Termites are no strangers to US homeowners. Unless you live in Alaska, you’ll encounter them in your house or garden.
It raises the question of whether you should pay for an annual inspection.
Whether an annual termite inspection is worth it depends on your location, your house foundation, and the state of your house. A hot and wet climate is more welcoming to termites. Old homes and houses built with wood are also more susceptible to infestations than brick houses in good shape.
Depending on your chances of experiencing frequent infestations, an annual inspection can save you more money than the occasional extermination.
The Cost of a Termite Infestation
Termite treatment costs between $200 – $950. The exact amount is case-specific. Certain homes spend less than the lower end of both ranges, while others pay upwards of $1500.
DIY exterminations are a viable solution if dealing with a small population, and these are typically inexpensive.
You might not even spend anything if you have some vinegar in your house. Mix it with two lemons’ juice and spray the solution in the affected areas.
Severe cases, on the other hand, require a large chunk of cash. Homes can spend upwards of $2000 if unaware of a growing infestation.
The type of termite and the repairs also contribute to the total cost. Therefore, prepare yourself for an enormous bill if dealing with a drywood termite infestation.
The species’ resistance to various environmental factors makes them the most notorious termite species, and fumigation is always on the cards.
It doesn’t help that fumigations are the most expensive control method. They’re also the most discomforting. You might need to evacuate your house for a few days because of the high toxicity levels.
Even after spending at least $1500 in such cases, you still have to consider the repairs. Termites are relentless when damaging your wood, and you can spend an average of $3000 repairing your home.
These are high figures, and an inspection might be better if your home is prone to termites.
The Cost of a Termite Inspection
Termite inspections in the US cost $50–$280. These prices apply only to the inspection. You still have to pay for the extermination if the company finds that your house is infested.
Most pest control companies offer annual plans to combat such situations. For example, some provide a free initial inspection and charge you $100–$300 annually.
Others don’t offer an annual plan (or “bond,” as it’s known) until your house is infested; when it is, you’ll pay for the extermination and then apply for the annual plan.
Termite bonds act as a form of insurance. Most cover the cost of both the inspection and extermination. Specific companies even cover your damages, though you should expect their bonds to be higher.
Check the pest control companies in your hometown for specific figures on how much these bonds cost. More reputable companies have higher prices and vice versa.
Find the sweet spot; companies that provide quality service at a fair price. Having total conviction in your decision to get a termite bond is also vital.
You probably don’t need one if you’ve never seen a termite in the ten years you’ve lived in your brick house.
Still, I doubt many Americans have (or will) go that long without seeing a termite in their home.
So What Happens During a Termite Inspection?
The inspector looks for signs of an infestation throughout your house. Common ones include discarded wings and mud tubes.
They also evaluate how safe your house is from a potential infestation. For example, is your foundation likely to act as a termite nest? Do you store wood in a place that makes it easy for termites to enter your home? Do your crawl spaces have adequate conditions to host a colony?
The inspector will tap your walls with a specific gadget and listen for hollow-sounding wood. If they find that your house is infested, they’ll look further into the situation to know the particular termite type.
Different termites require different control methods, and if your bond includes protection systems, the pest control company will implement the most suitable one.
A comprehensive inspection rarely takes more than two hours, and the inspector will ensure to check the house’s interior and exterior.
How To Know if You Need an Annual Termite Inspection
Regular termite inspections are beneficial if;
- You live in a termite-prone area
- You live in a wooden house
- You live in an old house
Southern states are the most termite-prone due to the hot and wet climate. But, statistically, Alaska is the only state without termites. So, even in the Northwest, it still pays to be wary of the insects.
Houses with a wooden foundation or wooden structures like floors and verandas are also susceptible to termites.
Wood is a termite’s favorite source of cellulose. Your house might be 90% bricks, but as long as you have cellulose sources like wood within the structure, the insects can pop up at any time.
The chances of a large infestation are small in such cases, but you should still not underestimate them.
Your house condition is the final factor determining whether you should expect occasional visits from termites. For example, old houses have more cracks and spaces where the insects can crawl.
Termites eat anything with cellulose, so they can still take advantage of the crevices even if your house is made of bricks.
The best solution is to repair the house, but you should also get annual inspections as a precaution.
Is an Annual Termite Inspection Worth It?
Though case-specific, I’d say an annual termite inspection is worth it. Given the prevalence of termites in the United States and their thoroughness in damaging your house, few homes won’t benefit from the occasional check.
Indeed, termite bonds sometimes make you feel like you’re paying for nothing, and if that’s the case, take the time to weigh the pros and cons.
A large infestation can cause you to make thousands of dollars worth of repairs. But, unfortunately, it can also reduce the value of your house.
These cases are rare in the northern part of the country, but I still recommend conducting an inspection every two years if you live there.
I won’t discount an annual inspection if you’ve experienced a termite infestation. You’ve already had proof that your house is susceptible to termites, and yearly inspections help detect early signs so the situation doesn’t occur again.
Prevention is the best way to deal with pests, and I recommend going all in if you can afford it.
The price of an annual termite inspection is incomparable to that of professional extermination.
The damage is already done at that time, and you must consider other costs separate from the extermination.
Annual checks might not be beneficial if your home has an excellent track record of keeping away termites. However, if it doesn’t, which is usually the case, you should consider carrying them out.
You’ll save yourself some money and forget what it’s like to have termites for a long time.