up a colony. Other species of termites that do not occur in New England can infest from an interior swarm
Sign #2: Discarded Wings
Males and females will drop their wings when they pair up with a mate. So even if you didn’t see a swarm take place, you’d see thousands of small termite wings scattered if there is a population nearby. You can identify termite wings by checking for a dark veined outline on the outer or leading edge of a termite wing.
Sign #3: Mud Tubes
Termites also build relatively mud tubes to connect to protect themselves from drying out. The tubes keep the humidity in the colony at a high enough level so they can survive.
The mud keeps the environment humid, which is a must-have for termites. Your inspector will check for mud tubes using a flashlight. The mud tubes can reveal where termites are feeding — mud plugs may be apparent in infested wood.
Sign #4: Hollow and Damaged Wood
The inspector will use their probe tool to tap on the surface of various wooded areas throughout your home. When they do this, they’re listening for hollow, empty sounds, which indicate the presence of weak points caused by damage.
Damaged wood means there’s damage to the home’s infrastructure, which is expensive to repair. If the termite infestation is severe, the probe may break into the termite colony’s gallery. Greenhow Pest Control Can Help You Today
Scheduling a termite control inspection is the best thing you can do to prevent termite damage before it’s too late. Since a termites swarm may not ever occur inside an infested home, it’s a good idea to have your home surveyed at least once a year to make sure termites are not inside. Checking the termite monitors outside the house lets the termite inspector know if termites are present near the foundation.
If your inspector finds that termites are present, our team can respond immediately with effective treatments.
At Greenhow Pest Control, we make treating termites an easy and efficient process.
That’s why we’re straightforward with what you can expect from us, from the moment you schedule an appointment until after we’ve completed administering treatment. We’ll also let you know our termite inspection costs before we get started.
To avoid paying hundreds (or potentially thousands) in repairs, you need to work with a qualified, expert termite inspector who can survey your home for existing populations. Contact us today and we can help you keep your home termite-free for years to come.