Termite Inspection

Termite Control – What Contractors Do To Get Rid of Them

A homeowner fights against a wide range of pests on a daily basis, but none are as damaging and costly as the termite. These insects feed on cellulose – a fibrous material in plants and wood. Termites can literally eat away the entire house. Therefore, you should per form termite treatment as soon as you see the first sign. A frequent termite inspection of the house can help you identify the telltale signs. Let’s have a look at how to identify a termite infestation.


How to Identify Termite Infestation?

Termites enter your house in two ways by air or through the ground if the pests are not already present in the house. There are two types of termites that can infest your house, the drywood termite and subterranean termites. Dry wood termites send scouts from a nearby existing colony that flies into the house in search of the perfect fissure or crevice in the wood. Once they identify the perfect location, they shed their wings and start laying eggs to build a brand new colony within your house.

Subterranean termites are ground dwellers, they make their way into the house through the foundation. These termites are constantly on the search for food and as they stumble upon your house, a stockpile of food, they start building mud tunnels to access the wood of the foundation and spread across the house. In the US and Canada, subterranean termites are the most common, responsible for 95% of the damage.

The reason termites cause such a damage to the property is due to the late discovery of their presence. By the time, you discover the existence of the termite, it is most likely that these insects would have already eaten away a large portion of the house. It is like a disease, if you detect it early, the treatment is easy, if it’s detected at a later stage, the treatment can be painful and costly.

To help you detect the terminate infestation at an early stage and perform extermination, we have highlighted some signs of termite infestation.

  • First, learn to differentiate between winged ants and winged termites as they look alike. Once you know how to identify winged termites, if you see a swarm of them around the house, contact pest control because it’s a definite sign there is a colony nearby.
  • If you see a small pile of discarded wings, it might be a sign. Drywood termites do not have their wings on for a long-time, after they shed their wings they are in search of a home and a food source. If you see discarded swarmer wings by the window, door or caught between the spider webs, that’s a clear sign your house has a termite problem or is about to have one, start termite treatment immediately or call someone for a termite inspection.
  • Mud tubes, you would have seen them. They are small tunnels made out of mud, termites use these tunnels to transport food to their colony while being hidden from predators including us humans. The first sign of subterranean termites in the tubes in any part of the house.
  • If you suddenly find that the doors, windows, or wooden cabinet are hollow from the inside, it’s a clear sign subterranean termites have eaten through them.
  • Termite droppings are known as frass; they are pellet-shaped and very much like grains of sawdust or sand. Drywood terminates leave behind their droppings as they eat through the wood. If you find mounds of frass, it’s likely you have a drywood termite infestation.
  • Swollen floors or bubbling paint can be an indication that you have a termite problem. Termites like dark and moist environments. The reason why they choose to build their house within the wood and attract moisture, which results in the wood to swell with moisture. If the termites have eaten all the way through to the paint, you will see the paint bubbling. As this can also be due to a water leak, you should eliminate any water leakage before considering any termite treatment measures.       


Why It’s Important to Get Rid of Termites?

All pests like to live around humans, some are a mere nuisance while others can be a life threat, but none compare to the termite. They can be in your property for years before you see the signs, usually when the infestation has progressed far. Here are some reasons you should conduct a regular termite inspection  and subsequent termite termination if the insects are found in your property.


  • Risk to Family Health

Termites leave behind a lot of waste such as wings, dust, and droppings; these things can infiltrate the heating system or air conditioning and cause berating problems and allergies for yourself and the family members. Some of the health issues reported to be caused by termites include itching, sneezing, and watery eyes.


Although termites are highly beneficial to the ecosystem, for humans they can cause a variety of health issues. Drywood termite in particular love to live around humans especially homes made from wood.


  • Structural Damage

This is a common misconception among people that since their homes are not completely made from wood they are safe from termite attacks. Termites can damage the doors and windows made from wood making the entire structure of the house vulnerable. Termites love anything and everything made from wood such as cabinets, tables, chairs, beds, wooden floors, and other furniture.


It is estimated that termites cause $5 billion of structural damage around the world every year. For a house made entirely from wood, the danger of the house collapsing is very real. Hence, once you discover any sign of termite infestation, immediately seek pest control services.


  • Risk of Physical Pain

If you come in contact with a soldier termite or if the termite feels threatened, bites are very real. It won’t kill you, but it will certainly make you very uncomfortable. The termite’s bite can leave you itching, burning, and swelling. If you are allergic to the bite, the situation can be worst.


  • Mold Spores

Mold spores in the house can suddenly appear everywhere as a result of termites. These insects like to chew on dark and moist wood, where the termites are preexisting. Termites can spread the mold to other areas of the house. Mold can cause a wide variety of health issues such as migraine headaches, burning eyes, weakness, sore throat, runny nose, and cough.  


Why a Professional Opinion is good?

On the internet, there is no lack of DIY pest control techniques; however, by conducting the task yourself you risk the infestation spreading to other parts of the house. This is the most common issue house owners face when administering the pesticide themselves. Termite termination is much more than using a strong pesticide; they are persistent and would not let their hard work go to waste easily. A professional would only use a strong pesticide when the situation absolutely requires it. They know how to use the chemicals appropriately in the right amount so the chemical residue does not remain within the house once the termite control process is over. Having the residue within the house can be extremely difficult for the health of the people residing inside.

Improper treatment of the termite is nearly equivalent to no treatment. Termites reproduce fast and within no time they can build their numbers continuing the destruction of the wood in your house and property. Professionals will take care of the pest quickly, skillfully, and effectively. They would adjust to your time so you do not face any inconvenience.

On the other hand, the DIY technique can be excessively time-consuming due to the lack of expertise and know-how of the procedure. To top that, there is no guarantee the technique suggested on the DIY website is appropriate or correct. They are so many things to consider depending on the extent of the infestation such as the amount of pesticide, type of pesticide, areas to cover, precautionary steps, tips to effectively use the pesticide, and more. A professional is trained in every aspect of terminate control.

There are some species of termite that have become resistant to old DIY techniques on websites posted years ago. They would only increase your expenditure without delivering concrete results. A professional has all the equipment and would save you a ton of money on equipment costs and other things.

When you hire professionals for the job, you do not have to worry about the effectiveness, you can leave all the hard work to them and go about your daily activity.


Termites are the most menacing of all pests, mainly due to their secretive nature and the damage they cause, which can cost millions. Detecting them early is key to reducing damage and effective termination. In the blog, we have highlighted the top tips to help you identify the signs of termite infestation and the reasons you should seek a professional termite treatment .        

Block home, termite safe?

Show termites

Is my home safe from termites if I have a block home?

The short simple answer is no. Subterranean termites, the most common type in the deserts of Arizona, live in the soil and travel above ground through “mud tubes” to forage for wood and cellulose. There are many weak areas that termites may enter a block home through and therefore homeowners should be on the look out for these pests.

The typical construction of a block home is built upon footers with a floating slab that possesses thermal expansion joints. These expansion joints are made to ensure no damage is caused to the structure when temperature changes occur allowing the concrete to expand and contract freely. Although the joints are filled either with a sealant or insulation, over time these products may degrade. Termites need just a 1/32” gap or crack to enter a home. These expansion joints pose as ideal perimeter weak spot where they may enter to find food. Other areas may be anywhere that objects penetrate the slab such as pipes, drains, electrical conduits, etc. Once inside they may also be able to feed on trims, furniture, and possibly make their way to the wood in the attic.

If you suspect that you may have termites in a block or wood frame house, do not hesitate to contact Desert Termites. We’ll perform a full in depth inspection and provide you with a custom treatment plan.

Mother’s Day: bed bug crisis

For most of us “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”, is a joking phrase we heard as children. However with bed bugs on the rise, this phrase has become reality to some. I just wanted to share my recent mother’s day experience in hopes that I can spread awareness about how easily you could bring bed bugs home.

bed bugs in restaurant

The story:

For Mother’s Day, my family and I went out for lunch at a national chain restaurant in Glendale (I do not want to name for privacy reasons). We were enjoying our lunch for about 45 minutes until my mother said that her legs were becoming extremely itchy. She stated it was a “burning itching sensation”. Before Desert Termites, I worked with Phoenix Bed Bug Expert, which specializes in bed bug elimination. I had a hunch that it might be just that. So, I slid under the table and shined my flashlight under the booth. Now I have to say, I’ve seen my fair share of extreme infestations, but never this many in a restaurant setting. There were nearly a hundred that scattered as I scanned my light around. I informed the restaurant manager, and we went on our way. I used the same protocol for my entire family as I did everyday after work for the last 2+ years. We stripped to our underwear and placed the clothes in the dryer on high heat for 25 minutes. This ensured we would not be bringing any hitchhikers into the house. After the drying cycle was completed, I left to get my bed bug pesticide in order to treat the car. Normally this is not necessary, as the heat inside a sitting car in Arizona will kill any bed bugs. However the weather has been somewhat cool and may have not eliminated the little hitchhikers even if the vehicle was left out in the sun for hours. In mid summer this is never really an issue since it can get to 150+ degrees inside a car. All in all, even though bed bugs ruined a happy day, I was glad that we were able to stop a possible infestation from occurring in my parent’s home. It is just frightening that bed bugs can be picked up from any public place and be brought home so easily and unnoticed. So next time you go out, make sure that you are not sitting on an entire family of bed bugs! I will provide all the information I have learned over the years so you can protect yourself and your family from these insects.

bed bug

Bed Bug Overview:

Bed bugs have been around for hundreds of years. They were initially thought to have fed off of bats in caves and slowly made their way into human homes. Bed bugs were almost eradicated from the face of the earth in the early 1950’s, but have made a come back with new pesticide resistant strains. They are typically light to dark brown in color and are the size of an apple seed at the adult stage. They have 5 life stages that are each typically obtained after receiving a blood meal. Bed bugs will feed once or twice a week depending on the season/weather, reaching adulthood in about a month. They prefer human blood and are relatively lazy insects. They establish their home on or near your bed, hence the name “bed bugs”, however they may also be seen in other parts of the home where more time is spent such as sofas, lazy boys, office chairs, etc.

How do bed bugs get in your home?

Bed bugs are expert hitchhikers. They typically hitch rides on you, your luggage, or furniture that is brought into the home from an infested area. One biological behavior that I observed was the reason behind the bed bug transfer from hotel room stays. Typically individuals leave their used clothes on the floor of their hotel room. Pregnant female bed bugs follow the scent of worn clothes as it indicates human presence. This prompts the females to hide in a pile of clothing, which in turn is packed up and brought back into your home. The female will then lay it’s 5-20 eggs that will hatch within 6-10 days time, thus starting a new infestation.

Bed Bug Bites:

Once settled in, they detect your presence by your body heat and the carbon dioxide you emit. They normally crawl out and bite in a linear pattern or a row of 3. Bed bugs have piercing-mouth parts, which is almost like a hypodermic needle that penetrates the skin. They are able to draw blood as well as inject their saliva, which possess proteins and anesthetic properties. This allows the bugs to feed and retreat back to their home before their presence is detected. The bites are usually not felt until they are already back in hiding. Most people react within ½ hour to an hour after they have been bitten. Others do not react at all. It all depends if you are allergic to the proteins in their saliva.

How to inspect for Bed Bugs:

If you suspect that you may have bed bugs, make sure to check the areas by your bed first. Since they are attracted to your body heat and CO2 emission, 99% of the time they will be located at the head of the bed, specifically the bottom of the box spring. They usually start low and work their way up as the infestation worsens. Make sure to inspect all parameters of the box spring, seams of the mattress, and screw holes/crevices of the bed frame. The evidence is easy to observe as they leave skin casings, eggs, and the fecal stains where they are present. The eggs are a bit harder to observe, as they are 1mm in size, resembling a small white grain of rice. Also, as stated before, be aware that they may also be located in other parts of the home where more time is spent.

How to protect yourself from Bed Bugs:

Protecting your home from bed bugs is a little bit more difficult as they can be picked up from any public or high traffic place. Bed bugs do not discriminate, whether the location is clean, dirty, rich, or poor. They can be pretty much anywhere including restaurants, stores, offices, churches, airports, etc.

3 steps to remember:

  • The initial and easiest way to ensure you don’t bring bed bugs into your home is to not buy used or second hand furniture. There may be a previous infestation present in couches, beds, nightstands, etc.
  • If you are on vacation, make sure to not place your clothes or luggage on the floor. Use the stands provided or hang up your clothing. When you arrive home, leave the suitcase(s) in the garage or storage that is not inside the house. Remove clothing and run them through the dryer on high heat for at least 20 minutes. The bed bugs start dying at around 120 degrees Fahrenheit and the average dryers reach temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure no bed bugs or eggs will be on your clothes.
  • For post vacations or if you may have been somewhere where bed bugs could have been present, it is always a good idea to remove your clothes before entering your home. Bag the clothes, and run them through the dryer as explained previously.

If you have any questions about bed bugs in general that I have not covered, please do not hesitate to contact Didi, the owner of Desert Termites at (602) 677-0132. I will be able to answer almost any question or definitely point you in the right direction! If you are looking for an inspection or treatment for bed bugs, we work in partnership with Phoenix Bed Bug expert and can provide you with warrantied pesticide or heat treatments to eliminate any infestation no matter how large or small.

WARNING: Beware of the desert toad!

colorado river toad also known as sonoran desert toad
The Colorado River toad, also commonly known as the Sonoran Desert toad, strikes fear in many Arizona residents around the valley and here’s why:

As we are slowly transitioning into summer, the desert toad’s breeding season begins, making their presence on your property much more likely. These toads are extremely poisonous and hazardous to children, pets, and even adults. They secrete a toxin called bufotenin from various glands within their skin. Bufotenin belongs to the hallucinogenic tryptamines family meaning if introduced to the body, the affected victim would experience strong visual and auditory hallucinations before facing possible death.

Adults and children may be educated on the matter, but safety for our beloved pets still remain an issue. There have been many reports of full size dogs attacking these toads that have been paralyzed and even killed from the interaction. In this blog, we’ll discuss all the necessary information you need to protect you and your family.

If you have any questions at all about the Colorado River toad, please do not hesitate to contact us here at Desert Termites. As stated in the previous blog, we are all pet owners here and truly care about all our furry companions!

What do the Colorado River toads look like?

These toads are the largest native species of toads found in the U.S., growing up to 7.5” in length. They are described as having smooth leather-like skin ranging from an olive green to a medium brown in color with multiple dark spots on their back. They can be characterized by their large prominent parotid glands located behind the eyes and the distinct white wart at the corner of their mouths.

What is their habitat and behavior?

The Sonoran Desert toad is found in the southwestern states, including the southern eastern section of California, New Mexico, and Arizona. They are semi aquatic meaning they are often found near streams, ponds, canals, drainage areas, irrigation systems etc. However, they are well known to breed in man made bodies of water such as reservoirs, artificial lakes and ponds, which in turn bring them into urbanized areas.

Breeding usually begins around May and typically ends in August. The toads lay their eggs mainly after rainfall in the described bodies of water. A female can lay up to 8,000 eggs, which will produce tadpoles in about a month’s time.

How does their poison work?

The Sonoran Desert toad’s poison contains Bufotenin, which is a hallucinogenic serotonin analog that binds to certain receptors in the brain. When ingested, it can cause strong visual and auditory hallucinations as well as a number of other signs and symptoms. Including:

  • Confusion
  • Unstable movement
  • Excess salivation
  • Color change of oral membranes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Seizures

What can I do to protect my home and family?

The first step in protecting your family and pets from the Sonoran Desert toads is to secure your home’s yard. It is important to block all entry points into your back yard. For example, water drain outlets in fences can be blocked with mesh wiring and cracks in the fence line sealed. Rubber may also be installed under side gates to increase security.  The next step is to reduce ideal conditions that may be attractive, for example eliminating standing water and keeping water in pools, ponds, and fountains clean. Restricting their food sources also helps, which means running a regular pest control schedule for not only insects, but small lizards and rodents as well. The last step and probably the most important is knowledge. You must understand the Sonoran Desert toad’s biology, habitat, and behavior to fully protect your loved ones.

What should I do if I suspect my pet has been poisoned?

If you suspect that your pet has encountered one of these poisonous toads, it is imperative that they receive medical attention right away. They should be taken to the nearest veterinary hospital or clinic as soon as possible since this is a time dependent emergency. If at all possible, it is important to irrigate your pet’s mouth with water in order to flush out any remaining toxins.

Hopefully we were able to share some valuable information about the Colorado River toads. If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to contact us at Desert Termites! We’ll be happy to help you in any way we can!

Pet Safe Pest Control?

Desert Termite Team, pet safe pest control

Our employee of the month Theodore! Just kidding! In all seriousness, we know how important your pets are to you. With our technicians and myself being pet owners, safety is our number one priority! At Desert Termites we have extensively researched for the safest, yet most effective chemicals out on the market to keep those pesky critters away. Any treatment that we provide is designed for 100% pet safe pest control.

We differ from other companies in that we use the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) system that requires all technicians to first evaluate the pest issue. Then we must eliminate any possible harboring areas, food, and any other ideal conditions for the target pests, all before we even apply a drop of chemical. This allows us to truly target the specific pest, limit pesticide usage, and decrease attractive areas, which all in turn increase safety for your pets.

While pet safety in pest control can be a concern, you can rest assure Desert Termites will keep all your pets in mind!

What should I do with my pet before, during, and after a treatment?

 This all depends on the type of pet you have and where the treatment will take place. Typically we travel out to your home and provide a free inspection where a technician will perform an in-depth evaluation of your home for the specific target pest.  At this time they will provide you with instructions on pet safety. In most cases for common pets such as dogs and cats, they should be kept out of the treated areas until the product has dried. With summer coming, outdoor areas should be dry in 10 minutes or less. Indoor services, again, depend on the type of treatment performed. However a lengthier period of about an hour or until dried should be given before pets may return.

If at anytime you are unsure of what you can and cannot do in relation to your specific treatment, please do not hesitate to Contact Us here at Desert Termites. We are dedicated to making safety our number one priority when it comes to you, your family, friends, and pets!