There are a lot of creepy-crawly pests in Arizona, but experts say termites are the costliest.
Spring and summer is the season when swarms of termites take flight looking for new places to start a colony. Valley termite techs have some tips to keep your house from becoming a snack.
David Shelman with Western Exterminators said it's important to know the signs that indicate termite trouble.
"We're looking for any termite tubes coming from the ground up," said Shelman, referring to the telltale mud trails that termites build as they climb from their underground tunnels into the walls on the outside of a home. If the termite tubes are visible at the base of a home, the next sign would be wood damage in the eves.
Shelman said termites cost homeowners in the U.S. billions of dollars every year. On average, he said, they're eating you out of your house and home for an entire year before you notice.
"In some cases, they eat the studs around the bottom of the house and walls can fall," said Shelman.
A better plan, according to Shelman, is to play defense before you ever see a bug. Pest experts like Shelman can plant termite bait stations around your home.
"They think it's a wood product and they're eating it, and they take it back to their colony," said Shelman, adding that the bait stations can kill an entire colony of termites before they get to your house.
There are other termite tricks you can keep track of on your own. Termites like to live underground in wet dirt. Therefore, it's important to keep the ground around the base of your home dry, especially around water spigots and air conditioner lines that can leak condensation.
"You really want that dripping away from the house because it's going to create a little moisture pit for the termites to get to the house and get inside there," said Shelman.
The experts recommend getting your home inspected every year. The cost for an inspection can range from free to a couple of hundred dollars if it's being used for Real Estate sales.