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A Court Ruled In Favor Of A Woman Who Hid Termite Damage In Order To Sell A Home | Phoenix Termite Control

A Court Ruled In Favor Of A Woman Who Hid Termite Damage In Order To Sell A Home | Phoenix Termite Control

Imagine finding termite damage in a home that you had just purchased. Such a find would come as a major disappointment to any new home owner. It is for this reason that termite inspections are a must before purchasing a home. Now imagine finding signs of termite damage in your new home after being explicitly told by the previous owners that the home had no history of termite infestations or termite-induced damages. This, of course, is a very different situation, and most courts would find the previous owners to be at fault for not disclosing the home’s history of termite infestations. Sadly, this is not always the case, as one couple from Arizona understands all too well. Losing cases such as these does not occur often, and when they do occur, critics often regard the verdicts as miscarriages of justice, or as misinterpretations of real estate law.

Back in 1982, a married couple, Warren and Gloria Hill, purchased a seventy two thousand dollar home. The couple visited the home several times. During one of these visits, the couple noticed a ripple in the home’s hardwood floor that resembled termite damage. After asking the seller if the damage was caused by termites, she answered “no”, and claimed that water damage had been responsible. Although, the buyers recognized the ripple as being consistent with termite damage, they trusted the seller, as a termite inspection had already determined the home to be free of termite activity during the entirety of its existence.

Shortly after the deal closed, the new owners discovered a manual that the sellers had left behind in a drawer. This manual bore the title: Termites, the Silent Saboteurs. This unsettling find made the new owners suspicious, so they decided to dig up the home’s old inspection reports. The old reports confirmed that the home had been infested with termites several times since it was built. The suspicious ripple also turned out to be termite damage that had been inflicted while the sellers inhabited the home. The new owners quickly filed a lawsuit, but they lost after the judge ruled that the sellers had no duty to disclose the past termite infestations. In fact, the new homeowners were even forced to pay for the seller’s court costs, which amounted to one thousand dollars. This ruling ran contrary to precedents that had been established in previous Arizona cases. Not only that, but this case is also often cited by legal experts as being an error in judgement, as the sellers were bound by law to disclose the past termite infestations to the buyers.

Have you, or someone else you know, ever had to attend court over undisclosed termite damage to a home?

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Hungry Termites Consumed One Girl’s Entire Book Collection | Termite Control

Hungry Termites Consumed One Girl’s Entire Book Collection | Termite Control

Typically, insects are not interested in eating paper materials, as paper is lacking in many essential nutrients. However, there are a few exceptions within the insect community, and termites are certainly one of them. Drywood termites are found infesting books and bookshelves far more often than you may think. In fact, many people have never heard of this form of destructive termite activity, but termites love the cellulose in paper just as much as they love the cellulose in wood. In the past, drywood termite infestations within books have occurred in several libraries and museums around the world. Subterranean termites do not pose a significant threat to books since they must regularly expose themselves to groundsoil in order to survive. Drywood termites, on the other hand, can live their entire lives within a book, or a collection of books, without ever leaving. The cellulose in a book’s paper provides drywood termites with all of the nourishment that they require. These types of infestations have been documented in the past, and they can continue uninterrupted for years before their presence becomes known to humans. Since subterranean termites forage beneath the ground’s surface, books that are stored within basements can be vulnerable to their attacks.

Termite infestations within books usually go unnoticed until  they move on to damaging other objects nearby, such as wood shelving. One girl has recently lost most of her book collection to ravenous termites. More than eighty of Dorcas Aguayo’s books became ravaged by termites, and she does not know how or when the termites gained access to her home. Aguayo posted pictures of the termite-ravaged books on Facebook, where they can still be seen. The caption below one of her photos claimed that the termites had destroyed seventy percent of her library. The books were very dear to Aguayo, as she had spent her life reading them repeatedly as a source of comfort and happiness. Unfortunately, the books also brought happiness to termites.

Have you ever wondered if a termite infestation was present within your home despite not noticing any clear signs of their activity?

 

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How To Know If The Wood In Your Home Was Damaged By Termites Or Ants

How To Know If The Wood In Your Home Was Damaged By Termites Or Ants | Phoenix Pest Control Experts

Termite damage is not always easy to recognize, and they are not the only wood-boring insects that exist. Upon noticing unexplained damage to areas of structural wood, you should first have a termite inspection conducted immediately in order to prevent irreparable damage from occurring. When it comes to wood-boring insects, termites are the last insects that you want infesting your home. When compared to other wood-boring insects, termites cause the greatest degree of structural damages. When a home’s structural damages become extensive enough to clearly indicate a termite infestation, the damage can sometimes be irreversible. Although termites are destructive creatures, they cannot render a home unlivable within a few days; instead, homes become structurally compromised only after long periods of destructive termite activity. Many people whose homes are protected by termite barriers and insecticides may still notice structural damage that indicates a termite presence. When this occurs, many homeowners may assume that they had been ripped-off by a shady exterminator who failed to install effective anti-termite barriers. However, it is far more likely that another type of wood-destroying insect is responsible. Termite poisons and repellents may not be as effective at killing other types of wood-boring insects, this is why it is important to understand the difference between termite damage and damage caused by other forms of destructive insects.

In addition to termites, carpenter ants can also cause damage to the wood in people’s homes. However, only termites are capable of causing damage that is extensive enough to render a home unlivable. No other type of insect can destroy a home’s structural integrity. One difference between the two insects is the type of wood that they are attracted to. Termites excavate wood that is intact and free from rot, such as timber and tree stumps. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, are attracted to wood that has already sustained damage, whether it be from rot or fungus. Carpenter ants, like termites, leave behind noticeable amounts of wood-shavings since they do not consume the wood that they excavate. Although termites consume the wood that they excavate, they can also leave behind wood shavings, albeit far less. In cases where wood destruction makes it hard to determine the type of insect pest responsible, you can instead attempt to locate the insect culprit yourself. Termites and carpenter ants are the same size, and they both swarm. These similarities can make the two different insects hard to discern, but termite workers are pale-colored, and nearly translucent, while carpenter ant workers are reddish or dark in color. Since termites consume wood, they often remain unseen within hollowed sections of wood, but carpenter ants can often be spotted foraging for food within people’s homes, as they do not consume the wood that they excavate from structural timber.

Do you know of any other type of insect species, besides termites and ants, that are capable of inflicting damage to timber structures?

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The Islands Within The Okavango Delta Were Created By Termites | Termite Control

The Islands Within The Okavango Delta Were Created By Termites | Termite Control

The world is full of remarkable land formations that capture the fascination of many people, particularly scientists. Some land formations are mysterious in that researchers have yet to understand how they were formed. Land formations that are commonly found to be awe inspiring stand a good chance of making it onto the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Unbelievably, termites are credited with contributing to two different types of land formations. These land formations include the famous fairy circles in Africa and the islands located in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana. The fact that termite activity is largely responsible for these land formations has only recently been understood by scientists. The islands in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana were not only made by termites, but the Okavango Delta was recently added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

In order to have a land formation be considered as an UNESCO World Heritage site the area must be deemed to have “outstanding universal value”, and the islands located within the Okavango Delta certainly qualify. The land formations are unique because they are essentially small islands located in a wetland in the middle of the desert. This particular delta is also strange in that it does not flow into the ocean. The islands could only have been formed by multiple ecological factors that rarely work together to create land formations.

When it comes to the formation of the delta’s islands, termites are the factor that scientists had never considered until fairly recently. The islands began as termite mounds that eventually grew trees and formed into islands. As the trees grew, more water and nutrients were brought up to the surface in order to nurture the tree’s growth. After awhile this process drained the delta of water, but the water was replaced by water from nearby floodplains. Researchers believe that most islands within Botswana’s deltas originated as termite mounds.

Have you ever visited a delta containing islands that were most likely formed by early termite mound building activity?

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The Endless War Between Ants And Termites

The Endless War Between Ants And Termites | Phoenix Pest Control

Termites are prey animals that have evolved to avoid confrontations with predators, as opposed to fighting predators. Of course, termites do possess features that allow them to violently defend their territory, but these defensive measures often claim the lives of termites themselves. For example, when termites are being bombarded by insect invasions within their nests, some termite species can self-destruct in order to kill all nearby insect invaders. It is rare to see a termite crawl away from a violent conflict with a predator. Ants are easily one of the most threatening termite predators, and large battles between these two insects are common. It has long been known that Matabele ants are constantly on the lookout for termite prey, but a recent study has revealed that these ants make use of a clever predatory tactic that no other termite predator has ever demonstrated.

Termites and ants are constantly indulging in warfare at the Comoé National Park in Côte d’Ivoire. Erik Frank, a postdoctoral researcher from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland has recently conducted a study on the warfare tactics used by Matabele ants during their predatory hunts for term

ites. Matabele ant colonies contain scout-ants that search for termite nests. Once these scout-ants locate a termite nest, they promptly report back to their colonies. At this point Matabele ants plan their invasion.

Matabele ants are significantly larger than termites, but they do not owe their predatory success to their size, but to their speed. As it turns out, termites can successfully escape Matabele ant attacks most of the time. Once the ants attack a termite nest, the termites are quick to flee to another location where food is available. When it comes to traveling to a food source, ants always take the shortest route, but due to rough terrain, the shortest route is not always the fastest. Matabele ants are the first ants to demonstrate a different traveling method; instead of taking the shortest route to termites, these ants have learned to take the fastest route. According to data, this method saves traveling time by thirty five percent. Matabele ants developed this method of hunting solely to catch speedy termites.

Do you know of any other insect species that have developed more advanced methods of foraging?

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How Do Violent Conflicts Between Termites Influence Their Lifespans?

How Do Violent Conflicts Between Termites Influence Their Lifespans?

Termites are relatively understudied insects within the field of entomology. This is somewhat surprising given the significant economic costs associated with termite structural damage. Termites in the United States alone cause billions of dollars each year in damages. You would think that a greater scientific understanding of termite behavior would be desired in order to more effectively combat these destructive insects. However, termites are regarded with widespread disinterest, as there are many other fascinating insects in the world that capture the curiosity of academics and scientists. Although termites may not be the most interesting of insects, the fact that termite queens can survive for a longer amount of time than any other insect species is worthy of attention. A recent study examined how intercolony conflict between termites can influence the lifespan of queen and king termites. Additionally, the study authors were able to determine how warring termite colonies resolve conflict after the death of each side’s royal pairs.

For the study, researchers collected Z. n. nevadensis termite species from the wild. These termites spend much of their lives in trees where encounters between different colonies are common. The researchers placed two different colonies into artificial arboreal conditions in order to gauge intercolony behavior. Since termite colonies vary drastically in age, encounters between two colonies of the same age is not the norm. When two termite colonies of the same age made contact in the lab, violence soon followed. The subsequent conflict resulted in the deaths of a royal pair from one colony while the royal pair from the other colony survived. The remaining workers and soldiers from the defeated colony were eventually absorbed into the victorious colony. When colonies of different ages were introduced, the older colonies killed off the younger colonies entirely, leaving the royal pair and all of their worker and soldier offspring dead. It was also found that termite queens would die unusually young if they had survived previous intercolony conflicts. The reason for this is not clear, but researchers believe that the queens may have died young due to injuries sustained during previous skirmishes. In general, colonies that are relatively large will live for a longer period of time than smaller colonies.

Have you ever seen a termite queen in a Zoo or even in the wild?

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How Do Termites Successfully Escape From Predators?

How Do Termites Successfully Escape From Predators?

Since termites are relatively small organisms, you would think that they would stand almost no chance of surviving an encounter with a predator. Surprisingly, a termite’s small size affords them many advantages during predatory attacks. For example, subterranean termites, as their name suggests, spend most of their time below the ground’s surface where predators cannot reach them. Despite this advantage, subterranean termites still need to beware of predators that also burrow within the soil. Other types of termites, most of which are non-soil dwellers, such as many drywood and dampwood termite species, dwell within pieces of dead or living timber.

Termites protect themselves by avoiding exposure to the outside world as much as possible. Termite-built nesting structures, tunnels and mud tubes keep termites hidden from their predators. However, termites are sometimes attacked within the wood and nests that they inhabit. When termites are a

ttacked within these shelters, researchers cannot possibly observe their escape strategies. Luckily, the black-winged termite species is in a unique position to shed more light on the methods of escape used by termites under attack.

The black-winged termite is native to southeast Asia, and they are known for building mud tubes along the length of trees from the crown to the routes. Given this termite’s exposure to predators during mud tube construction, researchers are able to observe how this termite escapes from predatory attacks.

Past studies that focused on termite escape behaviors could only be conducted within laboratories. These lab studies showed that termites escaped from predators immediately, but the recent field study showed termites indulging in a “wandering behavior” in response to an attack. Wandering behavior has been observed in other animals under similar hostile conditions. Socially inclined animals that move in herds may take time to develop a team strategy for escape, and this can look like wandering to observers. An individual termite may feel restrained from escaping alone from a predator if the colony is still in danger. In a termite’s case, the survival of the colony is more important than individual survival. This may explain why individual termites escape at lower speeds than termites escaping in groups. In this case, the slow-moving individual termite may be more focused on serving or regrouping with its colony rather than successfully escaping from a predator. Immediately after a predatory attack, termites may also wonder in order to survey the outside conditions before making a getaway. Finding safe places in the environment to hide is a necessity for termites that were born and raised within nests.

Have you ever seen a group of termites fleeing in response to a disturbance?

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Termite Warning Signs | Phoenix Termite Control

Termite Warning Signs | Phoenix Termite Control

Magic Pest offers the following signs that termites may be present in a home:

  1. Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of the home.
  2. Soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped.
  3. Darkening or blistering of wood structures.
  4. Cracked or bubbling paint.
  5. Small piles of feces that resemble sawdust near a termite nest.
  6. Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills, indicating swarmers have entered the home or swarmers themselves, which are often mistaken for flying ants.

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10 Tips To Prevent Termites From Damaging Your Home

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10 Tips To Prevent Termites From Damaging Your Home!

  1. Eliminate or reduce moisture in and around the home, which termites need to thrive.
  2. Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and exterior AC units.
  3. Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles.
  4. Replace weather stripping and loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
  5. Divert water away from the house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  6. Routinely inspect the foundation of a home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), uneven or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  7. Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, doorframes and skirting boards for any noticeable changes.
  8. Maintain an 18-inch gap between soil and any wood portions of your home.
  9. Consider scheduling a professional inspection annually. Wood-boring insect damage is not covered by homeowners’ insurance policies.
  10. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.

Phoenix Termite Control Experts

Swarming Termites Are Harassing Pedestrians Around The Daniel Boone Hotel

Every year toward the beginning of the summer season, winged termites vacate their nests in order to establish new colonies as queens and kings. Swarming termites cannot harm humans, but that does not stop them from annoying homeowners, tourists, and random pedestrians. Termite swarms are particularly easy to spot in the southeast, where the subtropical humid climate allows termites to thrive. As the month of June progresses, termite swarming activity begins to occur in more northern states.

For the past month, the internet has been constantly reporting on the unusually frequent termite swarms occuring in southern states this year. Now, these annoying swarms have reached the state of Kentucky where they are harassing pedestrians in one downtown area. In the town of Whitesburg, pedestrians are being rattled by swarming termites that are coming from one particular building. The historic Daniel Boone Hotel is currently being renovated, but that is not stopping termites from inhabiting the premises. It is in this hotel where many of the troublesome termite swarms have been originating.

One resident of Whitesburg, Medra Blair Bowen, posted a video to Facebook that shows numerous termites coating the outer hotel wall, as well as the sidewalk below the wall. Bowen posted a caption below the video that demanded something be done with the hotel so that downtown pedestrians won’t be forced to dodge termite swarms. Bowen is also concerned with the likelihood of her business succumbing to a termite infestation.

Bowen owns an insurance agency that is adjacent to the hotel, and she knows first hand how troublesome the termites have been for her customers and pedestrians in the downtown area. Bowen claims that she and many other nearby business owners called hotel managers in order to complain about the lack of pest control treatments being applied to the building. Initially, the managers did nothing in response to the several complaints. However, once she posted the video, pest control professionals were seen spraying the building the next day.

The Mayor of Whitesburg has stated that termite swarms are common and harmless in this region around this time of year, and that neither the hotel nor any other nearby buildings have become infested. Despite these claims, Bowen believes that buildings located near the hotel are still at risk for termite infestations since the termite spray had not been applied to the interior of the the Daniel Boone Hotel.

Do you believe that it is the local government’s responsibility to protect businesses from termite infestations in this case? Should the local government be able to legally require the owners of the Daniel Boone Hotel to have termite inspections conducted?