The Tragedy of Termites

by : Robert Nachman

There is a statement used locally, by Realtors and pest control companies alike, that there are basically three types of termites: termites you had; termites you have; and termites you're going to have. Unbeknown st to many North Scottsdale homeowners, there are scores of termite colonies, which have invaded, or are about to invade, their homes.... maybe YOUR home!

Let's take a look at some termite facts: 1)Locally, we have subterranean termites; they live in colonies underground, from which they build tunnels in search of food. They are dependent on moisture for survival, so they cannot live inside the wood frame of your home. They build mud tubes, primarily along foundation walls, from the ground up. 2)One in twenty homes are infested each year by termites. 3)Concrete foundations are not a deterrent. Termites only need a crack of 1/64 inch in the slab floor to invade your home. 4)On average, there could be as many as 13 to 14 termite colonies, 1 million in each colony, per acre of land. A typical home may easily have three to four colonies situated under or around it.

What can YOU do to reduce the risk of termite attack on your home? 1)Eliminate wood contact with the ground. Wood elements should be at least six inches above ground level. Make sure the soil around your home is graded properly, away from the foundation. 2)Don't allow moisture to accumulate near the foundation. Divert water away from the foundation. Check faucets, water pipes and air conditioning units for leakage and repair immediately. 3) Do not store firewood, lumber or other wood debris against the foundation or within any crawl spaces. These materials attract termites and are a source of food. 3)Do not store cardboard / corrugated boxes on the floor of your garage. Probably one of the most common things we are all "guilty" of, these boxes provide tasty havens for scores of termites. If necessary, construct shelving in your garage to store your boxes and cartons.

If you had a home built, which was landscaped after you moved in and was never re-treated, the chemical barrier was probably broken, and the home is very vulnerable to termite infestation. The best advice is to consider having your home treated by a professional pest control firm, such as Burns, Orkin, Terminix, etc. Although you can take certain action to make your home less attractive to termites, the best way to prevent infestation is to treat the soil around and beneath the building with a termiticide.

Preventively treating a home for termites is a reasonable investment, especially if the structure has had no prior history of treatment. If a pest control firm previously treated the building, it's a good idea to maintain the warranty by paying the annual renewal fee. Should termites re infest the building (which is a definite possibility), the company will return and re-treat the affected area at no charge.

As the adage goes, "An ounce of prevention... may protect YOUR home from termites!