Termites are nasty little bugs that eat and digest the wood structure homes are made out of in this country. The type termites we get in New Jersey are subterranean because they live in the soil. Termites in our area can not live alone. They live in colonies. Termites that become separated from the colony typically die.
When termites eat wood they must do so maintaining a moist environment. In order to due so they seal any holes that may allow air into the wood with what is commonly called mud, termite bodily fluids and solids. Although sometimes home owners will see mud tunnels the termites use to communicate from the ground up to wood often the termites find their way to the wood structure using the voids in masonry blocks, thus not mud is visible.
Termites due extensive damage to the wood structure that can be very difficult and very expensive to repair. In fact it is said they cause more dollar damage than all natural disasters combined.
To home owners and home buyers who have termite activity one of the main concerns must be how to find and repair all the damage. While home inspectors and wood destroying insect inspectors often find signs of termite activity being able to quantify the damage is much more difficult as termites often do damage to areas that are covered by finishes. Termite damages covered by finishes are excluded from the standard visual home inspections and wood destroying insect inspections ordered by home buyers. In order to determine the quantity of termite damage removal of finishes is necessary. Removing finishes in homes that you do not own or control is simply not possible. When termite damages are found it is vital the home buyer demand the home owner remove finishes in order to determine the cost and scope of work necessary to cure the problem.
Home buyers should never settle for the treatment of termites without removal of finishes and replacement of all damaged wood structure. A termite treatment can be $800 or so for an average house. Termite damage repair can be five, ten or even more times the treatment cost.
As a home buyer never settle for a treatment despite what others tell you. Demand all the finishes be removed and all damages be repaired in order to avoid major expenses that will fall 100% on you when you go to sell the home or when you discover the damages when renovating the home one day.