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Termite damage causes billions of dollars every year. In New Orleans and Galveston, commercial buildings and residential homes are destroyed by termite damage from Formosan termite infestations.
Termite damage can be ongoing and in the case of Formosan termites, the damage can be catastrophic. There are reports of Formosan termites causing damage severe enough to destroy a house in (6) SIX MONTHS!
Most termite damage you find will be subterranean termite damage which, if it does not include Formosan termite activity, will be much slower and not as extensive. Still, even “normal” subterranean termite damage can be extremely expensive.
In 2014, I settled a termite damage case involving damages estimated at $75,000. I have represented home owners from Houston, Beaumont, Galveston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Plano, Fort Worth and other places and recovered over $3,000,000 for homeowners in those termite damage cases.
If the house you just bought has live termites or what is known in the pest control industry as an active infestation, then the odds are pretty strong that you didnt buy the home knowing or believing you had a problem. So how did this happen to you? Were you deceived, mislead or given false information by your inspector? Its possible.
There are several factors involved. First, how substantial is the infestation? If there is considerable damage and the pests have been present for more than a couple of years, then the easy answer is that your inspector probably could have and should have found evidence of the infestation.
If the activity is more recent and there are no signs of previous infestation or treatment by the preceding homeowner, then you may be the unfortunate victim of nature and bad timing. However, that is rarely the case. As a defense attorney for dozens of pest control companies, I have seen first hand how poorly inspections are performed.
It became obvious that in the vast majority of inspections, if the termites didnt come out from behind the walls and introduce themselves, the inspector wouldnt find them.
HOW BAD ARE THEY? SHOULD I BE SCARED?
Well you shouldn’t be scared of the actual termites – they are harmless to you. They only eat cellulose and more importantly, they are cryptobiotic, meaning they do not want to be in the open air, light or around movement. They don’t want to be around you anymore than you want to be around them.
What they do and can do to your house is something to take very seriously. Subterranean termites can and will cause tremendous economic damage to the wood and other cellulose in your house if untreated or if they are not treated effectively. That is why no one will or can know how bad the damage is until they open the wall voids and reveal what has been going on behind the walls where the termites work.
Most of the time, the only way to know completely how much damage the termites have caused, you have to remove all of the sheetrock in the house. You don’t have to do that, but if you do, you can eliminate all of the questions about what has been done.
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