Submitted by Mike Hunger, NPI Franchise Owner, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Last weekend my grandson was out in the garage playing with his friends when he came rushing in to tell me “Opa, there are bugs flying all over the garage.” I had an idea that it was flying ants because I had seen some about a week earlier and had made sure that they were indeed ants, not termites.
A little later, I decided to go out to the garage and take a look at the little critters to make sure my assumption was true. Well, the verdict was not good. Under a magnifying glass, it was apparent that they were termites.
Because I inspect houses almost daily, I am well aware of the damage termites can do, so I spend a little time under my own house several times a year. My last visit was only a couple of months ago, so I was surprised to see termites in the garage. I had never seen any evidence of activity during my previous visits under the house.
So, I put on my gear and went under. To my surprise, I found no evidence of them anywhere in the structure. No tubes coming up the foundation wall, no wood destruction, no tubes on the framing, sill plates, etc. I’m perplexed. I treated the area with carpenter ant and termite killer, and crawled back out.
Upon returning to the garage, I moved the refrigerator, freezer, and storage cabinets to see if I could find the source. Finally, I saw where they were emerging — behind the refrigerator and in the gap between the foundation wall and the garage floor. There was about 3 feet of dirt tubing. I immediately opened the tubing, destroying as much as I could, and doused the area with the termite killer. All activity ceased.
Thinking back on the experience, I consider myself fortunate because I am able to inspect the area under my house. I have also done this for some of my neighbors. But there are many who may not have the time, ability or desire to visit the area under their house. Someone should go under there; there’s a lot of things that can go wrong.
For information about termite inspections, contact your local NPI or GPI home inspector. In the United States, visit http://npiweb.com/FindAnInspector/tabid/80/Default.aspx; in Canada, visit http://gpiweb.ca/FindAnInspector/tabid/157/Default.aspx