The treatment and cost for eradicating termites depends entirely upon the type of termites in your home. There are two types of termites that will invade a home here in California.
The first common type of termite is a subterranean termite, and these live in the soil approximately 3-4 feet from the home. They come into the home under the foundation or up between the stucco and the concrete foundation, and leave tell-tale signs of invasion called "mud tubes". To treat subterranean termites, the inspector will remove the tubes (the pests "avenue" into your home) and then drill down around the foundation about every 14-18 inches, and inject an organic pesticide into the holes. The holes are then filled, and the site is monitored by a process that places "wood bait" around the home to check for reinfestation.
The second type of termite is the drywood termite. Drywood termites swarm between August and September each year, and will invade the home or be attracted to a property by decaying wood. This is why it's so important to remove dryrot around the home. Drywood termites can leave fecal pellets around window sills and floor boards to indicate their presence, but according to UC Berkeley entemologists (bug specialists), termites may live in your home for as long as five (5) years before evidence of their presence can be seen inside the home. To treat drywood termite infestations, you can treat a part of the home with a localized treatment (Orange Oil, microwaves, liquid nitrogen, and electro-gun) if the problem is localized, or with a fumigant called Vikane, which is pumped into a tented home and allowed to sit for 48 hours. The same UC Berkeley scientists tested all of the current methods of treatment (except orange oil) and found that Vikane fumigant was the most successful.
Costs for all of the treatments noted above depends on the type of termite, the size of your home, whether the treatment is local or for the entire house, or includes repairs to remove dryrot. Localized treatments can be as little as several hundred dollars, and a whole house fumigation may be as much as $1500 or more. Talk with a specialist in your area to learn what must be done to the home and how much it will cost. By the way, I also did a radio show with my pest control expert, Derek Dwight from Coastal Termite that you might find interesting and informative. Check it out at http://www.blogtalkradio.com, Naked Real Estate for September 2009. If you have any other questions, let us know!
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA
Co-Host: "Naked Real Estate" on http://www.blogtalkradio.com