PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- It's spring training, spring break, and apparently, it's the perfect season for termites. Warmer temps bring out the critters. And even though every season is termite season in Arizona, people start noticing these pests more right around spring training and baseball season. There's a reason for it!
March through November are the hottest months, and that can really bring these little guys out. Also, when temperatures warm, reproductive termites swarm from an existing colony to create a new one in a different location.
These signature swarms are often the first time a homeowner becomes aware of a potential infestation.
“Many homeowners believe that termites don’t exist simply because they can’t see them, however this is not the case as termites are most often present in a home well before they start to swarm,” says Arrow pest expert Charlie Jones. "Once a termite infestation begins, the damage can occur very quickly,” he adds.
To make sure you're not giving these little guys a gourmet feast at your house, we joined Dan Mengelkamp and Arrow Exterminators, a Phoenix pest and termite control company, in a north Phoenix home for a routine termite inspection. He explains that the first step as a homeowner is being proactive and learning what you can about this destructive pest. "Termites are among the most devastating intruders a homeowner could ever face," he tells us.
"Every year, they invade millions of homes, causing billions of dollars in property damage." Then, he hits us with the startling fact that, "termites do more damage to homes than fires and storms combined." And, just when you think you've heard the worst, there's more. "The damage is rarely covered by homeowner’s insurance," he explains. "Termite damage is considered preventable through proper home maintenance and termite protection."
There are early warning signs to watch out for, he says, and homeowners should pay close attention.
"If you begin to notice thin, papery wings near or on window sills and floors, it could be a sign of a termite infestation." He also says to look for mud tubes on the outside of your home and on the walls. "Mud tubes are built by termites to connect them from the soil to their food source." Distorted, "bubbled" or cracked paint can also be an indicator. He also says to check for hollow-sounding wood around your property, that could be a sign as well, along with "frass" or termite droppings, which is a sign of dry wood termites. And if you must get a closer look, the droppings will have a hard, gritty feel to them.
To prevent a termite infestation this spring, Arrow Exterminators offers these eight tips:
1. Eliminate moisture around foundations. Divert water from the house by using proper downspouts and gutters because termites are attracted to moisture.
2. Do not stack firewood or lumber near the home. Termites can burrow into the woodpile and then right into the home.
3. Remove old tree stumps in the yard.
4. Keep tree branches and shrubbery well-trimmed and away from the house. This will also help with inspections and finding termite infestations.
5. Avoid excess piles of mulch since this is a favorite food source for termites.
6. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation.
7. Have your home inspected annually by a licensed pest professional who specializes in termite control.
8. If you have termite protection, it is important to maintain your coverage and renew annually.
If you do suspect a termite issue, or for more info: