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What Does Termite Treatment Cost?

2010 October 13
Termite Damage Picture

Termite Damage to Wooden Beams

Termites, a scourge of homeowners since homes were invented, date back to the time of the dinosaurs, and have proven to be resourceful and survival oriented. Although they are an important factor in nature, termites have been estimated to cause around 5 billion dollars in damages to homes in the United States alone every year.

Termites can be distinguished from their distant cousins—winged ants, which also appear at around the same time of year—by a few highly visible factors. Both have 2 pairs of wings, but on the termite these wings are all the same length. On the ant, the 2nd pair of wings is smaller than the 1st. The termite’s antennae protrude straight from its head with no joints, while the ant’s have an elbow joint halfway down. Termites have thick waists, ants slender ones. You may also check for mud tubes leading up the side of your home, about the width of a pen. A sure sign of a termite infestation, these earthen tubes are constructed by the termites to provide shelter and a direct passageway from their colonies underground to your building where they feast on your structure.

Termite Mud Tubes

Termite Mud Tube

For effective termite treatment, two strategies generally used—liquids and baits.  The older of the two , liquids, come in either repellent or non-repellent varieties. The repellent variety aims to create a chemical barrier between the termites’ underground nest and your home, allowing them no way to get from their nest to their feast. They will not cross the section where the chemical liquid has been applied, and any termites already in your structure die off, not being able to return to their home. Other, more modern, non-repellent liquid varieties simply kill any termites found in the treatment zone. This tends to work as a quicker and more effective treatment type.

The other treatment method, baiting, is a slow and complex process involving placing poisonous bait into the ground around your home which is then found by foraging termites and taken back to the nest. This usually results in a slow decline and eventual eradication of the termite infestation.

Both of these methods are highly complicated, requiring a multitude of special skills, equipment, and in many cases a license to apply chemical treatments in that state. Termite removal is a job best performed by professionals and should not be attempted on one’s own, especially when poisonous materials are to be used.  Misapplication of chemicals can be extremely harmful to yourself, your family, and the environment.

Although spraying may start from around 5 dollars per linear foot, many factors affect termite treatment cost, including the building size, location, construction, and the severity of the termite infestation. In general, a complete termite removal could cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000 dollars.  Most professional termite control companies offer free estimates, so in most cases you can get multiple free quotes to make sure you are getting a fair price.

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