PHOENIX - Now that monsoon season is wrapping up, pest control companies are flooded with calls from homeowners dealing with termites.
Mike Saldivar, the general manager of Action Termite Control, said October has always been their busiest time of year. Every year the company treats thousands of Valley homes for termites — but this October, their call load doubled.
"Every house is eventually going to have termites," Saldivar said. "It's just a matter of time at this point."
A quick walk around your property should reveal the problem.
Saldivar advised homeowners to check for long narrow tubes running along the base of homes or the foundation. Big cracks in the foundation were also a bad sign, inviting unwanted pests into your home.
Termites lived in the walls and built the narrow tubes, typically made of soil, saliva and fecal matter. The tubes protect the insects.
Saldivar said the good news is that it takes multiple years for termites to cause any real damage to your structural foundation.
"A whole colony of termites will eat a foot of a two-by-four in a whole year."
If left unchecked, the pests could lead to thousands of dollars in damages to your home.
Saldiver said he see it happen all the time.
"You could go up and just crush the beams in the attic. It was pretty bad," he said.
Despite being small in size, these pests have a large appetite. They literally spend all day searching for food, slowly nibbling away at your house.
"They have nothing else to do all day but hunt for a food source," Saldivar said.
Your drywall, paper, and wood are feasts for these pests.
Saldivar said if you spotted a tube, it was a good idea to get it removed immediately.
"I've actually seen them go 4-5 feet up a wall in 24 hours," he said.
One north Phoenix homeowner said she found termite shelter tubes inside her townhome. The tubes actually doubled in size in about 24 hours.
While many products were available on store shelves to do-it-yourself, Saldivar advised buying professional grade product that would last five years or more. He said most store brought products would only protect your home for a few months.
Need tips to combat termites in your home? Click here. Most pest control companies will give you a free inspection and let you know if your property has been infested.