Do Home Inspectors Check for Termites? Pre-Purchase Tips & More
In today’s blog, we are covering many helpful topics for homeowners and folks buying a house. For those DIYers out there, we explain how to check your home for termite damage AND how to check your termite bait stations. First thing’s first, when you are buying a new home, where do you stand regarding home inspectors checking for termites (white ants)?
Do Home Inspectors Check for Termites (White Ants)?
It is easy to fall in love with the aesthetics of a property. While it is exciting finding the perfect house, you want it to be structurally sound and free from infestations and damage. In saying that, if active termites or past damage are found, it may not be a deal-breaker.
Home inspectors report on current and past infestations and damage. Also, most home loan contracts have a pest clause. According to NAB, lenders rarely approve loans without a termite and pest inspection report(*1).
How to Check Your Home for Signs of Termite Damage
You have your overalls on, and you are ready to go.
1. Termite Mud Tubes
Walk the outside perimeter of your house. Look up and down each wall for termite mud tubes. Don’t overlook your downspouts and guttering. Termites use mud tubes to travel inconspicuously across exposed terrain(*2).
Check your fences, railings, deck (including underneath), and other wooden features. Carefully scrutinise the timber for:
- Mud tubes.
- Holes or hollows.
- Fragile wood. As termites eat from the inside out, damaged wood will sound hollow and break easily.
** Be careful of spiders and snakes and wear protective clothing.
3. Plaster and Dry Walls
Termites rarely consume plaster and drywalls but will burrow through to reach wood behind the walls. If you notice small holes (especially if surrounded by dirt fragments), there is great chance termites have tunnelled through. Also, check for tiny wrinkles on the paper surface of the drywall.
4. Foundation Check
Scan the walls and floors for cracks and gaps (and other signs mentioned above). Gently tap the walls, noting spots that sound particularly hollow. These microscopic creatures can breach buildings through the tiniest cracks. Termites also enter the slab through water and sewerage pipes. Professionals should regularly inspect these.
5. Rugs and Picture Frames
Termites can hide in (almost) plain sight, including under rugs and behind frames. Fabric, paper, and wood are attractive because they contain cellulose(*3). They also hide behind insulation in walls and roofs.
While you can do this on your own, it is best to have a professional do a comprehensive termite inspection to be 100% sure your home is free of termites.
How to Check Bait Stations
If you get annual termite inspections, you really shouldn’t need to worry about checking your bait stations. However, if you are curious, contact your termite control company and ask them for a run-through. Each brand will work slightly differently. Better yet, next time your termite specialists drop by, ask them to show you in person.
Would You Rather Leave Termites and Pests to a Professional?
If you would rather not worry about anything termite related (fair enough – they are not everyone’s favourite critter!), you can call a licensed controller who can:
- Do house and property inspections and reports (for pre-purchase and purchased properties).
- Check bait stations.
- Install barrier systems.
- Professionally treat (with environmentally friendly products).
Contact Home Termite Control on (02) 9454 7774.
References *1. NAB. Understanding Building and Pest Conditions When Buying a House. 2021. *2. Roger, GE, Howell, HN, Glenn, GJ & Engler, K. Subterranean Termites. AgriLife Communications and Marketing. E-368. 2005. *3. Slaytor, M. Cellulose Digestion in Termites and Cockroaches: What Role do Symbionts Play? Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Comparative Biochemistry. Science Direct. Vol. 103. No. 4. 775-784 pp. 1992,