November 18, 2005 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I think my home may have termites. Being a new homeowner, I have never dealt with an exterminator before. Any suggestions on who to call first? I've heard some horror stories about exterminators.

I just noticed this in the back corner of a closet. The was refinished about two months ago, so it's obvious that this has recently started. I live in the midwest, if that makes any difference.

<img src="http://image.inkfrog.com/pix/acemarilllion/termites.jpg"
posted by sharksandwich to Home & Garden (10 answers total)

Hope this pic works.
posted by sharksandwich at 10:44 AM on November 18, 2005

Was a termite inspection performed before the sale? In some states, you can't sell a house w/o having one done.
posted by trondant at 10:56 AM on November 18, 2005

First, that is most certainly termites, I'm afraid. The damage looks identical to what we had in our home a few years ago. If this is the first signs that you've found, act quickly in order to reduce your overall costs (which are going to be high no matter what).

Based on our experience, I would recommend going with a national brand. This is probably the only time that I would recommend a national company over a local business. But, the national companies have access to better resources/technology and usually offer some type of guarantee with their work. Additionally, they have the size necessary to back up that guarantee. We went with Terminix and were very satisfied.

But, whatever you do, do it quick!
posted by richardhay at 10:58 AM on November 18, 2005

Yes, first sign I've noticed. Seems to only be in this one spot in the house.

No, a termite inspection was not performed. I don't recall it being part of the sale of the place to me.
posted by sharksandwich at 11:08 AM on November 18, 2005

That could be old damage, but you should definitely get an exterimator - as for finding one, I would ask your neighbors for recommendations. If you've had or have termites, then chances are they have also had problems.

You might consider getting sentricon or somesuch termite 'system' installed. It can go a long way to assuring future buyers that you've done all you can to protect your house from termites.
posted by drobot at 11:29 AM on November 18, 2005

Did you purchase your home through a Realtor? If so ask them for a recommendation. Also, let them know you don't want the cheapest, rather the best reputation.
Also, a lot of termite companies will provide 1 free inspection. Call around and get a couple places to come by and see what the results are.
And as everyone else has mentioned, do it today.
posted by Wallzatcha at 11:43 AM on November 18, 2005

We went through this last year. Get as many word-of-mouth references as you can as well as multiple bids. It'll vary.

If your house has been treated before, ask if the exterminator can just treat the affected areas. This could lower your cost considerably. That's what we did. Our house had been treated before we bought it but the exterminator (who's now out of business) did a halfassed job and missed a spot. Guess where the termites got in?

It's also a good idea to check with the county extension office to see what is and isn't allowed in terms of treating termites. Some cities/counties won't allow certain products based on their toxicity levels.

We went with a company that used Terminix. That actually kills them. A lot of other exterminators will try to sell you on a system, basically, that repels termites. Given the fact that the main hive can be up to a mile or two away from your house, those systems didn't inspire a lot of confidence.

Good luck!
posted by Atom12 at 12:07 PM on November 18, 2005

Actually, Terminix is a company. Termidor is the product they used.
posted by Atom12 at 12:09 PM on November 18, 2005

sharksandwich, I recommend a subscription to Angie's List, which has a chapter in Milwaukee (where it looks like you're from). The service also has lots of homeowners coupons, so you may very well beat the cost of membership through coupon savings.

It's basically a word-of-mouth database. Other homeowners report on companies they've used, the quality of the service and the price. Pest control is a category they track, at least for the list in my city.

Also, hindsight being 20/20 and all, always get a pest and termite inspection before you buy. Shame on your realtor for not suggesting it. You may also want to look over your contract to buy, specifically the disclosure statement. In Illinois, there is a section on past or active termite inspections. If you come to find that this damage occurred before you purchased the home, the seller knew about it and did not disclose it, you would have grounds for suing to recoup the cost of treatment and repair.

Also, speak with your neighbors to find out if others have had termite problems. Termites usually affect areas, not just single homes, so your neighbors may have some helpful information for you.

Good luck.
posted by Sully6 at 1:00 PM on November 18, 2005

DO NOT just spot treat...treat the entire house.

DO NOT use a local company...when I called the local company on their guarantee to fix damage, they promptly filed for bankruptcy and I spent two years sueing their insurance company.

Use the most powerful termite killer your local laws allow...you cannot believe the amount of damage that termites can do in a very short time if left unchecked.

The main nest can be directly under your house...in the worst case, under a concrete slab...barrier systems do not solve this problem...a good national exterminator will be able to identify and solve this problem.

Damage to hardwood flooring is a hassle but much less serious than damage to structural members. Make sure your exterminator examines the floor joists under this area...also make sure that that area is not prone to dampness for some reason...flooring is typically only attractive if it retains moisture.

Remember that no exterminator will guarantee you against damage that you can't prove happened after he started protecting your house and that is very hard to prove.
posted by cyclopz at 1:40 PM on November 18, 2005

« Older Prettier network maps?   |   Is my network secure? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.