Tag Archive: Inspection

Do You Need a Termite Inspection or Are Those Just Flying Ants?

winged termiteAre those termites or flying ants in your yard? Which one could that wing you found on the windowsill belong to? Did you even know ants could fly? It’s common for homeowners to confuse flying ants for termites or vice versa. Confirming which one it is that may be invading your property is important since termites are known to cause damages that could end up seriously costing you in repairs. Flying ants are generally just more of an annoyance. There are a few different ways of telling them apart and treatment methods for getting rid of both, but if you’re ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to call for a professional termite inspection. It’s always better to be safe than sorry in a situation like this.

Distinguishing Body Characteristics

Once ants and termites hit their swarming stage and produce wings it becomes difficult to differentiate between the two black-bodied creatures with just a quick glance. However, studying the characteristics of three specific body parts should help you in determining the difference. If you’re able to get close enough, look to see if the antennae is straight or bent. The first will signify a termite and the latter an ant. Their wings also vary pretty distinctly. A termite’s wings will take on a long and narrow shape, be of equal lengths and lay parallel to the body. The wings on an ant are unequal in length, are positioned at an angle and the front set of wings are noticeably larger than the back ones. Lastly, you can identify a termite or ant by body shape. The waist of a termite is straight in accordance with the rest of its body, which is separated into two segments, while an ant’s body has three segments and a waist that is pinched in.

Swarming Mannerisms

Swarming is typical of termites that are ready to reproduce and find a new place to start a colony. However, flying ants will often nest then swarm as well and find their way inside a house, creating instant panic for a homeowner. Swarmers are looking for a place to quickly burrow into soil and take up residence as they can’t typically live for long periods of time in dry climates. Catching sight of a large amount of flying bugs should be a caution sign that you have some type of insect colony living nearby.

termite damageOther Signs of Termites

Although, they are usually hard to discover by actually seeing them, termites do leave other signs around that they’ve invaded a home. Mud tubes, droppings, discarded wings, sagging or curling floors and hollowed or buckling wood are all good indicators of a possible termite infestation. Uncovering any of these signs, along with viewing a swarm, means a termite inspection is in order right away.

While you shouldn’t automatically freak out when you see a swarm of termite look-alike winged insects because they could just be flying ants, keep in mind that scheduling an annual termite inspection is the only way for a homeowner to ever really be sure that they are free of any termite activity. It would be unfortunate to wait until there’s so much damage already done that it becomes visible to the naked eye and past the point of helpful treatment.

About the Author

Tiffany Olson is a full-time blogger who finds great joy in writing on topics such as pest control. She has personally dealt with rat and fly infestations and hopes that she never has to experience flying ants or termites!

Home Termite Inspections: What To Expect

Termites

Termites (Photo credit: Gnilenkov Aleksey)

There will be a multitude of things on your mind when purchasing a new home, and although a termite inspection may not be at the top of your list, you certainly don’t want to brush it off and find out later that you are being invaded by the wood-eating tiny creatures. Becoming a responsible homeowner from the beginning will only help prevent what could cost you dearly in the end. While most insects that find their way into your home are just considered a nuisance, termites can cause serious damage and leave your home in shambles. Termites can go undetected for years, not only eating away at the wood-framed structure you’re living in, but also feeding on books, papers, furniture, carpet, cloth and insulation. This is why professional termite inspections are recommended at least once a year to prevent infestations or detect an already existing problem. Areas determined to be high risk should be inspected more frequently.

What To Expect During A Termite Inspection

 

Termite Visual Inspection Zone

Termite Visual Inspection Zone (Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold)

An inspector should begin by going over any areas of concern the homeowner may have to get a better understanding of any signs of termites already recognized. From that point, the inspector will continue their interior and exterior search for three things: current activity, past activity and potential access. Current activity would show evidence of the actual insects, either in the damage they are causing or in the mud tubes they create to travel from soil to structure.

Inspectors are also trained to look for exit holes and droppings, which are strong indicators your home has been violated by the pests. Past activity is determining old wood damage by termites in particular without an indication that they are still present. Potential access allows the proprietor to know of any places in their home that could prove easy entry to termites and cause future infestations, such as cracks in the foundation, wood-to-ground contact, exposed and untreated wood and moisture sources.

A complete list of the inspected areas will be provided, and if it is determined treatment is needed, discussing options and pricing will conclude the inspection, which typically takes 45 minutes to an hour.

What About Do-It-Yourself Inspections?

 

Termite mud tube found in pest inspection

Termite mud tube found in pest inspection (Photo credit: danielmoyle)

Doing a termite inspection yourself is not recommended in most cases. For an accurate report of damage or potential damage to your home enlisting the service of a properly trained and licensed professional is the way to go, and in most states any real estate transaction involving a wood-destroying insect inspection requires the appropriate training on biology, construction and control of termites. Experienced inspectors use tools when searching homes that a typical homeowner doesn’t have access to, like probing tools, moisture meters, infrared camera technology that can reveal termite tubes and moisture infiltration in hidden areas.

Making termite inspections part of your home maintenance routine will prevent or minimize damage and save you the headache of a much bigger problem down the road. Your home is arguably the biggest investment you’ll ever make, and putting that in jeopardy to save a couple extra bucks just isn’t worth it.

Tiffany Olson works a small firm in California where her primary duty is to educate the public by blogging on many topics including termite inspection in Union City. On her off time you’ll most likely find her enjoying outdoor activities or hanging out with good friends.

 

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