BBB Shares Five Tips on How to Protect Your Home from “Silent Destroyers”
April 24, 2014

A single termite doesn’t seem dangerous or menacing, but a whole colony can inflict serious structural damage on a home in a fairly short period of time. When a flyswatter, mousetrap or repelling spray is not enough, it's probably time to call a professional. Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to do their homework before hiring a pest control service.

Termites are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew undetected through wood, flooring and even wallpaper. Each year, termites cause about $5 billion in property damage, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a BBB National Partner.

Locally in 2013, BBB received 122 complaints against pest control services, and more than 41,000 inquiries. So far this year, BBB has received 29 complaints and more than 11,200 inquiries for pest control services. Common complaints allege service and repair issues. 

Complaints allege consumers pay for either a monthly or annual treatment fee, yet the guaranteed treated areas remain infected after being sprayed. Other complaints claim plants are accidentally sprayed and killed by the chemicals. Consumers are also sharing their experiences with BBB by leaving 40 customer reviews so far this year; 107 were submitted last year for companies offering pest control services.

BBB offers the following four tips from NPMA for those looking to prevent termite damage in their home:

  1. Repair and replace. Repair leaky faucets, water pipes and air conditioning units located outside of the home. Also repair fascia (a thin board that covers the area where a wall joins a roof), soffits (the underside of a structure), and damaged roof shingles. Replace weather stripping and repair loose mortar (workable paste used to bind construction blocks together and fill gaps between them) around basement foundation and windows.
  2. Keep it clear. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground. Direct water away from the house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.
  3. Inspect, inspect, inspect. Routinely inspect the foundation of the home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, door frames, and skirting boards for any noticeable changes.
  4. Protect your investment. Not sure if you have termites? NPMA recommends a termite inspection every one to three years. Consider a termite inspection from a qualified pest management company. Visit searchbbb.org for a list of BBB Accredited Business pest control companies you can trust.
  5. Verify licensing.  Contact the Arizona Office of Pest Management (OPM) to verify the licensing status of the business at opm.azda.gov.

 

About BBB of Central, Northern & Western Arizona 
BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews® on more than 4.5 million businesses and BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM on 11,000 charities, all available free at bbb.org. Incorporated locally in 1938, today your BBB serves communities in central, northern and western Arizona, supported by over 10,900 BBB Accredited Businesses. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business reviews and charity reports, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.