Whether you are buying, selling or living in a home, termites are likely something you will encounter. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that homeowners spend more than $2 billion annually on termite pest control and on repairs caused by termite damage. Termites also damage more than 600,000 homes annually here in the United States. Therefore, termite prevention and control are a critical part of home maintenance.
The first thing to remember is that termites do work slowly. Most termite colonies take 2-3 years to form. Therefore, if you do see evidence of termites, you have time to determine how you’re going to deal with them most effectively, and it’s not going to be an emergency situation. Generally speaking, termites become more active in times of moisture as they can’t move around without moisture. So here in Arizona, that time is typically after monsoon season has ended, and the temperatures have dropped—mid-September through December.
It’s critical that you have a termite inspection of your home at least once a year. In between the inspection times, be sure you personally walk around the exterior and interior of your home every few months to look for mud tubes (dry brown tubes the width of a pencil on the walls). If you do discover evidence of termites in the form of these tubes, it’s time to call a termite exterminator. This is a matter of opinion, but there’s an argument to be made that you should sign up for a termite service that will be around in the next several years so they can repeat the service if there are problems later on. Finding a warranty service that will warrant the service is very important.
Finally, take steps to prevent future termites. Preventing moisture from getting inside the walls of your home is critical. Therefore, keep your home’s foundation dry by preventing irrigation systems from dripping or leaking near your home’s structure. Keep attics well-ventilated and seal all openings into your home such as cracks and knotholes. Taking these simple steps will go a long way to prevent these omnipresent wood-loving bugs.