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Worried about termites in Phoenix? You should be!

There’s an old saying in the southwest, “there are two types of homes in Arizona, those that have termites and those that will get them.” Here in the desert, one of our greatest nemeses is the termite. Even though these nasty little critters can seem invisible, there are clues to their active existence in your home. The most common include:

- Shelter tubes - these are small passageways created out of soil. Termites use these as safe passages from one food source to another. You will generally see them along your home’s foundation, running from the ground upward toward the wall material. You may also find tubes in the garage, entering from where the concrete floor meets the foundation wall.

- Termite mounds – these look like small mounds of tiny wood and black pellets around or just under an entry point. Here in the desert, these mounds ae generally fairly small in size and can be easily missed. Use a high-powered flashlight to check the corners around your home. Keep a close eye on outdoor or patio areas where wood and wood furniture come in contact with the ground.

- Discarded wings – this may be less common, but may be visible if a colony has matured. After termites take flight to start a new colony, they will shed their wings. Check for signs along window sills or other flat surfaces.

Left undetected, termites can cause severe damage and cost thousands to mitigate. Including a simple termite inspection to your annual home maintenance routine can save you a major headache.

Subterranean termites live underground and won’t be visible out in the open. Using a high-powered flash light, walk around the exterior of your home and inspect the foundation and roof eaves for shelter tubes. Take your time and check all areas where the ground is in contact with wood or the home’s siding. Areas to pay close attention to include:

- Wood to ground contact is a good place to start looking for termites. Check if fences are touching your structure. Termites can get into your fence and come right over to your home, by-passing liquid or bait termite treatments.

- Make sure any firewood is stacked a good 30 feet away from your house.

- Wood mulch is good termite food. If you have wood mulch in your flower beds, next to your foundation wall, replace the mulch with another type of ground cover.

- Check all areas where wood is touching your home and the ground. This includes: wood steps, crawl door frame, porch posts, wooden decks, stiff knee supports, etc. Wood-to-ground contacts should be removed or broken by insulating the wood on the ground with a concrete footing. Wood contact should be insulated at 6 inches from the soil.

- Look for damaged baseboard, window and door trim. Look for dirt filled holes in sheet rock.

Go into the kitchen, laundry, utility area and bathrooms and check under the sink area for shelter tubes entering around pipes and wiring. Check bath traps or inside whirlpool tub access panels. Open the bath trap door and look inside. Use a good flashlight and see if there are any shelter tubes coming in around the pipes.

Soundness of wood where in contact with the ground can be check by lightly tapping or probing with a screwdriver. If hollow wood is found, and it is the result of a termite infestation, the soft grain portions of the wood will be eaten away leaving the hard grain sections visible.

In summary, there are many visual clues of an active termite infestation and they may vary from one home to another. AmeriSpec offers great deals on a 400+ point home inspection and this can include a thorough termite inspection. Contact AmeriSpec Inspection Services at (480) 518-3589 to schedule an inspection. Close monitoring can help you avoid any unnecessary losses.

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