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Uh-oh.....  His Neighbor has Termites....

Bruce is running scared....


My neighbor just got an expensive termite treatment.  I am not sure of the extent of their termite problem, but I don't think it was too bad.  My house (detached houses) has no signs of any termite problems right now, and just got an inspection a little over a year ago.  Will termites be driven away from their house after treatment, leaving mine as a more appealing target ?

Thanks in advance for any advice,

Bruce Johnson, Baltimore, Maryland

P.S.  What a terrific website !!

So this is what I told Bruce....

Hi, Bruce:

Just had a gentleman call me from Knoxville this morning (Sunday!) with much the same problem.  His neighbor, with a five-year old house, had a termite job done by one of the biggies because the neighbor called them in after finding termites in his garden, about two feet from his house.  He said his neighbor spent $1900 (whew!) for the termite job, should he have it done too?  He also said that they inspected his house, found no ongoing termite problem, but told him the termites would just be "moving next door."  A common trick by disreputable exterminators looking for extra work.

Seems as though the exterminator (two strong) went around to each house, like it was a public health threat, trolling for suckers.

I told Mr Knoxville that he should just laugh at them.  A five year old house was NOT going to have termites.  Now, of course, it is always possible, (I've found them in two year old houses) but very improbable.  This gentleman has a dirt crawl space under his entire house, which means it will be easy to spot when it does happen.  

Funny thing is, during our long conversation, (nice guy!) I told him that I go down to Tennessee each year, on vacation, right near Knoxville.  He wanted me to stop by and inspect his house!  Offered me $100 to do an inspection!  I told him it wasn't really necessary with his five year old house, he had another ten years (at least) before his house would get termites.  

So, to answer your question.  No, the termites don't go "from house to house" like the exterminators would have you believe.  It's just that they know that all the houses were built at the same time, by the same builders, using the same building practices, so they all tend to pop up with termites at the same times.  They don't say, "Hey guys, we just got canned at 123, so let's go next door to 125."  Doesn't work that way.

I think you'll be far better off (and richer too) if you just wait - it will happen, eventually, and it's just as easy to solve the problem at the time.  House construction makes a difference too - if you have a basement, entirely finished, you won't see the termites right away.  If you have a dirt crawl, like Mr. Knoxville, it's easy!

And I must thank you for your nice compliment about my website.

Get back to me if you have more questions!


Then Bruce responded with this nice note....


Thanks so much for your reply.  

Thanks to your website, I was able to approach my situation with a level head.  Saturday morning I did a complete inspection of my house, inside and outside, foundation to roof, basement to attic, not a trace of any insect activity.  The only thing I found, outside the house, was one of the 4x4 supports on my deck had been placed so that it was getting regularly soaked from a downspout.  There was a combination of waterlogging, rot, and definitely some insect activity near ground level.  So (without a trace of panic) I replaced the support, and another one near it, and got concrete footers that keep the wood about a foot off the ground.  I also redirected the downspout. Sorry bugs, the buffet has closed !!  I will keep an eye on this area over the summer.  My inspection will become a regular part of seasonal house maintenance.

Just last night, my wife got elected Vice President of our Community Association.  Watch out Washington, if this goes well she may make a Senate run !!  It was her idea to mention your website address in our next community newsletter.  I almost feel sorry for the next disreputable exterminator that comes down my street!

Thanks again, and keep up the great work,


(Many Thanks for your kind words, Bruce....)

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