Your home should be a sanctuary where you and your family can make lasting memories and feel safe and secure — not a 24/7 buffet for bugs.

Unfortunately, Chicagoland’s wild winters offer little protection against tenacious pests, with the area ranking 13th on Orkin’s 2023 list of the most termite-infested cities in the US, just behind other cold weather communities such as Washington, DC and New York. 

Even the most luxurious, well-kept, or newly constructed homes may have a serious insect problem lurking beneath the surface. Here at Windy City Home Inspection, our experienced team is dedicated to ensuring homebuyers and current owners have the necessary knowledge to make the most informed decisions.

Buying a house is a big investment, and one of the most essential steps in your purchasing process is scheduling a termite and pest inspection. Let’s explore what they entail and why they’re a must-have for protecting your interests.

Hidden Threats

Humans have been battling insects for millennia, especially since we started building warm and comfortable abodes. No matter how clean your home is, bugs of some sort are present in almost every room, according to research by the California Academy of Sciences.

The National Pest Management Association states that ants are a major nuisance in US households, and carpenter ants can cause serious damage to structures as they excavate wood to build their nests.

As a busy urban center and popular tourist destination, Chicagoland is no stranger to the menace of bedbugs. These hematophagous creatures cling to personal items like purses, luggage, and bags, and once they take root in your home, they are very difficult to eradicate. 

Cockroaches are an ever-present menace and are known to transfer certain disease pathogens, such as the various bacteria that produce food poisoning in humans, by contaminating food, counter surfaces, and dishes.

But the biggest issue for potential homeowners is the various varieties of termites that thrive in the Upper Midwest. While termites may be more commonly associated with warmer climates, they’re definitely present throughout Illinois, including Chicago. 

Here are the three main types that are active in this region:

These pests live in socially advanced colonies and swarm regularly in spring to find sustenance and new nest locations, and the Chicagoland area is prime real estate for their insidious activity.

Signs & Symptoms

Unlike a plumbing disaster or appliance malfunction, termite infestations often go unnoticed until significant harm occurs, which could affect the structural integrity of your home. By the time you spot the telltale signs, the termites may have already caused a great deal of expensive damage. That’s why a thorough inspection is so critical. 

Learning the red flags of termite damage can significantly help reduce your long-term costs. Windy City’s expert inspectors will evaluate the interior and exterior of the property for these harbingers of pest and termite infestation:

  • Stiff windows and doors (also a sign of too much moisture in your home)
  • Peeling or bubbling paint
  • Buckling floorboards or loose tiles
  • Droopy drywall
  • Crumbling or damaged wood

Including an inspection contingency clause in your purchase agreement allows you to address any termite-related issues before finalizing the sale. Even if the seller has provided a recent inspection report, it’s still advisable to hire your own team, especially if you’re buying one of Chicagoland’s many historic homes

If your inspector finds evidence of termites, don’t panic! Early detection is key. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the problem but typically involve professional extermination methods.

Partnering for Peace of Mind

A professional termite inspection typically involves a thorough examination of the building’s interior and exterior, including crawl spaces, attics, and other hard-to-reach areas where termites and other bugs may be lurking. 

Our highly trained techs look for signs of insect activity, and provide you with a detailed report outlining any areas of concern, as well as recommendations for further action if termites are detected. This may include targeted treatment or preventative measures to protect your new home from future infestations.

Not all home inspection companies are created equal, and it’s essential to choose a reputable, experienced firm like Windy City to ensure a thorough and accurate assessment before you sign on the dotted line. Protect your homeownership dreams — schedule your inspection today!