Do I need a Termite Inspection in New York?
Termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year, and are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. Unless a buyer knows what to look for, termites can be hard to find with the naked eye and therefore it could take three to eight years before the signs of an infestation are apparent. To avoid getting stuck with extensive damage that is typically not covered by homeowners’ insurance, buyers should always request a wood-boring pest inspection before finalizing the purchase of a home.
As a licensed and insured Termite Technician by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Gold Star Inspections can do a complete and thorough inspection of your property, included FREE as part of a home inspection. I will provide you with the NPMA-33 form. Almost every bank requires a termite inspection be performed before closing on your new property. Usually the cost of a licensed individual to come and perform the inspection is factored into your closing, costing approximately $150-200. By having Gold Star inspect your home, you will receive the report to provide your attorney, saving money.
Are Termites invading your home??
Every year, more than 5 million homes in the United States are damaged by termites. The estimated cost to homeowners each year is a staggering $5 billion. That’s more than the cost of tornadoes, fires and earthquakes combined. And termite damage is rarely covered by homeowners insurance policies. Left untreated, termites will:
- Travel up to 350 feet from the nest, with a total foraging territory of up to ½ acre
- Construct mud tubes from packed earth, saliva and bits of chewed cellulose
- Create an entire, above-ground colony
Termites, like many insects, aren’t pleasant to look at. This is what happens when termites eat the structure of your home.
Two to four years after one colony begins, however, reproductive swarmers set out to find mates, and then dig into the ground and establish their own colonies. Their numbers can grow to the millions. A swarm increases the risk of infestation for every house in the neighborhood. Termite-swarming season on Long Island is typically late March/early April through May/early June, a time of year when billions of reproductive subterranean termites take flight from their colonies in search of new homes to infest.
Why do I have them?
In soil, termites will forage for cellulose material found in plants. Typically you can unearth termites in the mulch surrounding your home or in a nearby wood pile. When soil conditions and temperatures are good for termite activity, colonies can develop near the foundation of your home. As termites forage for food in the soil, they often enter homes through small cracks (1/16 inch wide or less). Once inside they will continue for forage for food and inside the home, the food will typically be wood. This wood can be any structural timber around the foundation, behind walls, in ceilings and in many areas that may go unnoticed for months or years.
There are three different types of termites: damp wood, dry wood, and subterranean. Damp wood termites generally live in areas that are heavily forested, whereas dry wood termites live in extremely dry wood and are rarely found in the US. In our area, the termite of concern is the North Eastern Subterranean Termite. They live in large social colonies of 60,000 to 250,000 members and feed on the cellulose debris found in leaf litter, wood, and in dung. While termites and not directly harmful to humans their ability to consume wood can cause massive amounts of damage to buildings and structures if left untreated.
Termites usually come out in early spring throughout the North East and at times can be seen as a swarm of what looks like flying ants. Some clues that your home has a termite problem (aside from the spring swarming) will include, soft wood, and mud tubes around the exterior or interior of your house, most likely near the foundation. Also dark or blistered wood timbers or wood flooring may also be an indication of a termite problem.
The three most recognizable forms (castes) of the eastern subterranean termite are the swarmers (winged reproductives), soldiers and workers. The swarmers are about 3/8 inch long including wings, dark brown to almost black and have 2 pairs of translucent (slightly milky to slightly smoky) wings. The front and hind wings are of equal size. Soldiers are about 1/4 inch long and have an elongated, amber-colored head armed with long jaws. The body is translucent white and the legs are rather short. Workers are 3/16 to 1/4 inch long, translucent white with a nearly round amber head and have rather short legs.
Identifying Winged Termites
How do I get rid of Termites?
Getting rid of termites is not easy because of the size and location of the underground colonies. Termites can forage far below the soil for food and will create underground colonies with a series of tunnels and passageways. The termites will mark food sources with a pheromone trail so the other members of the colony can follow a path. The most effective termite control solution is based on careful inspection, observation, and follow up. The final treatment needs to successfully eradicate the entire colony, stopping termite foraging at its source.
Prevention Tips: Although it is impossible to completely prevent termites from entering the typical home, the following steps will help in preventing future infestations:
- All wood-to-soil contact must be eliminated
- Maintain proper drainage around your property, as moist soil will attract termites
- Keep wood structures, fence posts, wooden sheds, decks, play sets, firewood piles, and other wood sources at least 10 to 15 feet from the home.
- Termites will be attracted decaying mulch, if possible remove mulch annually and replace it with new mulch.
- Shrubs & Trees root removal. When these plants are removed, the decaying root system will attract termites.