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Termites in a four year old House?
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(This next email came in, I answered it, but my reply to Allen and Kathy came back, "UNKNOWN USER")

My husband and I are in the process of buying a home and the termite inspector did find termites in the yard but not in the house.  This is a 4 year old house and is pretreated.

This termite inspector suggested treating the yard for $500, by drilling into our basement and using chemicals.  I wanted a second opinion so I called Terminex, not a wise choice I think.  The Terminex guy scared me more by telling me the pretreatment is only as good as who put it in and how they did it, I do not have that information, I just know it has been pretreated.

Anyway, after reading some of your responses to others I feel like I'm getting snookered.  But, this is the first house my husband and I are buying and we just want to be careful..

Also, the termite inspector guy said the termites are just about 1-2 feet from the house, which sounds scary.  Does that mean they are close to getting into the house or  they are just there and the pretreatment is protecting the house?

Another thing, I know an old tree was cut down recently that was in the front of this house.  Is this buried stump the cause of the termites and should it be removed?

Should I find out the history of the pretreatment or does it matter?

With no evidence of termites in the house, do I need to even worry about the termites in the yard, which are very, very, very close to the house?

As part of our closing on the house we have to add dirt around the house to ensure water run-off.  This dirt that they will be using, I'm quite sure will be from the yard, which has termites in it.  Should I be concerned that termite-infested dirt might be pushed right up against my house?

Thank you for your help.  Hopefully, I didn't repeat myself too much. I'm just having sleepless nights over this because I'm hearing so many different things.

Thanks,

Allen and Kathy S.



And I wrote back with....

Dear Sleepless:

You're getting snookered - by both of them.  They are both using scare tactics to scare you into "doing something" that will line their pockets.  A four year old house is in as much danger of getting destroyed by elephants as termites.  And, if it was pre-treated, even less chance.  And the inspector, calling into question another exterminator, well, that just isn't professional, and I don't think you should deal with anyone who isn't professional.

Termites are everywhere.  You only worry about the ones in your house.  Forget the yard, forget the stumps, it's all smoke and mirrors.  When your house has termites, inside, THAT'S when you do something about it.  But if you BUILD a house, you have it pre-treated with soil treatment - opt out of all the baiting schemes.  

If you can find out who pre-treated it, try to deal with them.  Same rules apply, check those guys with the BBB.  Tell them of your experiences, see what they say. You want to get a reaction similar to mine, with the assurance that the house was treated appropriately, and you can ask them about a continuing guarantee.  If they try to hit you up with expensive "boosters," don't go for it.  Take your chances in years to come.  We have some DYNAMITE new chemicals coming out soon, so I wouldn't worry.

As far as the "fill dirt" is concerned, I don't think you'll be using that much to make any difference.  What is the deepest the new fill will be, right next to the foundation?  If it's six inches or under, don't sweat it.  Don't sweat the stump, either.

Nice to hear from you.  Get back to me if you have more questions.

----John



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