After a thorough DIY inspection, you think you might have termites. You’ve seen the mud tubes. You hear the creaking when you walk across the floor. Mysterious cracks are appearing in the walls.
If you think you have termites, you have no time to lose.
These destructive pests can cause extensive, costly damage to your home and property. The first step is to get a professional inspection. The next step? Treatment.
How much will all of this cost you? Probably a lot more if you do nothing. Let’s take a closer look at the average cost of exterminating a termite infestation.
- How Much Does a Termite Inspection Cost?
- How Much Does It Cost to Get Rid of Termites?
- Extra Costs That May Arise
How Much Does a Termite Inspection Cost?
The cost of a termite inspection will really depend on the company you use. Most major pest companies offer free inspections, which has prompted local companies to go the same route.
It’s important to note that you may see companies charging for inspections, but inquire with them anyway to see if they offer free home inspections. When buying real estate, a termite inspection is required, which will cost you money ($65-$100 on average).
What Does a Termite Inspection Consist Of?
When visiting your property, termite inspectors will look for:
- Any visible signs of infestation, including mud tubes, wood damage, exit holes, discarded wings and droppings.
- Signs of moisture.
- Wood-to-ground contact that might attract termites.
Typically, inspectors check common entry points first to look for any signs of activity. Where they look first will depend on the species of termites they are looking for. With subterranean termites, for example, inspectors might check basements, foundations, attics and crawlspaces first. Wooden furniture may be inspected if they are looking for signs of drywood termites.
Tools of the Trade
If the inspector finds signs of activity, he or she will use tools to inspect the situation even further.
Common tools of the trade include:
- Termite tapper. The termite tapper is one of the most important pieces of equipment. It’s run along skirting and exposed timber to check for changes in tone. Changes in tone indicate termite damage.
- Moisture meter. As you may have guessed, these meters are used to detect moisture in internal walls. Higher moisture levels are an indication of termites, as they require humid conditions for survival.
- Imaging devices and/or motion detectors. At one time, inspectors would need to drill holes in walls to check for termite activity. New technology helps inspectors avoid having to further damage walls. Imaging and motion detector devices allow inspectors to see what’s inside of the walls or check for movement – an indicator of termite activity.
Once an inspection is performed, you’ll have a clear indication of whether you have termites – or something else.
If you do have termites, you’ll need to treat the problem as soon as possible. This is where the cost concerns come in.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Rid of Termites?
The cost of termite extermination varies greatly depending on a variety of factors, including:
- The extent of the infestation
- The size of the home
- The methods used
The type of termite species will likely not affect the cost of treatment. For example, subterranean termites treatment cost would likely be the same as the cost to treat drywood termites.
Let’s take a look at the most common types of extermination and their costs.
Keep in mind that these are just estimates, and prices may vary from one pest company to the next (e.g. Terminix prices may be not be same as the local Joe Pest Control company).
Electro-Gun and Microwave
For smaller areas of infestations, the electro-gun and microwave technique may be used.
On average, this method costs:
An electro-gun is a specialized piece of equipment that draws 180,000 volts up through a gallery, which is a termite trail that runs along the grain of the wood. This system heats the wood from the inside out, killing the termites inside.
This method is a great alternative to chemicals if you’re dealing with a smaller, concentrated infestation.
Chemical extermination is the most common method used for moderate infestations.
The average cost of termite treatment is:
- $1,300-$2,500 for homes around 1,250 square feet
- $1,700-$3,200 for homes around 2,500 square feet
The chemical route involves the drilling or trenching of holes around the perimeter of the home. A liquid chemical is added to the holes.
The Bait Method
Baiting is a bit more expensive than the chemicals route, but may be the preferred option if you live near a body of water – or would just rather avoid using chemicals as a personal preference.
The average cost of baiting termites is:
- $1,500 for a 1,250-square-foot home
- $3,000 for a 2,500-square-foot home
For the baiting method, holes are drilled around the perimeter of the home, and the bait is placed in the holes.
When dealing with a more serious infestation, complete termite control may be required. And whole-house fumigation is one of the most effective ways to do that.
The cost of fumigation will largely depend on the size of your home. On average, this method costs:
- $1,200-$2,500 for a 1,250-square-foot home
- $2,200-$3,800 for a 2,500-square-foot home
Lethal gas is used to kill the insects. During this process, the home is “tented” and the homeowners are required to leave the property for four to five days.
If you’re dealing with a whole-house infestation and you want to avoid using chemicals, the heating method may be a viable alternative. The costs, however, aren’t much different.
On average, heating extermination costs:
- $1,250 for a 1,250-square-foot home
- $2,500 for a 2,500-square-foot home
Much like with fumigation, tenting of the home is required for this method. Hot air is blown into the home until interior temperatures reach 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit and structural timbers heat up to 120 degrees.
The great thing about the heating technique is that it can be used to treat only certain areas of the home. If you have an infestation in your living room, for example, the treatment can be applied to this area specifically.
To treat an entire home, the process takes about eight hours. Homeowners are able to return home that evening.
To recap, here’s a rundown of the price of treatment from highest to lowest:
Extra Costs That May Arise
When it comes to pest control, it’s not uncommon for extra costs to arise. That’s why many experts recommend budgeting in a little extra to cover these costs.
Some of the most common “surprise” charges include:
Some pest control companies will charge a yearly maintenance fee if you’ve gone the chemical or bait route. These costs can vary, but are typically around $200 for chemical renewal and $400 for bait renewal.
If your home has extra-thick cement around the perimeter, you may be charged more for drilling.
It’s important to factor in the cost of home repairs into the equation. Your home may need repairs due to extermination methods, from termite damage, or both. It’s likely that in the very least, you’ll need to make repairs to termite-damaged wood in your home. It’s rare for homeowners to catch a termite infestation before they’ve already done some significant damage.
Terminix estimates that termite infestations can cost $8,000 in damages to your home, and these pests cause about $5 billion in damage each year.