Once you’ve decided on a new home based on its price, location, size, and whatever else is in your list of options to consider, you need to make sure the house is safe and in good shape. The last thing you want is to find out that there is something deathly wrong with the house once you’ve moved in. Among these, a termite infestation should be at the forefront of your mind.
The damage caused by termites
Termites feed off of wood, pure and simple. In the wild, where trees are plentiful and the only ones who might be upset are typically the birds, termites flourish as part of the circle of life. In your home, however, the presence of termites tells a much different story, one full of despair and destruction. If left unchecked, a termite infestation can lead to considerable damage, not only to your walls and floors, but — in some cases — to the very foundation of a home. This damage can end up costing you thousands of dollars to repair.
First time homeowners: exercise caution and know what to look for
The last thing you want is to move into your first home and discover that it has termites. No one wants to take on such a liability. When you purchase a home, the house will be inspected, but you can never be too safe. It is important that you conduct your own personal inspection, if only to put your mind at ease. When inspecting the home, look for these telltale signs of a termite infestation:
- Swarming insects — This one is obvious, and often serves as the first sign of a termite infestation. Termites can often be found swarming around in concentrated areas. If a swarm is not present, also be on the lookout for any wings lying around, which are often lost by these insects.
- Damaged wood — Aside from visual confirmation of a termite infestation, this is the best indication you’ll find. The extensive damage caused by termites is usually quite obvious. Sometimes, the damage is visual, but it’s also possible that the viewable portion of a wall or foundation might not be affected while the space inside the wood has been a buffet for the insects. To test the wood, knock on it with a screwdriver or other such object. If you hear a dull, hollow sound coming from wood that should be solid, this is a possible sign.
- Mud tunnels — These can often be found on the exterior of a home. Termites construct these to help them get around easier when they can’t simply eat their way through something, such as brick, concrete, etc. This sign of a termite infestation can often be overlooked.
Photo Credit: For Sale