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Toronto has a termite problem? You bet. If you’re thinking of buying a house in Toronto or already own one, you need to consider termites. Here’s what you need to know:
- Termites moved into Toronto in 1938 and were first discovered at the harbour on Cherry Street. (They likely cruised over from the US.)
- Termites have moved into some of Toronto’s best neighbourhoods, including Leslieville, Little Italy and along the Danforth. As bidding wars have driven up downtown property prices, termites have expanded their homes to the suburbs. (now there’s a commute!)
- Damage caused by termites is NOT covered by most home insurance policies, so homeowners need to take pre-cautionary measures.
- Termites are usually found where there is wood to soil contact (for example, your garage), in damp basements and in badly constructed crawlspaces.
- Termites live in colonies and rarely expose themselves to open air, so you aren’t likely to spot a termite. They hide in mud tunnels, wood or soil and build their nests in the ground. They thrive in high moisture environments and build shelter tubes to provide transportation to food.
- It’s better to know you have termites than to bury your hand in the sand – and not just because that sand may have termites in it. There are a variety of treatment options out there – and the sooner you treat, the less permanent damage they can do.
- Treatment generally involves termiticide being injected 4 feet into the soil along all exterior walls, as well as treating the foundation walls and the interior basement floors and walls. Post treatment, you can buy a warranty that can usually be transferred to any future owners.
- If your neighbour is treating their Toronto house for termites, get ready for some unexpected guests – you’ll probably want to treat your house too (with apologies to your other next door neighbour who will now be their host).
If you are considering buying a home in a termite-affected area, you should consider doing a termite inspection prior to making an offer. To find out if the home you’ve fallen in love with is in a termite area, talk to your real estate agent or contact one of the termite treatment companies who will tell you if any houses have been treated in the area.