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Don’t Confuse Termites with Wood Rot

Both termites and wood rot can do extensive damage to your home. Knowing the difference between these two is crucial for defending your property. Various factors, including moisture, age, and environmental factors, cause both problems. Here, we’ll examine what termite damage is, how to differentiate it from wood rot, and what to do if you think your home may be infested with termites.

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Don't Confuse Termites with Wood Rot

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What’s termite’ damage?

Termite damage refers to the termites’ deterioration of wood and cellulose-based products. Termites are microscopic insects that feast on wood and cellulose-based items. They can inflict substantial harm on buildings, furniture, and other structures.

Termites establish colonies and can be classified into three different castes based on their roles. Workers find and consume wood, whereas soldiers protect the colony from intruders. The reproductive termites are in charge of reproducing and establishing new colonies. Termites can also be classified as subterranean, dry wood, and damp wood. The damp wood kind causes the most damage to structures.

Termites are undoubtedly the last thing a property owner wants to deal with. People are terrified of these pests. However, simply because you believe termites are to blame for wood damage in your home does not mean it’s the case. You don’t want to be treating for a termite infestation when it’s fungi responsible for the damage. The opposite is also true.

Termite damage vs. wood rot

Wood rot is degradation caused by fungi that eat the cellulose in wood. Wood-eating fungi grow and bloom in the presence of excessive moisture or water damage. The wood decays and becomes stringy and spongy in texture. It also tends to fall in hard, cube-like formations. Non-decayed wood fragments split into thin, long slivers.

However, termite-damaged wood features galleries and tunnels inside, even though it may look ordinary from the exterior. These tunnels result from termite activity as it chews through the wood, looking for soft sections.

In any case, it can be challenging to recognize these problems until the wood starts to crumble. Both wood rot and termite damage can cost a property owner a considerable sum in repairs. Recognizing the signs and being ready to act can save your structure from deterioration.

Signs of termite infestation

In California, termite season typically begins around April. That’s when multitudes of these wood-eating pests come out of their hiding places in search of new colonies and mates. In some cases, swarms also form in heated buildings throughout the winter.

As a property owner, you should be aware of early termite warning signals and seek a remedy before the problem worsens, leaving you with the need for a significant renovation project.

How can you tell if you have termites?

If you suspect you have a termite infestation, there are a few things you can look for. Here’s a look:

Mud Tubes

Termites, particularly subterranean termites, construct mud tubes to move between the ground and your home (their food source). If you discover mud tubes on your home’s foundation, it could indicate termites.

Discarded Wings

Termites shed their wings after swarming. Look for little, delicate wings on windowsills or flooring.


Termites multiply by swarming, and you might notice these little winged terrorists around your doors and windows in the spring.


Termites make droppings known as frass. It resembles sawdust and can be discovered near the affected region.

Stuck Doors or Windows

Has your door or window become more difficult to close or open recently? Or it may feel stuck. This is usually an early indication of termite infestation. These insects tend to attack exposed and easily accessible timber, such as door and window frames. As the insects chew through the window or door frames, the frames may bend, making it harder to close and open them smoothly.

Wood that sounds hollow

Termites consume wood from within, creating a hollow cavity. Tap on the wood to check for a hollow sound.

Structural damage

Aside from stuck doors and windows, termite damage can cause other structural issues in your house, such as collapsing baseboards or drooping floors and ceilings. However, structural issues may have other explanations, so look for the above termite signs before acting.

Paint or wallpaper damage

While feasting on wood paneling beneath wall surfaces, termites build tunnels and small exit holes. They sometimes accomplish this without affecting the surface’s wallpaper or paint coat on the surface. So unless you have a keen eye, you may not notice the damage. Look for discolored or peeling wallpaper, buckling timber, or small pinholes caused by termites.

What should you do if you suspect termite damage?

It’s crucial to remember that termite activity is only sometimes apparent, so it’s always a good idea to speak with an experienced inspector to verify the

presence of these insects in your home. A professional will be able to identify the type of termite and determine the extent of the damage.

Cost of a termite inspection

The price of a termite inspection varies according to the size of your home and the type of termite treatment, among other things. Most inspections range between $200 and $400.

Termite Treatment

Once a termite problem has been confirmed, the pest control expert will propose a treatment plan. There are many different ways in which termites can be removed from your property and surrounding areas. Of course, the type of treatment also affects the price. Most treatments are often billed by the linear foot and may require multiple visits to remove the pests altogether. The most common types of termite treatment are as follows:


Baiting involves strategically arranging bait points around the outer edge of your home. The termites are drawn to the substance in the bait stations. The substance is transmitted to other members when they feed on the bait, destroying the entire colony.

Liquid Treatments

Liquid treatments are poured on the soil around your property. The treatments are absorbed into the soil, keeping termites out of your house.


Fumigation entails closing off the damaged area and injecting a gas harmful to termites. Termite tent fumigation is an efficient approach to swiftly eliminating a massive infestation.

Heat Treatment 

Heat treatment is a common organic insect control technique. All organisms have thermal death points. In the case of termites, the professionals infuse dry heat into the wood, gradually raising the temperature until the core reaches a desired maximum. They maintain the temperature for about 2 hours to eradicate the insects completely.

The technique is also known as structural pasteurization. It’s a terrific choice if you’re immune-compromised, chemically sensitive, asthmatic, or simply worried about chemical treatments. You will not be required to leave your home.

Factors influencing termite treatment costs

If you suspect you have a termite infestation, the first step is to contact an exterminator. Following the inspection, you’ll get a better idea of how much termite treatment will cost. Some of the things that may influence your price quote include:

The size of your home

Exterminators will charge depending on the amount of ground they need to cover. Whole-house treatment can cost as much as $2000, with fumigation and tenting costing four times as much. On the other hand, more straightforward applications can cost between $200 and $900.

Treatment Types and Amount

Termites can be eliminated from your house and the surrounding environment in a variety of ways, and this will have an impact on pricing. Chemical methods are usually priced by the linear foot, with simple procedures starting at around $3 per linear foot and going up to $16 per linear foot.

You may require ongoing treatment to remove all termite colonies from your house. Likewise, bait methods require multiple visits and cost between $8 per linear foot and $12 per linear foot.

If the exterminator believes the situation is severe enough to warrant tenting and fumigation, the cost can reach as high as $2500. Thermal treatment is a more realistic option, but it can cost between $800 and $2,500.

The extent of the termite infestation

Once the presence of termites has been confirmed, the investigator will determine the infestation’s severity. Young colonies can have dozens to hundreds of termites, while mature colonies tend to have thousands or even millions. Large termite populations can rapidly damage your home and often require multiple treatments to eliminate them.

Moisture Elimination and Damage Repair

To ensure no further termite infestation, moisture elimination and damage repair may be necessary, raising the overall cost.

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Understanding the distinction between termite damage and wood rot is essential because the treatments are vastly different. If you suspect a termite infestation in your home, you should schedule a termite inspection with a registered pest control expert.

We are termite control professionals in California with over 33 years of experience in removing wood-destroying pests and organisms, as well as wood repair services. Ours is a licensed Branch 3 operation experienced in localized remedies and termite tent fumigation. Trust us to keep termites and other pests out of your house and property. Call us for a termite inspection, and we can identify the type of termite and recommend the best treatment.

Questions other Newport Beach homeowners have asked Termite Fumigation:

how to prepare for termite tenting

Please watch the video below to help you understand the process.  Feel free to call to schedule an appointment!

Questions other Newport Beach homeowners have asked Termite Fumigation:

How long does termite tenting last

Typically it will take three full days to kill all termites.  We will walk you through the process to ensure all safety steps are completed.  See your tent fumigation list.


To Kill 100% of Termites takes Termite Tenting!

As you may already know, Newport Beach homes need a periodic termite inspection. Gentry & Associates specializes in termite control in Newport Beach and surrounding cities. Feel free to look around to learn more about Termite Infestation prevention. Here at G&A, we are confident you will be well pleased with our courteous service. Fill out the form, and one of our courteous team members will call you to discuss setting up a free termite inspection. We look forward to assisting you!

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