Termites are insects that utilize swarm intelligence to infest a home. A cellulose food source such as wood is the diet of termites. Measuring only a fraction of an inch, these wood destroying insects can grow to a colony of more than three million strong. Utilizing a termite checklist helps determine if the residence is infested.
Certain materials are required for inspecting the home for termites. Wear rugged clothing, such as overalls, because you'll climb and crawl into different areas of the house. Use a screwdriver and flashlight with fresh batteries to inspect the dark areas of the home such as the crawlspace or attic. Use a ladder to inspect the roof line and carry a pencil and pad to document the areas of infestation.
Points of Entry
A visual inspection of the surrounding area of the home determines the possible points of entry for the termites. Wood that is in contact with dirt is a good entry point. Cracks in the foundation or concrete porch allow termites to enter into the crawlspace. Flower planters that make contact with the side of the home are also entry points. The outside heating unit keeps the surrounding ground warm all year and allows termites to grow rapidly throughout the year as well as being a good entry point. Termites need moisture; any place around the home that remains moist or holds standing water can be an entry point for the insect. Document all of the possible entry points.
Place emphasis on critical areas where water or moisture is prominent. Areas such as wood piles, mulch beds, shrubbery, wood decks, old tree stumps and other areas that utilize landscaping timbers or wood are common breeding areas for termites. Other critical areas are common outside water sources like gutters, downspouts, sewer lines and water spigots.
Locate termite activity by looking for shelter tubes, which are similar to mud shelters built by bees. Decaying wood is also a sign of termite activity. Use the screwdriver to pry the decayed wood away and see if there are signs of termite activity. Termites build routes through the wood similar to the way ants build routes through dirt. Look at the interior and exterior of the suspected entry point of each documented critical area.
Perform a termite inspection annually as part of a home maintenance program. If you know a neighbor has or had termites you need to inspect the home more often. Finding termites close to the home increases the possibility of home infestation. Any time you perform home repairs, conduct a termite inspection to ensure no infestation has occurred.
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