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DIY Termite Inspection – Getting Down and Getting Dirty

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If you own a home or have real estate in Sydney or really anywhere in Australia, you owe it to your investment to have a yearly termite inspection completed.  You can do a preliminary review yourself, but it often pays to have a professional perform the termite inspection.  You’ll have to venture into some areas in your home that you wouldn’t normally visit.  In the end, you may wish you turned this chore over to a pro.  Here’s how to perform your own termite inspection.

Preparation

Since sub subterranean termites would generally have a ground contact (unless they can get their water from an above ground source like a broken roof or leaking pipe in the building), the best place to start ferreting out termites is in your basement or crawlspace and around the building foundation.  A good pair of overalls is recommended. During the termite inspection you’ll be crawling and searching in an area that is shared with others: insects, mice, spiders and potentially a large rodent.  If spider webs give you the creeps then you might want to wear a cap and pair of gloves.   In fact, some of our inspectors like to wear a helmet with a headlamp so their hands are free.  The headlamp lights the area and keeps their hands free to dig and poke around for termites.  Take along a screwdriver, ice pick or pocketknife.

Signs of Termites

During your investigation in summer, if you come across a pile of wings, then you have located where these flying pests swarmed into your home. In some horrible cases where the nest is inside your home they will swarm out of your home.  They shed their wings prior to mating and there after entering the ground or building tunnels. Of course, if you don’t find remnants of a swarm you aren’t done with the investigation.

The next indication of termites is finding a muddy channel or ‘termite tube.’  During your termite inspection shine your flashlight along the foundation, the sub-floor, joists and piers.   If you find mud tubes running along the foundation, then you’ve located a possible main thoroughfare for termites.  Check out all locations where concrete or soil joins a wooden structure. Review basement and ground level window frames and under porches too.  If termites get into the interior walls they start to eat from the inside out.  Look for cracks in the foundation or cement where termites can crawl, they also use water pipes or leaking showers to guide them inside your home.

Seek out areas that are perpetually damp.  Termites need to live in a damp climate so they love to congregate where the ground or walls are damp.  A good place to check is around air conditioning units, water heaters, dishwashers, showers, clothes washers and basement drainage areas.   In all cases, look for soft spots in the drywall or woodwork.  Use your screwdriver, knife or ice pick to poke away at any soft spots.  Where you find soft wood or paneling during your termite inspection, you are also going to find termite tunnels.  You may even find light colored termites in the tunnels.  That’s the basics or a DIY termite inspection. But remember a professional pest controller is trained in looking for signs of termites. We recommend that you still have a yearly inspection by your local termite inspector to avoid nasty surprises.

Ben
Ben

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