Yesterday I received a call from a termite inspector about a house he’d checked out for one of my buyers. Apparently, there was the faintest sign of termite trails in the ceiling of the master bedroom in one of the corners; neither my buyer or I had noticed it when we were in the house.
And believe me, we were looking. Over the three weeks we had spent looking for homes, we had seen termite tubes emerging from the ceilings or walls of no fewer than three homes.
What was most striking is that this generally doesn’t happen here in Arizona.
Out here, we have subterranean termites and, as the name implies, they generally build their mud tubes up from the ground below the foundation of the house up to their food source at the wood nearest the foundation.
If left unimpeded, they can make their way up the walls and into the ceiling but that generally takes considerable time and most homeowners (assuming they know what to look for) discover the presence of the subterranean tubes long before any major damage is done.
In talking to the inspector, he said the termites were out in force the past two months – he’s as busy as he’s ever been, primarily dealing with termites that have been left unchecked and worked their way into the walls and ceilings of the homes themselves. What’s causing them to act so aggressively is anyone’s guess. Maybe they just decided it was time to take over the world.
In any event, take a moment to walk the exterior of your home and look for tubes. They’re going to look like light brown squiggly tunnels akin to what you see on the palm tree in the photo below. (Quick aside … I HATED the house where I saw these tubes on the tree and inside. It was almost five years ago, a bank-owned nightmare of a home; the tubes on the palm tree were taller than I am.)
Now, if you happen to see them, here are a couple of folks you can call: