What Do Termites Look Like?

Termite NestWhen it comes to buying a house, termites are the last thing you want to deal with. That’s why we highly recommend hiring a professional home inspector to conduct a thorough overview of any home which you are considering. However, what with the myriad costs involved in buying and selling a house, you may have to perform a home inspection yourself.  What do termites look like?  Here are some ways you can identify termites before making an offer on a potential home.

How To Identify Termites

There are a number of ways to differentiate termites from ants. Both ants and termites can have wings, but on termites, both pairs of wings are the same size. In flying ants, the front wings are much longer than the back wings. Another difference is in the “waist” of the insect, or the midsection between the thorax and abdomen. The “waist” of the ant is noticeably smaller, and joins the separate segments of the insect’s body. Termites, on the other hand, will have no apparent waist. Finally, look at the insect’s antennae. Termite antennae are perfectly straight, while the antennae of ants are prominently bent.

How to Spot Termite Damage

There are two different types of termites that can seriously damage a home: drywood termites, and subterranean termites. Drywood termites usually cause less damage, as they work more slowly and have smaller colony sizes. They can be identified by the small, firm pellets of waste they leave behind, as well as their red bodies and black wings. Look for drywood termite damage near the roof and wherever there is exposed wood.

Subterranean termites are more problematic, as they live in large colonies. Damage from subterranean termites appear in a honeycomb-like pattern, with tunnels woven throughout the soft inside wood. It can be difficult to discover subterranean termite damage, because the external wood grain will usually be unbroken. Wood damaged by this type of termites will easily break, revealing hollowed-out insides that are filled with mud or soil. Subterranean termites have a black body and white wings. They usually work from the ground level up, often entering a home through a crawlspace or sub-structure.

How To Get Rid of Termites

Checking for termites is an essential part of the home inspection process, both for the interior and the exterior parts of your home. Taking care of these pests as soon as possible will prevent further damage and offer both the buyer and seller peace of mind. If you have not purchased the home yet, you can either ask the seller to fix it before you move in, or deduct the cost of the repairs from the final price. A real estate agent will be able to help you decide on the best option for you.

The most effective treatment for termites is liquid pesticide used in combination with a termite bait system. Make sure that you identify the specific type termite that is causing the damage, because different chemicals and follow-up inspections are required for each. Most professional termite exterminators will provide a guarantee that protects the home from any further termite damage, so if you are using a professional exterminator, be sure to request a detailed termite activity report, along with a copy of the company’s guarantee.

Hiring a Realtor

Helping homeowners work through stressful issues, such as termite infestations, is just a small part of what we do at Ed Price Reality. If you are buying or selling a home in the Greensboro and Triad areas, give us a call today to find out how we can make the entire home buying process easier. If you are interested in buying a home in Greensboro or High Point, be sure to check out our local listings.