I’m not going to sugarcoat it. We have termites in Arizona.
Pretty creepy right?
But do we really have to worry about our homes being turned to dust like some cartoon? No. There are so many things you can do to actively protect your home from termites. By end of this post you’ll have 10 action items for your current or future Arizona home that will have termites looking for somewhere else to live.
If this is your first time here, welcome! If you’ve been here before, thank you so much for spending your time with me. My name is Lindsay and I‘m a proud Anthem resident and your local REALTOR® with the Wise Move AZ Team at Realty ONE Group. On our blog and our YouTube channel we have a lot of fun talking about all things Anthem and real estate every single Thursday, and we absolutely love having you along for the ride.
Wood Destroying Insects in Arizona
Here in Anthem we’re most likely to encounter subterranean termites. That being said, in Arizona when it comes to wood-destroying insects we also have:
- Drywood termites
- Dampwood termites
- Wood-destroying beetles
- Carpenter ants
Gross, I know.
Before moving to Arizona I had no experience with termites whatsoever. When I learned that Arizona had termites I honestly pictured things like we saw in cartoons or giant termite mounds in Africa. Turns out, it’s nothing like that. So, that’s good!
Protecting your Home from Termites in Arizona
Subterranean termites are a very treatable pest. It’s really just a fact of life here and once you learn how to monitor your home for signs of termite activity, you’re in great shape. So, let’s jump in and talk about 10 things you can do to keep your Arizona home safe.
#1: Get a Wood-Destroying Insect Inspection
You may also hear a wood-destroying insect inspection referred to as a termite inspection because, well, that rolls off the tongue a lot easier. I want you to get a wood-destroying insect inspection before purchasing a home in Arizona, EVERY TIME. You’re going to want to do this during your inspection period. If you want more information about common home inspection findings in Anthem, Arizona, click here.
The company we typically use charges about $55 for a termite inspection and it’s worth every penny for the peace of mind. The inspector will deliver their results on a standardized report put together by the Arizona Department of Agriculture. It’s fairly easy to read, so just take some time to go through it and make sure you understand everything in the report.
Even if you don’t actively have termites or other wood-destroying insects, the report may highlight conditions that are conducive to getting them in the future. You can ask the Seller to remove active wood-destroying insect colonies, repair any damage, and rectify any conditions conducive to infestation. We released another video that may be helpful on reasonable requests after a home inspection, so I’ll link to that here, in case you want to check it out.
Anyways, all of this is a long way of saying that I really want you to start with a clean slate when you purchase your home. Have the inspection done and work to get any infestations remedied as soon as possible, either by the Seller before closing or by you right after closing.
#2: Keep an Active Termite Warranty
If the home you’re hoping to buy has an active infestation, I recommend that you ask the Seller to remedy it and to provide a one-year transferable termite warranty. This will protect you in the event that the infestation is not properly treated or if the home is infested again over the course of that year.
Don’t Forget to Renew
I also recommend that you renew this warranty EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Termite infestations can be expensive to remedy, but if you keep a warranty in place the pest control company will take care of it, usually at no additional charge. It’s important to read your warranty documents to make sure you understand the coverage.
When we were buying our house, the inspection showed that it did in fact have active termites. The Seller agreed to treat them and provide a one year warranty. Our termite warranty costs $125 each year to renew. In order to renew our warranty they come out and do a physical inspection of the whole house, and then assuming there are no active infestations we are good to go for another year! Thankfully we haven’t had any infestations since we purchased the home.
#3: Trim Vegetation
There are a number of conditions that can encourage termites to make themselves at home… in your home, which is exactly what we want to avoid. Over the next few tips I am going to walk you through getting rid of these conditions, which will greatly reduce your risk of getting an infestation. Any trees, plants, or shrubs that are touching the exterior of your home need to be dealt with. You need to trim them away from the home, or if that’s not possible you may need to remove those plants.
#4: Remove Wood to Earth Contact
This one is similar to the previous, but take a walk around your home. If there is anywhere that wood is contacting the exterior of your home, it needs to be removed. This may include a wooden fence abutting the structure, a wooden porch, or even a trellis. Make changes to remove these contact points. Additionally, if you have any wood, sawdust, or paper in your yard, please remove it.
#5: Check the Lot Grade
While you’re walking around your property looking for wood to earth contact points, I also want you to take a look at the grading of your lot. Think about the last time it rained. Was the water draining away from your property quickly? Did you have water pooling anywhere? The key is that you don’t want the lot grading to be such that it is draining water towards the house.
The termites would be thrilled to have a consistent supply of water keeping the home damp. Make sure that water is draining efficiently and properly away from your home. In addition to drainage you want to make sure that there’s no wood siding below grade. This isn’t something we really need to worry about in Anthem, since our exteriors are stucco and stone, but in other parts of the valley it’s an important consideration.
#6: No Excessive Moisture
Dampness and a continuous supply of moisture is a dream come true for our termites. You need to make sure that you don’t have any excessive moisture on your property. This could include things like:
- Standing water
- Sprinklers hitting the structure
- Leaking Water both inside and outside the home
If you have evidence of water damage or water stains, I want you to do a little investigating. Is whatever caused the damage or stain still actively leaking? If so, it needs to be repaired as soon as possible. Water damage and stains can turn up almost anywhere but they’re commonly found in the bathrooms, kitchen, plumbing connections, and roof.
#7: Consider Inaccessible Areas
It’s impossible to see all the areas of your home. Nobody wants to go ripping into their walls every year looking for termites, and sometimes it can be difficult to see behind furniture. Be aware of the areas you can’t see and talk to your pest control company about what they recommend.
#8: Seal your Home
Make sure that your home is properly sealed. This includes the obvious openings like windows and doors, but it also includes cracks in the side of the home, ventilation connections and so on. What’s that saying? Do your best and silicon the rest? That’s probably not a bad rule of thumb here. You want your home to be as well sealed as possible. The better the seal the harder it is for termites to get in.
#9: Conduct Visual Inspections
Now that you know more about the conditions conducive to termite infestations I want you to walk your property once a month and make sure that nothing new has popped up. Trees grow back and leaks happen. It’s important to monitor and address these things regularly as a homeowner. Additionally, I want you to look for evidence of termites. Subterranean termites are known to make mud tubes on the exterior and interior of the home.
It’s best to walk the whole property inside and out with a flashlight. You need to look up, where the ceiling meets the wall and down where the floor meets the wall. Don’t forget to look in all the dark and scary corners of your home too. If you spot anything that looks like a termite tube or other evidence of an infestation call your pest control company. Assuming you have a warranty in place they should be able to come and treat it at no extra charge.
#10: Don’t Panic
In Arizona we like to joke around and say that there are two kinds of houses, those that have had termites, and those that will have termites. If you live in Arizona long enough you’re bound to have an encounter with termites. It’s nothing to panic about or lose any sleep over. If you follow the steps in this video you’ll be in great shape to deal with any issues as soon as they arise.
So, there you have it! What do you think? Are you ready to keep your home termite free? Were there any tips on this list that surprised you or that you might not have otherwise thought about?
Other Pests to Avoid in Arizona
Lastly, there are a few other creepy crawlies that you’ll want to avoid if you’re living in Arizona. If you’d like tips on preventing snakes click here. If you’d like advice on how to prevent scorpions click here.
Enjoy those and I’ll see YOU next Thursday!