How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Termite Exterminator?

Average range: $300 - $900
Average Cost
(chemical treatment of 2,500 sq.ft.)

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How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Termite Exterminator?

Average range: $300 - $900
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(chemical treatment of 2,500 sq.ft.)

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Reviewed by Irene Pomares. Written by

The easiest definition of a termite describes it as an insect that lives in large social groups and eats wood. In some parts of the world their presence is important to recycle wood and plant matter. However, when it comes to our homes, we do not want these wood-eating bugs to enter as they can eat the structure of our property compromising the stability of the house. In addition, termites will eventually target anything constructed of wood inside the home such as furnishings.

There are many ways to treat termites, and each has its own costs, depending on how the size of the infestation, where they are located, and the method used. Treating the foundation of a new garage would cost around $240. In most cases, homes are treated by the linear foot, so a 2,500 sq. ft. house with a 24’ x 50’ footprint has 148 linear feet to cover, at an average cost range of $520. The mid-range is between $300-$900. The high cost for a heat treatment for a 2,500 sq. ft. home and prevention of 148 linear feet could run as much as $2,800. Total costs are affected by the size of the house, the area to cover, the foundation type, and the extent of the infestation, meaning whether it is localized or is throughout the entire structure.

Cost to Hire a Termite Exterminator

Termite Treatment Costs
National average cost$520
Average range$300-$900
Minimum cost$240
Maximum cost$2,800

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Termite Treatment Cost by Project Range

Treating the foundation of a new garage
Average Cost
Chemical treatment of 2,500 sq.ft.
Heat treatment of 2,500 sq.ft. plus preventative treatment for 148 linear feet of perimeter

Termite Treatment Cost per Square Foot

Whole house termite treatment cost is usually figured by the linear foot if using a bait system or chemical treatment. If the professional uses a fumigation or heat treatment, the cost is measured by the sq. ft. at $1 to $3. This is because bait and chemical treatments are subterranean soil applications, while fumigation and heat treatments are interior applications.

Cost to Treat Termites in a 1000, 1500, 1800, 2000, and 3000 Sq.Ft. Home

Cost to Treat Termites in a 1000, 1500, 1800, 2000, and 3000 Sq.Ft. Home

Square FootageCost
1,000 sq.ft.$1,000 - $3,000
1,500 sq.ft.$1,500 - $4,500
1,800 sq.ft.$1,800 - $5,400
2,000 sq.ft.$2,000 - $6,000
3,000 sq.ft.$3,000 - $9,000

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Termite Control Cost by Treatment

Termite control is also priced according to the type of treatment. The pricing we have included is for a 2,500 sq. ft. home and ranges from $750 to $5,000. Of course, treatment costs depend on the company and the size of your home. There are several common treatments that professionals use: liquid termiticide, termite bait, heat treatment and fumigation.

Cost to Exterminate Termites Using Micro Treatment, Liquid Termiticide, Tenting, Baiting, Fumigation, or Heat Treatment in a 2500 Sq.Ft. Home

Cost to Exterminate Termites Using Micro Treatment, Liquid Termiticide, Tenting, Baiting, Fumigation, or Heat Treatment in a 2500 Sq.Ft. Home

Treatment TypeAverage Cost for 2,500 sq.ft Home
Micro Treatment$750 - $4,000
Liquid Termiticide$750 - $4,000
Tenting$1,250 - $5,000
Baiting$2,000 - $3,000
Fumigation$2,500 - $5,000
Heat$2,500 - $5,000

Micro Treatment

Termite chemical treatment costs $3 to $16 per linear foot which for a home with 250 linear feet comes out to about $750 to $4,000. In the case of liquid termiticide, the liquid is sprayed onto the foundation with a saturating coat to not only repel the termites, but to kill them. Newer formulas are not lethal as well as repelling; however, the liquid treatment is quite effective.

Liquid Termite Treatment Cost

This method has a cost range of $4 - $16 per linear foot 4, with most paying around $10 a linear foot 4, which for a home with 148 linear feet comes out to about $1,500. In the case of liquid termiticide, the liquid is sprayed onto the foundation with a saturating coat to not only repel the termites, but to kill them. Newer formulas are not lethal as well as repelling; however, the liquid treatment is quite effective. 

Tenting Termite Control

The cost of tenting termite control is $5 to $20 per linear foot or $1,250 to $5,000. Tenting and fumigation are similar, but tenting involves lethal chemicals versus the toxic gas used in fumigation. The home is enveloped in a tent once the house is completely vacated by people, pets, and plants. Once the chemicals are released, they kill all termites within the home. The home must then remain unoccupied for three to five days while the chemicals evaporate.

Termite Baiting Cost

Termite barrier cost or termite soil treatment cost run $2,000 to $3,000 or $8 to $12 per linear foot, depending on the number and type of bait. The termite bait is paper, cardboard, and other wood related “food” that has been treated with a slow acting lethal substance. It is put in a tubular container and buried underground away from the structure. The termites migrate to the bait, eat it and bring it back to the nest and gradually the colony dies off. Depending on the situation, some pest control companies will use a combination of both liquid and bait applications. Sentricon is the most common method of non-liquid baiting. It does not require drilling or trenching, and the bait areas are very discreet. This is more commonly used for subterranean termites.

Termite Fumigation Cost

Fumigation averages $10 - $20 per linear foot, for a home with 250 linear feet, this would be a range $2,500-$5,000. Fumigation is commonly used in some regions, particularly when you have drywood termites that cannot be exterminated by using other methods. The house is typically tented for several days. A toxic fumigant is used that will kill the termites. People and pets will have to move out of the home during this process. A tight seal is placed on the house, not only to kill the termites but to keep your neighbors from getting sick.

Termite Heat Treatment Cost

This treatment will cost about $1-$2 per sq. ft. so a 2,500 sq. ft. house would cost $2,500-$5,000. Heat treatment is another way to rid your house of termites. Your house is tented during this process to keep the heat in. The positive thing about this treatment is that it uses no chemicals. The home is heated so that the core of all the wood products reaches 120 degrees; it is then held at that temperature for 33 minutes. The treatment is effective and less toxic to the environment. People and pets will typically only have to vacate the home for a few hours rather than days. Drawbacks may come in heat damage to heat sensitive products you may have in your home.

Termite Control by Frequency

Termite control comes in various options depending on the company you choose and what type of coverage you are looking to purchase. The cost ranges from $175 to $1,500 annually for everything from a basic inspection plan up to a termite bond.

Cost of a Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly, or One-Time Contract to Exterminate Termites

Cost of a Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly, or One-Time Contract to Exterminate Termites

Monthly$25 - $45
Quarterly$100 - $300
Yearly$175 - $1,500
One-Time$900 - $1,200

Monthly Termite Treatment Cost

The cost runs from $25 to $45 for monthly termite treatment. Bait systems are typically the type of termite treatment that is paid monthly. The bait is buried in the ground, and the expert returns monthly to check. The initial cost for the bait system at a rate of $40 to $50 for each unit or by the linear foot at $8 to $12 may be charged. Monthly treatment is recommended once termites are eradicated to maintain a pest-free home.

Quarterly Termite Treatment Cost

Some companies allow a quarterly termite treatment and payment plan at a rate of $100 to $300 quarterly. The plan includes quarterly checks of bait systems, or in the case of liquid treatments, a thorough inspection to locate any infestation that should be treated. Quarterly treatments are recommended when a home is termite-free to ensure that there are no further issues.

Yearly Termite Treatment Cost

An annual termite contract costs $175-$400, depending on the type of plan. Most pest control companies will want to get you onto an annual treatment plan. After the initial treatment, the pest professional can check your home again and make further suggestions or take action to treat again. Spot checks and treatments will be considered in an annual plan.

One-Time Termite Treatment

A one-time termite treatment is sometimes all that is required. The cost is usually around $900 to $1,200. The homeowner should be aware that termites may return over time and that a regular application plan, or at the very least, an annual inspection, is the best choice. An annual inspection ensures that the presence of termites is caught before too much damage occurs. A regular application or bait plan prevents termites altogether.

Termite Pest Control Cost by Level of Infestation

The average cost, $150 to $2,500, for termite treatments varies according to the level of infestation. This is because a small infestation will be treated differently than a large infestation. Mud tunnels or sighting one of these winged creatures is a sign of an infestation. Swarming may indicate a more intensive number of termites. Regardless of how many, it is always essential to get treatment immediately to avoid damage to your home. Professionals recommend an annual re-check and treatment once the pests have enjoyed the taste of your home.

Cost to Exterminate a Small, Medium, Large, or Severe Termite Infestation

Cost to Exterminate a Small, Medium, Large, or Severe Termite Infestation

Size of InfestationCost
Small$150 - $250
Medium$300 - $400
Large$1,200 - $2,500
Severe$1,200 - $2,500

Small Termite Infestation

A small termite infestation will cost you around $150 to $250. If caught early, the infestation starts small but, if left untreated, grows quickly. A micro-spray application can most likely be used to get in hard-to-reach areas where a smaller colony may appear.

Medium Termite Infestation

Slightly larger termite problems usually require a bait treatment which is more expensive at around $300 to $400. This pricing includes the setup of the baits and a return visit to make sure the termites have visited and taken the bait. The termites eat the bait, and it kills them. The return visits are also used to replace the bait, so no new termites invade.

Large Termite Infestation

Finding a large termite infestation is scary and expensive at $1,200 to $2,500 as tenting may be required. Tenting allows the entire house to be treated at once, which works best in a larger termite infestation. The homeowner should expect to vacate the house for several days as the tent will encompass the entire house, and chemicals will be released to kill the termites.

Severe Termite Infestation

A severe termite infestation means they are everywhere in your house and can cost as much as $1,200 to $2,500. Severe infestation costs the same as a large termite infestation. The same type of treatment is used and only changes based on square footage. For a drastic treatment, fumigation will be necessary, and the house must be vacated and remain unoccupied for three to five days. In addition, damage repair may be required.

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Termite Treatment Prices by Types of Termites

Although there are over 2,000 varieties of termites throughout the world, only five types are frequently found in the U.S. Most of them need moisture and make a path to wherever the food is which frequently is the wood structure of your house and your wood furniture. Those that live underground will actually build mud tunnels up your foundation and into the wood structure. Others can live with little moisture and can be found in your attic or other dry wood places in your home. Knowing the different types may help you identify the type you have if you suspect a termite infestation. The average treatment cost depending on the type of termite is $240 to $2,500.

Cost to Exterminate Drywood, Dampwood, or Subterranean Termites

Cost to Exterminate Drywood, Dampwood, or Subterranean Termites

Type of TermiteCost
Drywood$240 - $2,500
Dampwood$300 - $2,500
Subterranean$500 - $2,500

Drywood Termites Treatment Cost

Drywood termite control runs about $240 to $2,500. Even though they enjoy moist areas, the drywood termite doesn’t require as much as other types of termites and is not found in the soil. The pests are drawn to rotten, dead wood in wall supports and attic areas. The drywood termite is distinct in that it has large cream-colored narrow wings that extend beyond the length of the body with an orange-brown body and head. These termites are seen mainly in Southern areas from North Carolina to the Gulf Coast and parts of California. One of the most common drywood termites is the Conehead termite. The cost to treat a Conehead infestation is $300 to $2,500. This termite is mainly seen in the southern part of Florida. It is an aggressive termite that starts by living hidden and later builds nests in shrubs, trees, or buildings. They enjoy eating roots, trees, shrubs, lumber, paper, fence posts 1, and rails. Identifying the Conehead is easy as it has a unique round or oval-shaped brown ball for a head. They build wider tunnels than other termites.

Dampwood Termites Treatment

For Dampwood termite treatment, expect to pay $300 to $2,500. Larger creatures than other termites, Dampwood termites are true to their name and like damp wood. This means they only infest moist areas so are not as often seen in the walls or attic of homes. However, it isn’t an impossibility, so keeping outdoor spaces free of standing water and moisture is vital to keep these pests away from your home. The Dampwood termite has a translucent orange-brown body with a darker head with horn-shaped mandibles on the front.

Subterranean Termites Treatment Cost

The average cost for subterranean termite treatment starts at around $500 to $2,500 on average for this type of treatment. Costs vary depending on how large the colony is and how large the property or area is that’s being treated. Subterranean termites are usually treated using baits, with Sentricon being the most common. These termites can be found in every state except Alaska. Subterranean termites are one of the most destructive in the nation and are the creators of mud tunnels for protection. Formosan termites are a type of subterranean termite. This is the most aggressive, fastest-producing termite. Underground and aboveground colonies are huge and cause damage quickly, consuming up to 13 ounces of wood in a day. The Formosan termite is mainly found in the warm Southern states but has also been sighted in Hawaii, California, Arizona, and Texas. These pests are identified by a teardrop-shaped, orange-brown head.

Termite Extermination Cost by Location

Termites are sneaky creatures and are often called the silent killer. This is because they chew and eat the wood in your home and are not readily seen in many cases. There are some telltale signs of the presence of termites and ways you can fend them off in various parts of your home. The cost to treat by location differs according to the difficulty of access, type of application required, and the extent of the infestation. Although it may seem natural to only treat in the space with an infestation, it is always wise to treat the whole house to be sure there are no other colonies present.

Cost to Exterminate Termites in Lawn, Shed, Yard, Pantry, Garage, Window Frame...

Cost to Exterminate Termites in Lawn, Shed, Yard, Pantry, Garage, Window Frame...

Lawn$75 - $150
Shed$75 - $150
Yard$75 - $150
Pantry$150 - $200
Garage$150 - $500
Window Frame$150 - $500
Carpet$150 - $1,500
Bedroom$200 - $300
Ceiling$200 - $500
Kitchen$300 - $600
Attic$300 - $900
Floorboards$500 - $700

Termites in Lawn

Finding termites in the lawn runs about $75 to $150 to get rid of them. Although termites aren’t really interested in eating your lawn, their presence is dangerous to your home. The insects may use tiny bits of grass to build a nest and eventually make their way into your home in a quest for food. If you see them in your lawn, you should have your home inspected, and a preventative termite lawn treatment applied.

Termites in Shed

Termite extermination in the shed ranges from $75 to $150. Termites in the shed are typically only in wood sheds as this is the favorite product for termites. However, do not take it for granted that termites in your shed aren’t a problem. They could be in your home as well. The pests may also be after the wood foundation, trees or shrubs, or nearby firewood. A complete home inspection and treatment is advisable if you see them in the shed.

Termites in Yard

To rid your yard of termites, you will pay $75 to $150. Termite yard treatment is usually done when the pests are spotted in the yard or garden. Although it is natural for these bugs to live in soil and eat plant material, it is a warning sign for the homeowner. Once the termites become bored with the current food selection, they head for your home and feast on whatever wood products they can find.

Termites in Pantry

Getting rid of termites in the pantry runs from $150 to $200. As the pantry is usually in the kitchen, you may see termites in the pantry. Don’t worry. They aren’t after your food. They are after the wood areas. Their presence is still alarming because replacing wood is more expensive than buying new food! Check for leaking pipes in or near the pantry that may have attracted the pests. Call a professional to rid the area of the pests.

Termites in Garage

You will pay $150 to $500 to rid your garage of termites. Termites can be found in the garage floor, the walls, the ceiling, and the wood supports. Even if the garage is an independent structure from your home, termites will find their way into your home at some point. They can wreak havoc on your garage if left untreated. They enjoy eating the wood parts of your garage and often find lumber located in the garage. Again, the best course of action is to call a professional to inspect and treat your garage and home.

Termites in Window Frame

Removing termites from the window frame will cost $150 to $500. Window frames that have termites in them are most likely made of wood. If you find termites in your window frame, it is an indicator that you have a termite infestation. This is quite common as window frames are easily accessible and are a good entryway into the house. The window frame warps and is difficult to open or close. The homeowner needs to contact an expert to inspect the entire home and treat the termites.

Termites in Carpet

Removing termites from carpet could cost $150 to $1,500. If you find termites under the carpet, it is concerning as this means they are in the foundation of your home. This isn’t as big of a problem if your foundation is concrete, concrete block, or brick. However, if it is wood, you have a situation. Regardless, treatment is vital as they may be in the wood supports, siding, or other areas of the home if you find them in the carpet. Immediately lining up an expert to come in and inspect is the best plan of action.

Termites in Bedroom

Getting rid of termites in the bedroom runs from $200 to $300. Termites in the bedroom are also a danger sign of further infestation. The pests enjoy feasting on the wood supports, paper, or areas where leaky pipes may be located. Whether they are swarming or found in the walls, baseboards, or ceiling, the creatures have made a home in your house. A phone call to your local exterminator is warranted if you see termites in the bedroom.

Termites in Ceiling

The removal cost for termites on the ceiling is $200 to $500. Pencil-shaped tunnels on the ceiling are a sure sign of termites. This is a termite nest on the ceiling and means they have set up house in your home. Additionally, if you see termites falling from the ceiling, call a professional exterminator right away. These are most likely drywood termites and will cause damage to your place.

Termites in Kitchen

To remove termites from a kitchen, the cost runs from $300 to $600. The cost to treat termites in the kitchen can be higher as termites enjoy moisture often present in this location. To prevent infestations, fix leaky faucets immediately and clean up leaks under the refrigerator or other areas. A sunny kitchen is not a pleasant place for termites, so let in the sunshine! Termites eat cellulite readily available in real wood but engineered woods are not appealing to these creatures. If you see termites in the kitchen cabinets, call an exterminator right away, as this is a favorite among the creatures. If you see termites in the kitchen sink, you should check under the cabinet for leaks.

Termites in Attic

The cost of removing termites from attics varies from $300 to $900. Attics are a favored place for termites as they can feed undisturbed for a long time. Wood rafters and supports are a magnet for these pests and should be inspected and treated regularly to avoid damage and destruction. Keeping the crawl space free of moisture deters termites from your attic.

Termites in Floorboards

Removing termites from floorboards is expensive at $500 to $700. Natural wood floorboards should be treated with chemicals to discourage termites. However, in older homes, the flooring may not have been treated. If the floor was built by hand from lumber, it might not be treated. As termites love natural wood, they will be attracted to this type of flooring. Homes with untreated natural wood should be regularly inspected and treated with a termite preventative.

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Termite Control Prices by Company

The average cost of termite control, depending on the company, is $500 to $1,500. There are a wide variety of companies that offer termite treatment and control. Each one has special nuances, so it is a good idea to research before deciding. Questions to ask include cost, warranty, customer service, repeat visits, and more.

Cost of Orkin, Terminix, Ehrlich, or Western Treatment for Termites

Cost of Orkin, Terminix, Ehrlich, or Western Treatment for Termites

Termite CompanyCost
Orkin$500 - $650
Terminix$500 - $700
Ehrlich$700 - $1,500
Western$1,000 - $1,200

Orkin Termite Treatment Cost

Orkin termite control cost from $500 to $650. The company has over 70 years of experience with termite control and over 100 years of other types of pest control. Orkin offers the following termite treatment methods: Termidor liquid termite treatments, Sentricon bait and monitoring, dry foam, and Orkinfoam. They use a six-point system including investigation, protection, sealing, monitoring, reporting to the homeowner, and follow-up. Orkin offers free retreatment if termites return. They also promise to refund your money if you aren’t satisfied and contact them within 30 days of treatment.

Terminix Termite Control Cost

The cost for Terminix termite control ranges from $500 to $700 annually. Terminix has over 90 years of experience and offers over 47 locations throughout the United States. Their termite plan consists of a three-step method. First, an inspection is done to locate any termites. Next, the appropriate application is determined. Finally, an annual follow-up is done to ensure the home remains clear of termites for the rest of the year. If any termites are present, the treatment is free and is included in your warranty.

Ehrlich Termite Control

Ehrlich termite control programs cost $700 to $1,500 annually. Their program includes a free inspection. The company has been around for over 90 years and offers 45 locations throughout the nation. Ehrlich offers four different types of termite treatment: baiting stations, liquid, fumigation, and spot treatments. Offering one of the best warranties in the industry, Ehrlich’s Termite Home Protection Plan provides for damage repair and replacement if termites return after they treat your home.

Western Termite Control

Western Exterminator is a subsidiary of Rentokil and charges around $1,000 to $1,200 yearly. The company only offers service in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona. The process is started with a thorough free inspection, and then a customized plan is created for your home for prevention and infestation. Western provides several different methods, including fumigation, baiting and monitoring, and chemical barriers. The company also offers a home timber replacement warranty if termites are found after treatment and cause damage to your home.

Termite Extermination Cost

It is important to find a reputable pest control company that you can trust. Some professionals offer a free inspection, while others charge for it. Typically, the cost of termite inspection and treatment starts at $120 to $2,500, depending on the size of the house and yard. A reputable company with licensing and references will be your best choice.

The chemicals used for treatment cost on average $3-$16 per linear foot. So, for an entire house with 148 linear feet the treatment would cost around $1,100 on average, including labor. But it also depends on the size of your yard and the severity of the infestation. The cost of an annual maintenance plan ranges between $175-$400.

Termite Mound on Nature Background

Termite Pretreatment Cost

The cost of termite pretreatment for new construction varies according to what is being done. If the soil is treated before building, it runs as low as $200. If installing a bait system or treating before drywall is installed, it could cost as much as $2,500. For the pretreatment of the foundation, the horizontal barrier of this base is treated with a termiticide before the slab is poured. Any exposed wood would be treated along with a trenched area around the outside of the foundation. Proactive builders want to prevent the risk of future lawsuits concerning termites that may be present before construction starts. Using a pretreatment program eliminates the concern and keeps customers satisfied.

Termite Protection Plan Cost

If you get termites once, you may get them again. Some companies, therefore, offer a protection plan that includes a yearly inspection and repeated treatments as necessary to help prevent termites from making themselves comfortable in your home. Yearly termite protection cost programs have an average cost around $400-1,000, which can be a savings if you have a significant issue. This is different from a pretreatment plan as those are paid and carried out by the home’s original builder. A termite protection plan is purchased by the homeowner and must be renewed annually. Annual renewal can be as little as $100 to $125 but must be accompanied by termite treatment.

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Termite Inspection Cost

If you are unsure if you have termites or what type of termites you may have, have an inspection or testing done. The average cost of termite inspection for a one-time visit is $150 to $350. If you choose to have the treatment done after this, some companies roll the fee into the final costs. If you have regular termite service, an annual termite inspection cost is generally paid through a plan with the company and most likely won’t incur an extra charge. The professional can do a termite structural damage inspection to determine how much damage is present.

Emergency Termite Control

An emergency termite extermination visit could cost you as much as $100 to $200 extra. If it is the weekend, at night, on a holiday, or the infestation is extreme, no one wants to have to worry about termites and what damage they are doing while you sleep. Additionally, the longer you wait, the more damage they can do. Many companies are willing to make emergency visits but will charge extra. The professional will do a thorough inspection and present the best plan of action. Depending on the circumstances, treatment may be done immediately, or if possible, it may be scheduled later.

Termite Damage Repair Costs

Treating the termites is just the first step. Killing or eliminating the termites does not repair the damage that has been done. You may, therefore, have additional costs after treatment to repair the termite damage to the house. The average cost for most homeowners for repairs after taking care of the infestation is around $3,000 but can be as high as $8,000 or more in extreme situations. The cost for termite damage to wood and other surfaces averages $4 to $7 per linear foot.

Drywall is the material commonly used for walls and ceilings in homes. The product is made with sheets of plaster and thick panels of paper. The cellulose in the sheetrock is attractive to termites, so termite damage to drywall is a typical occurrence. The pests feed on the paper portion of the wall, so termite wall damage is common.

As the insects love wood, termite damage to hardwood floors is also a frequent problem. Additionally, other areas with wood framing draw the pests to invade the home. Termite damage to a window frame or door frame isn’t unusual. Homeowners should call an expert immediately if they notice any wood shavings, droppings, wood blistering, or mud tubes in these areas.

Wood that Has Been Eaten By Termites

Signs of Termites in House

Early signs of termites, if heeded, allow you to get them exterminated before damage occurs. Because of the urgency of knowing early on, homeowners should search for indications that termites are present in or around the house.

If you have a termite infestation then the whole house needs to be treated because termites work in colonies that quickly spread out and attack a variety of areas in your house. After a full house treatment, spot treatments can be done as follow-up in particular termite strongholds. In addition, pest control companies may not warranty their work if they do not treat the whole house. If you find any of these signs, it may indicate that you have a termite infestation in your home:

  • Mud like tunnels: termites build mud tubes to keep them moisturized while they search for food. You may see these tubes running up your foundation. This can be one of the signs of termites in the home.
  • Termite wings: after the termites swarm their wings fall off; this may be your only sign you have termite evidence in the house.
  • Termite droppings: they are also called frass and are wood colored. This can be a sign of termites in the wall.
  • "Swarmers" or flying termites: they appear in the house at varying times depending on the species of termites. Subterranean termites typically swarm in the spring; drywood termites are not as predictable.
  • Warped wood around windows or doors: This happens when the termites eat the wood, leaving vacant areas that cause warping. This is a sure sign of termite evidence in the home.
  • Bubbling and discoloration: Signs of termites in the ceiling may be bubbling or discoloration.

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All About Termites

It may surprise you to know that termites are from the same family as roaches, Blattodea. They are often confused with ants but are the silent destroyers of thousands of wood surfaces. These winged creatures are over 130 million years old and can be found in nearly every area of the United States. Termite types include the workers, soldiers, and reproductive males and females. They vary in size from 5mm to 26 mm, depending on the type of termite. Most termites live only 10 to 24 months, except for the reproductive termites who live one to four years and the Queen who can live up to 25 years!

Termites are moisture lovers, except for drywood termites. They send out the swarmers as the weather warms in search of new places to find food. Once established, the reproductive termites mate and produce eggs. The eggs hatch into larvae. After up to three molts, they reach full maturity. At this point, they either become a worker, soldier, or a reproductive termite.

Where do Termites Nest?

Termites nest where they eat. Some soil-based termites build nests in the soil, while those living inside homes build nests there. They choose their nesting location based on where the food is located. Some termites nest in trees or shrubs and build tunnels to reach more food inside the home. Termites in your home usually build in hidden areas such as hardwood floors, furniture, and between joists and studs.

What do Termites Look Like?

Most termites have a translucent body that is either white or orange-brown. They are generally about a ¼ to ½ inch long and have soft bodies. They feature straight or horned antennae that protrude from their heads. Worker termites are a light color, while swarmers tend to be darker, larger, and have wings. Dampwood termites can be found in damp spaces such as a bathroom or basement, while drywood termites like dry wood in homes or apartments. Subterranean termites tend to be smaller than their counterparts, the drywood and dampwood termites.

Are Termites Dangerous?

Termites do not bite, and they do not carry diseases. However, people with allergies or asthma may suffer from attacks in the presence of termites. Irritants such as the dust or particles from the termite nests can get drawn into the HVAC system and cause an allergic or asthmatic reaction. Termites are unlikely to bite a pet. If they do, it isn’t terribly painful. Dogs or cats may eat termites and not be affected in any way. Some pests are poisonous if eaten by a pet, but termites are not.

What Attracts Termites?

Termites are always looking for food. Their meal of choice is wood beams, paper, fencing, wood siding, firewood, rotted lumber, and more. Foundation gaps should be sealed with caulk, as this is a great way for termites to enter your home. Leaks under sinks, foundation, or shower floor, in walls or basements, and almost anywhere attract these wood-destroying organisms. Cracks in the foundation or siding can also allow for rainwater to seep in and invite termites to feast on your home. Using downspouts and gutters to direct rainwater away from the house and keeping shrubs and trees trimmed away from the home discourage termites from entering the home.

Pet Safe Termite Treatment

Some concern exists about the safety of certain products used to kill termites. While the chemicals used could kill a pet, they would only do so in larger doses. The termite treatments typically used in homes are very small increments meant to kill the pests but nothing else. Most companies ask that you keep pets and people away from areas that have been treated until they are dry. Fish tanks should be covered to prevent the chemicals from floating into the water. Bait systems are buried in the ground, so unless a dog is allowed to dig and dig, he won’t find them. The only real concern for pets and people is gas or chemical fumigation. In this case, everyone has to leave the house.

The only type of termite treatment that is safe for animals is a heat treatment as it doesn’t contain chemicals. It isn’t something that the pet could be present for as the temperature is too high, but it allows for immediate occupancy of the home after treatment.

Termites Nesting in a Tree

Termite Prevention Cost

In some cases, you may be able to prevent termites from entering your home by applying a liquid termiticide to your home’s foundation. Termite prevention treatment costs run $3 to $16/linear foot in most cases or about $750 to $4,000 for most homes. In other cases, you can have it added to new construction and updated yearly at a much lower cost of approximately $200. This can help keep a colony from taking hold and prevent a lot of damage and repair costs.

Termite prevention by the homeowner is valuable as well. Store firewood away from your home and never directly on the soil. Repair all leaks immediately and do not allow standing water underneath sinks the refrigerator, garage, or other areas. Install gutters and downspouts and grade your property to avoid standing water near the foundation. Keep crawl space free of humidity. Do not plant large trees or shrubs too close to your home and keep branches cut back.

Termite Bond Cost

The average cost of a termite bond runs from $500 to $2,000. A termite bond is generally used to ensure a new home buyer that the property has been treated and inspected for termites. This is more expensive than a termite contract as it is a more in-depth treatment and guarantees that the termites will not return for one year. If termites do show up, the termite bond protects the homeowner as retreatment is free, and in some cases, the damage is covered.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Termite Treatment for Wood

As dry or wet wood is the main staple of food for termites, it is important to know how much it costs to treat wood. Dry wood costs around $400 to $2,000 to make a hole in the wood and inject termiticide. For damp wood, it is debatable as to whether the wood will be salvageable as once it is wet. It is hard to restore even without the termites. However, a small area could be covered by a micro-injection at $500 to $1,000.

Termite Monitoring Stations

A termite monitoring station is a small specialized container that penetrates the ground. To monitor, you place untreated wood in the container. Inspect the monitoring stations monthly to look for the presence of termites. If termites are present, you will then trade out the untreated wood for wood treated with a slow-acting termite growth inhibitor such as noviflumuron. The monitoring stations cost about $40 each. In addition, you need to buy the bait which costs on average $135 for a box of 6.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Termite Warranty Cost. Most companies offer a termite warranty that is included with the termite treatment plan. This is usually a one-year warranty and must be renewed annually.
  • Termite Reappearance. While a good treatment should last up to five years, termites can return in a couple of instances. If particularly large colonies live in your area (your yard), you will need to use monitoring stations to keep up to date with the termites. Another cause may be if the initial treatment was not a thorough coverage of the foundation. Termites are very aggressive and will do what it takes to find food in your house. It may be a good idea to have a retreatment after the first treatment to make sure every area was saturated.
  • Seasons and Infestation. Spring is the best time to detect an infestation. This is the time when termites swarm. You may see signs of wings or you may see the swarm, which is a key indicator.
  • Insurance. Insurance coverage does not cover termite-damage. Most homeowners policies will include a clause stating it specifically does not cover termite damage because they consider it preventable.
  • Location. Termites love warmer climates and high humidity. Remember, they need moisture to thrive. However, there is nowhere that is completely immune. In the US, the greatest risk of termite damage is still in the Southeast, from North Carolina to central Texas and south to the Gulf Coast and Florida, and in California. The plains are the least affected by termites.


  • Is termite protection worth it?

When you weigh out the costs of termite damage repair of often $3,000 or more, termite protection is worth every penny. Entire homes have been destroyed by these pests, and homeowners insurance does not cover it.

  • How much should a termite contract cost?

A termite contract costs $175 to $1,500 annually. This includes inspection, treatment, and monitoring for further infestation.

  • Do you need an exterminator for termites?

Yes, you should always hire a professional to deal with termites because the methods used may not be safe for DIY.

  • Are termites hard to get rid of?

Not necessarily. This depends on the colony size, type of termites, and where they are located, but most exterminators can eradicate the problem.

  • What is the fastest way to get rid of termites?

Heat treatments may be the fastest guaranteed way to treat the problem. It takes about 8 hours. A tent is used, but instead of gas or chemicals, hot air is used to kill the insects. The occupants can return to the home without the three to five day wait with other tenting alternatives.

  • How long does termite treatment take?

This depends on the type of treatment. It may take a few hours or several days, depending on the method used.

  • How often should I treat for termites?

This depends on the type of treatment, but most maintenance plans treat yearly. Once termites have infested your home, it is likely others may show up. Additionally, a termite plan is always a wise choice to protect your biggest investment.

  • Is termite treatment covered by insurance?

No, not normally. It is thought that termites can be prevented with good maintenance.

  • Can you treat your own house for termites?

There are some treatments marketed toward DIY for ridding your home of termites, but this is not generally recommended. The amount of chemicals needed is often not safe for people to apply on their own without the knowledge and safety techniques of professionals. In addition, you may not realize the extent of the problem or the proper method for dealing with the type of termites you have. Treating what you believe to be the problem, and not realizing that the colony may be larger than you first thought, may simply mean that you are delaying the inevitable and acquiring more damage at the same time.


Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
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glossary term picture Fence Post 1 Fence posts: A sturdy pole set securely in the ground, that is used to support a fence. Fence posts are placed at regular intervals, and the other parts of the fence are attached to them

Cost to hire a termite exterminator varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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Cost to hire a termite exterminator varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources