Subterranean termites live in nests underground and emerge only to forage for wood or wood based foods. They are very small, but very destructive. They require moisture to survive and they are only attracted to wood, cardboard or paper that has a 19% or higher moisture content. They do not “live” in the wood as other varieties of termites do, but form “mud” or shelter tubes on the walls or ceilings inside or outside the home to shelter them from the outside air and heat of the sun as they travel from underground where they live, to above ground where they eat. They must return to the underground nest roughly every day.
The fact that they live underground is both bad and good: it makes them hard to detect until they have done damage however, because they return to the ground frequently it also makes it possible to expose them to termiticides applied or injected into the earth, thus killing them and the nest. Once termites have been discovered, remedial action can be very effective.
Pretreat the Soil Beneath the Building Foundation
The most effective measure against termites is pretreating the soil that will be under the footprint or the concrete slab of the building. This measure annihilates any termites present in the soil on contact and also creates an invisible barrier that prevents them from sneaking through cracks that develop in the slab as the home settles. Every builder in Arizona now pretreats the soil under their buildings; a practice in place since the 1960s. However, that barrier degrades over time, typically lasting for about 5 to 8 years.
Treat the Perimeter Every Couple of Years
Since the soil under the home was rendered a termite free area from the outset, it is important to conduct periodic perimeter treatments around the exterior of the building preventing any future infestations. This “booster” measure should be undertaken every few years at most. This measure is a critical in preventing future infestations. Many providers offer these services with a warranty that covers any intermittent treatments and remediation should any termites slip through. These warranties vary in price starting around $300 up to $1000 and are usually based on the period of coverage, e.g. from 1 to 5 years.
Find Out the Termite Treatment History of An Arizona Property
For more information, please visit the Arizona Department of Agriculture Office of Pest Management (OPM) website. (http://opm.azda.gov/) Among other things, you can find information on inspection and treatment history for any house in Arizona as well as license and other information on service providers related to the pest management industry.
Has It Been a While? Get a Termite Inspection
We are state certified and we perform termite inspections free of charge with every contracted home inspection and include the State WDIIR (Wood Destroying Insect Inspection Report) form with every report. We also check for moisture-related problems like dry-rot, poor drainage situations around the home and on the roof and we cite potential problem areas, all based on our extensive experience in the construction and home and termite inspection fields. Learn more about our home inspection services in the Greater Phoenix area.