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How Do You Inspect a House for Termites?

Feb 12, 2020

Wooden floor in a home that has severe termite damage from an infestation all the floorboards.

Termite damages costs United States residents billions of dollars every year. No one wants to be part of that statistic, but to avoid these wood-destroying pests, you have to pay close attention to your home and keep up with pest control.

Termites move quickly, allowing them to invade a home without the homeowner knowing. Addressing a termite infestation as soon as possible is imperative to protecting the safety and integrity of your home. This makes termite control important for every homeowner to add to their regular maintenance checklist.

How to Inspect for Termite Activity

While performing a termite inspection is fairly simple, if you aren’t sure how to complete one, you could end up missing key signs of termite action and put your home at risk. Always consult a professional if you believe your home might have termites. If you’re wondering how a termite inspection works, a professional inspector will be able to show you exactly how and where to search.

To complete a termite inspection for yourself, you’ll need a few tools:

  • Coveralls, to protect your skin and clothing when working in small, dirty spaces
  • A bright flashlight to help you see in dark areas such as basements, attics, or crawl spaces (areas termites like to be)
  • A sharp object, such as a screwdriver or pocket knife, to help find termite galleries and damaged wood

Once you have your tools ready, it’s time to look for termites in all areas they like to populate. Basements and crawl spaces are popular termite territory. Closely investigate all wooden construction elements with your screwdriver or pocket knife, especially around support posts, joists, subfloors, wooden decks and porches, and any window sills or window frames made from wood.

Areas where wood meets other building materials should also be examined (such as concrete areas around wooden steps). Keep an eye out for signs of termite activity in all wooden places, such as cavities in wood, tunnels, piles of insect wings, and other signs of wood damage. Anything affected by termites will need to be treated.

DIY Termite Treatments

You may be wondering: “How long does a termite treatment last?” Keep in mind that they are all not created equal. Professional and DIY termite treatments are wildly different. There are a lot of DIY termite treatments you can find on the internet, but beware of these. Many unprofessional methods of termite extraction and prevention are entirely ineffective.

Cardboard Traps

This is a commonly shared DIY termite treatment. Wet cardboard is set out to attract termites away from wood, and once termites are successfully feeding on the cardboard, it can be removed and burned, killing the pests trapped inside. The issue with this trap is somewhat obvious: every single termite is not going to forsake wood for some pieces of soggy cardboard. Since it only takes a couple of termites to restart an entire festering colony, this trap is practically worthless.

Insecticides as Termite Bait

There are many different insecticide options available for termite elimination. Many are meant to be applied directly to wooden surfaces or placed as bait in termite traps. The strategy behind this “termite treatment” is to get a termite to pick up some toxic bait and carry it back to its colony, thereby poisoning them all and eliminating the issue.

This would be great if it worked. The issue lies in the small likelihood that a termite will actually stumble upon this poisonous bait, since it typically isn’t attracted to the insecticide and must find it randomly. Additionally, even if a termite were to bring it back to the colony, not all members of the colony would be affected (larvae and eggs, for instance, would go unaffected). Directly applied pesticides present similar dilemmas.


This is actually a DIY termite treatment that can be highly effective. However, the intensity of heat needed to successfully extract a termite colony is so high that it’s difficult to accomplish without the assistance of a professional. To effectively treat a termite infestation, the wood where the termites live must be heated between 120 and 140°F for at least a half an hour. Consult a professional before attempting this termite treatment.

What Happens in a Professional Termite Inspection

A proper inspection from a certified termite inspector is the only way to be sure your home is free from termites. Inspectors at CroppMetcalfe customize treatments to each specific home in order to be sure yours is safe from the threat of termite damage.

Our 5-Star Technicians use the latest technology and products to properly treat your house for termites. We use liquid, foam, baiting, and even green methods of protection. Should your home require a termite treatment, then our team will handle it quickly, professionally, and thoroughly. If you’re wondering how long a termite treatment lasts, keep in mind that all treatments are different and it might depend on your home’s needs.

However, we have so much confidence in our team’s ability to remove termites and protect your home from future infestations that we offer this guarantee: any future treatments, when necessary, will be covered at no additional cost.

Schedule Your Termite Inspection Today

Termites can ruin your home — or, at the very least, make you miserable. If you think you have termites, get help right away. Our 5-Star technicians can save your property from being destroyed. Schedule a termite inspection by calling 703-372-9359 or contact us online today! 


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