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Questions & Answers

Topical Guide of the FAQ

Termites FAQ

Spiders FAQ

Bedbugs FAQ

Ants FAQ

Questions about Termites:

Q: My home has been treated for termites. Am I safe from an infestation?

A: Homes that have had termites are likely to have them again. The chemicals used to kill termites, termiticides, in use 30 or more years ago were extremely persistent in the soil. Treatments would last a minimum of 5 years and often last more than 20 years. Termiticides were injected in to the ground to form chemical barriers between the home and the termite colony. Re-infestations occurred when termites located a break or gap in the barrier. Once discovered, that opening can become an exploited highway for the colony, allowing them to spread throughout the home.


Q: How can I be sure I don’t have termites?

A: University Termite and Pest Control offers free termite inspections.


Q: What can case a break in the barriers originally established through past treatment to keep termites out?

A: These breaks and barriers can be caused a number of ways.

  • During the earlier treatment, chemical may have been concentrated in low or more porous areas in the soil.
  • Stones and other debris may have diverted chemical during application.
  • Construction activities, shifting water tables, leaching of chemical, soil compression and pest activity in the soil can cause breaches in the chemical barrier that can be utilized by foraging termites.


Q: What if I don’t think I have termites, and have never had an inspection?

A: It is beneficial to you a homeowner to have your home inspected for several reasons:

  1. If your home is infected, it can be treated and you have the assurance that your home is protected from termites.
  2. If you home is not infected, you can prove you have taken necessary precautions to protect your investment—for your neighbors benefit and in the event you decide to sell your home in the future.


Q: How are termites beneficial in any way?

A: Termites play an important role in the Arizona desert. Organic material breaks down very slowly, especially wood and woody weeds. A fallen Saguaro cactus can take decades to decompose. Without termites, the desert would quickly become cluttered and at risk for fire. It is for this reason that Southern Arizona has high populations of subterranean termites. In fact, the desert just to the South of Tucson serves as one of EPA’s test sites when they are trying to determine the effectiveness of new termiticides in development.


Questions About Spiders

Q: Are all spiders poisonous?

A: You may be surprised to know that ALL spiders can bite and ALL spiders are venomous. It is the venom that allows them to subdue prey that is larger and stronger than they are. Spiders do not eat solid food and many of the spiders have strong enzymes in their venom that literally liquefy and pre-digest flesh. The Brown Spiders (including the Brown Recluse) fall into this category. The damage caused by a single bite can have crippling effects on humans. The other type of spider venom is neurotoxin as found in Black Widow spiders. These poisons can cause severe pain at the site of the bite, and can cause paralysis and serious systemic reactions. Many spiders have a combination of these venoms, but most are in doses low enough not to cause serious injury. It is when spiders have to defend themselves because someone has stepped on them, trapped them between an arm and a body, or rolled over onto them in their sleep that problems arise.


Q: What can I do about spiders?

A: The best solution is to keep spiders out of the home by eliminating their food. When cockroaches, crickets, moths and flies are controlled, spiders are rarely a problem. Your University Termite and Pest Control technician is trained to look for conditions that might attract spiders or their prey. Be sure to follow his recommendations to reduce spiders in your home.


Q: I heard some spiders are good. Is that true?

A: Most spiders are harmless and all are beneficial because they help keep down the insect population. A number of spiders camouflage themselves to resemble plant parts or ants to allow themselves to get close enough to seize unsuspecting insects. Some spiders are active hunters, chasing down food or jumping on it.


Q: Are spiders insects?

A: Spiders are not insects; they are arachnids, having 8 legs and only 2 body sections (abdomen & “cephelothorax”). All spiders can spin silk fibers, though some build no webs at all. The silk may be used for wrapping prey (spiders are carnivorous), lining burrows, travel, or in the case of the trap door spider, as a hinge. Spiders spin webs to trap or filter insect prey from the air, or ensnare passing insects as they attempt to walk over the web. Other spiders will dart out of silken tubes at passing victims or may create camouflaged blinds from which to pounce. Outdoors, spiders are fascinating and important parts of the environment. It is when they come indoors that they become a problem.


Questions about Bedbugs

Q: We are renting and [our property owner] does not do much for repairs or keeping up the house. They never hire a pest control person to come and spray or anything else, so I think we are infested with bed bugs. What do they look like, and how can I get rid of them? We are constantly itching. I think they are all over the home.

M.G., Tucson

A: Thank you for contacting University Termite and Pest Control. I’ve included a good picture of an adult bed bug for reference. BedBugs

Some indicators of a bed bug infestation may include:

  • Itchy or painful welts on your body, often in a line
  • Small blood smears on bedding from crushed insects
  • Tiny dark spots on your sheets, mattress or box spring from fecal matter
  • Dried remains of molted bed bug skins

Be aware that other insects, such as fleas, ticks and mosquitoes can leave bites that look like bed bug bites. Bites alone do not prove you have a bed bug infestation.

While fecal stains and molted skins can suggest the presence of bedbugs, they do not confirm the presence of an *active* infestation. The only way to be of certain of a bed bug infestation is to positively identify a live specimen.

If you suspect you have bed bugs, you will need to conduct a thorough search of your home, using the above indicators. Bed bugs hide in mattresses, box springs and behind headboards. They also hide inside, under and behind furniture and in small cracks or corners in furniture, floors or walls or even in carpeting—anywhere close to where they feed at night.

Newly hatched bed bugs are about the size of a poppy seed, pale yellow in color and are difficult to see. Once they have fed, they become larger and are red or brown in color, which makes them easier to see. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed.

If a positive identification is made, the most effective control strategy begins with thorough inspection by a pest control professional of all known and suspected hiding spots. Bed bugs can be difficult to control, often requiring multiple pesticide applications. A do-it-yourself approach is not likely to be effective. In fact, desperate DIY remedial measures can lead to serious and dangerous misuse of chemicals and could drive the insects deeper into cracks and hard-to-reach areas. Let us give you some peace of mind with our free inspection! Contact us today for further help at 520-886-4146.

Questions about Ants

Q: What’s the number one pest in urban areas?

A: Ants

The average person clumps all of the ants together into one group, and to the untrained and unassisted eye, all ants look alike, only varying in color and size. Surprisingly, a single ant species may have worker ants in several different sizes, with color variations from one population to the next. In fact, the group “ants” actually refers to 80,000 known species, with eleven groups containing hundreds of species occurring in the US. Over 40 different species are known to infest or forage within homes and other manmade structures. These species vary widely in their biology, habits and food preferences making ants one of the most complicated and frustrating pests confronted by urban America on a daily basis.


Q: How have the many different kinds of ants become so prevalent across the U.S.?

A: Ants are hitchhikers. Hitchhiking in the possessions of baby boomers as they moved back and forth across the country from rural to urban areas and then back again provided a free ride, allowing ants to populate areas they would not normally inhabit.


Q: Why does it seem that ants are so difficult to get rid of?

A: The most common reason for failure of an ant control program is misidentification of the target species. This seems to be especially true in the case of pharaoh ants in multi-unit housing complexes. Identification must be made before a single pesticide application is performed. Another reason for program failure is not thinking in three dimensions about the movement of the ants. Maps and charts are necessary to get the whole picture when considering the ant population. Underestimating the range of the foraging workers can lead to service complications, as can failing to adequately maintain a supply of toxicant. If a bait station is allowed to “run dry,” the foraging workers will immediately seek out an alternate source of nourishment. Bait preferences can change seasonally or sometimes suddenly for no apparent reason.


For more information please call (520) 886-4146.