Kelly Leighton

Last Updated: May 2, 2018 | View all posts by Kelly Leighton

Termite infestations cost homeowners $3,000 on average in repairs a year. Across the U.S., residents spend about $5 billion annual to squash termite problems or repair termite damage, which affects 600,000 homes each year.

Jennifer Brumfield, Western Pest Services entomologist, is here to offer advice to help your homeowners avoid this potentially expensive and invasive problem.

Brumfield said the top sign of a termite infection is the presence of swarmers. “They look like a winged ant, except the wings and antennae are different,” she explained. “You will often see a lot of wings. They’re very translucent.”

Another sign of termites are mud tubes, which help termites travel and protect them from predators. Brumfield said some homeowners notice damaged wood, which are another sign of termites. “Sometimes, people will be gardening this time of year, and may find some termites right there,” she said.

Brumfield said homes most susceptible to termite infestations are structures with wood-to-ground contact, and those with siding that goes directly into the ground. “Its easy to bury that siding,” she said. “If you can’t see the foundation, termites can now come out of the mulch and get into a structure. The grading has to flow away, so make sure you know how the water flows.”

She also said rubble wall foundation makes homes more vulnerable to termites, as do brick foundations.

“Consumers should be diligent with inspections,” she said. “Get rid of wood-to-ground contact and remove any tree stumps or similar things in the ground.” She also said it’s beneficial to use landscaping gravel instead of mulch and keep firewood piles away from the structure.

Those searching for their dream home, along with their Realtors®, should feel comfortable knowing their home inspectors are trained to search for termites, termite infestation or past termite infestation.

And if a client does find a termite infestation, Brumfield said to avoid the do-it-yourself method. “There is no over-the-counter product for termites that will get rid of them. Call a professional.”