The damage a termite colony causes can be monumental. Most people don’t give much thought to pest control until they already have an infestation, which is often a major problem in the case of termites. Often, termite issues go undiscovered until the colony has already begun to spread throughout the home. The larger the colony is, the harder it is to exterminate and repair any damage.
The size of your property is an important factor in assessing termite damage and potential solutions. A larger building needs far more coverage than a smaller one when it comes to preventing future termite infestations. It is important to note that termite damage is not typically covered by homeowners insurance, which means that the cost comes out of your pocket, so it’s always best to act on a termite problem early.
Types of Termites
There are two main types of termites (although thousands of subspecies) that infest homes: drywood termites and subterranean termites. Drywood termites, as the name suggests, thrive in dry wood and large chambers in the wood connected by small tunnels. These termites destroy the wood in the process and are most commonly found in coastal and southern areas.
Subterranean termites thrive in moist environments, often occupying soil, cellars, or basements when they make their way onto a property. They also live in decayed wood, creating grids of tubes and tunnels that are visible on exposed surfaces. These termites are found throughout the U.S., but aren’t as common in cold states. Subterranean termites tend to cause more damage to homes.
Termites are split into different roles: reproductive termites, soldiers, and workers. Reproductive termites are darker in color and have large wings, with drywood reproductive termites swarming at night and subterranean ones swarming during the day. Soldiers are lighter in color, but have larger heads. Workers measure, on average, only 1/8″ long and are light with no wings.
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How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Termite Exterminator?
It is difficult to provide an exact cost for a termite exterminator, as the severity and location of the infestation, size of the property, and the extermination method used all play a role in determining the total price. That being said, what follows is a general pricing guide to provide an idea of what you can expend to spend when hiring a termite exterminator.
- DIY termite baiting has an average cost of $200.
- DIY chemical termite extermination has an average ost of $250.
- DIY termite control during the construction of a home has an average cost of $750.
- Some exterminators perform a free initial inspection, while others may charge, on average, up to $350.
- Professional termite fumigation or tenting has an average cost of $1,250.
- Professional termite baiting has an average cost of $3,000.
- Professional chemical termite extermination has an average cost between $1,800 and $3,100.
There are multiple treatment options for a termite infestation. The type of termites you have, the extent of the infestation, and the size of your property all help determine which treatment will work best for you. Treatment methods include:
- Boric acid: A highly effective treatment or prevention technique, boric acid is also safe for animals, people, and plants when used properly. Boric acid treatments can be done by yourself (though hiring a professional is always better) and is available in foams, gels, powders, soaps, and sprays.
- Chemicals: One of the most popular termite treatments, chemicals are applied along the foundation, on sheetrock and/or siding, and throughout the surrounding soil. Chemical treatments are either non-repellents or repellents. Non-repellent chemicals do not deter termites and can spread from termite to termite, exterminating more as they burrow into treated areas. Repellents are used in the soil around the home and at entry points inside the home to produce a barrier that deters pests from entering and kills those that do. However, repellents make it difficult to find all points of entry and have no real effect on the termites already in the home.
- Termite tenting: This treatment method surrounds the home in a sealed nylon tent for around 48 hours. A poisonous sulfuryl fluoride gas is injected, with fans placed throughout the house to spread the gas and exterminate the termites. This prevents them from escaping and ensures total eradication. But it is important to note that tenting is only effective for drywood termites and does not mean that you are safe from another infestation.