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Every home in Tucson has had, has or will have termites.


You Have Had Termites.


Homes that have had termites are likely to have them again. Termite colonies can have an extremely long lifespan. It is not unheard of for a home to house a continuous infestation of Subterranean Termites for 50 years or more. Though the termite queen can live long for an insect, the presence of solider termites (Secondary Supplemental Reproductives) can allow an undisturbed colony to go on in virtual perpetuity.


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. 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.


Once discovered, that opening can become an exploited highway for the colony, allowing them to spread throughout the home.


You Have Termites Now.


Today’s Termite infestation should be addressed. Termites rarely just go away! They nearly always persist and the damage mounts as the colony grows and becomes ever more invasive.  Those termites may be from an older colony, a previously treated infestation, which has found a breach in a previously installed chemical barrier.  It may be that the chemicals used to establish the barrier have weakened over time to the extent that they are no longer effective.


This can be diagnosed by a trained termite control professional, who can prescribe the appropriate corrective actions. This will always include a comprehensive visual inspection of the home to locate probable entry points. Conditions conducive to attracting termites will also be identified. This may include areas of excessive moisture, wood, construction material or other cellulose containing materials that are in direct contact with the soil or improper grading of the soil.  The inspector will also diagram the home so that accurate records of his findings could be made. (This is important, especially if you decide to sell your home.) If this is a new infestation of a home that has never been treated, the inspector will also create these records. Termite control professionals can install or restore the barrier, repelling, eliminating or preventing the colony from invading the home and doing further damage.


You Will Have Termites.


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.


Termite colonies can be large too. An individual colony, with its’ network of underground chambers and tunnels can span a half acre.  The same colony can come in contact with 4 or more homes.  If a neighbor treats for termites, it can increase the activity in surrounding homes.  For this reason, the soil under homes being constructed is pre-treated to prevent future infestations.  Existing homes can be protected with termite treatments and warranties with annual inspections to prevent termite infestation.


Conditions conducive to infestation can also be addressed and remedied to reduce the “termite pressure” on a home. By understanding termites and accepting them as part of the desert we live in, we can put them in perspective and prevent them from encroaching in to our lives and living spaces.


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

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