A termite infestation is a problem that will always get worse, never better. Signs of termite trouble include frass (termite droppings), mud tubes along a home’s walls or foundation, swarming termites or dropped wings (meaning they have burrowed into the walls), or hollowed out wood. A termite control company can help eliminate an existing colony and protect the home from further damage. The longer a homeowner waits to control a termite problem, the more costly it becomes. The EPA reports that each year homeowners spend over $2 billion treating termites. An untreated termite infestation can cost tens of thousands of dollars as the house gets eaten from the inside out by these wood-consuming pests.
The three most common types of termites are subterranean, drywood and dampwood. The type found typically depends on the environment. Dampwood termites are drawn to wet and humid parts of the country, for example. Termites typically range from around 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in length. Subterranean termites enter a home from the ground up, building mud tubes to safely travel between the wood and their underground home. Subterranean colonies can become massive with millions of termites in one colony. True to their names, dampwood termites and drywood termites like moisture-rich or dried-out wood, respectively. Regardless, they all feed on wood. Several factors affect the cost of termite treatment.
Price per square foot
Some termite control companies charge by the square foot, particularly if the job a preconstruction preventative treatment or to treat a house and foundation for a full infestation. Costs usually cover labor, pesticide and any related business overhead of the company. Mauney’s Termite Control in Monroe, North Carolina, works primarily with eastern subterranean termites, which enter homes from underground. Often with subterranean termites, the entire footprint of the home needs to be treated. Mauney’s Termite Control charges 45 cents to 60 cents per square foot to treat a home infested with termites. The exact price depends on whether the home has a slab foundation or a crawl space. The company specializes in a liquid treatment called Termidor that is applied around the home’s perimeter and drilled into the slab or concrete foundation areas. To treat a 2,000-square-foot ranch-style house with a crawl space, Mauney’s Termite Control charges $950.
Warranties protect homeowners if termites return again within a stated period of time. Some companies include a warranty in the cost of their services, and other companies offer a warranty for an additional fee. A professional contract should spell out exactly what is and is not included in the total cost of treatment. Mauney’s Termite Control charges $100–$125 for a one-year, renewable and transferable warranty.
Extent of infestation
Professionals use a variety of different termite treatments, including fumigation (the entire house is enclosed in a tent and gassed), pesticides (chemical poisons are applied topically or drilled into the house) and solutions that are naturally poisonous to termites such as concentrated orange oil applied by a licensed professional. The more infiltrated the termites are into the home, the higher the cost for treatment. Heavy infestations may also call for multiple treatments, in which case, costs for labor, product and business overhead will all increase as well.
Some simple preventative measures can save homeowners a lot of money in damage control after termites have entered a home. Here are some tips for keeping termites out:
Termites won’t eat through paint. Make sure that you don’t have peeling paint or cracks where they can sneak in.
Keep foundation gaps caulked and sealed.
Don’t let leaking water lead to soggy wood that may draw termites in.
Keep your crawl space dry with proper ventilation to deter moisturize-loving subterranean termites.
- If you’re concerned that you may already have termites, schedule an inspection.