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Well, you can just FORGET about the ones in the yard....  They're supposed to be there!  And how and when your house ‘gets termites' depends on about a thousand variables - and NOT as to whether you saw termites in your yard.  When your house ‘gets' termites depends on these and other factors: WHEN your house was built, WHERE it was built, HOW is it built, WHO built it, WHAT was there before, did the builder pre-treat the structure, WHAT termiticide was used, WHAT changes or additions were made to the original structure, (and then) you need to ask the very same first questions all over again.  

Of course, the local conditions play a very important part in all of this also.  Most all of the United States has a moderate termite pressure, some places more than others.  And there are a few places that have (essentially) zero termite pressure.  And there are even many variations in your very own microclimate.  Two houses, built exactly the alike, across the street from each other, could have wildly different times as to when they pop up with termites.  So you can never tell.  I'm sure you're getting my drift...

So the only way to know if you actually have termites would be by a visual inspection, preferably by someone who is honest and very experienced at performing termite inspections, on structures of that type.  Sometimes it's hard to determine whether what you think is ‘experience,' is actually BS.  For the average layman, it's hard to discern. Scamming is easy to do on some people by some people.  Remember, termite control is an expertise, not an exact science.  Different exterminators will have different treatment specifications, (and, of course, different prices) and all could be valid (or invalid) treatments.  That tends to confuse the issue too.  Needless procedures to drive up the price is a definite no-no.  Lots of guys do it.  Some will skimp on service and/or chemicals too.  

Do I ‘spray' around the perimeter of my house?  And use the bait sticks?  What about that new stuff from Bayer, the granular stuff you spread around the perimeter, does that work?

No, no and no.  

‘Spraying" around your house (by you or anyone else) is not going to do a thing for termites except empty your wallet.  Termites forage underground, so anything you spray or sprinkle around isn't going to do the trick.  It has to be applied underground, in specific ways to work on termites.  Depending on a thousand other factors, of course.

And neither will the termite stakes you buy at Home Depot.  Waste of your money and time, trust me.  It's never that easy, trust me on that too.

So what do you do about it?

You could always have the job ‘professionally' performed NOW, before your house shows up with termites.  But that still wouldn't guarantee that you would not still develop termites!  It could happen despite all your efforts!  If you're really panicky, you could go the ‘baiting route,' and pay out lots of good money to have some disinterested person show up on a regular basis and check all the stations...  (This is REAL BORING work, so don't get ‘inspected' at the end of the day....

I recommend you get associated with a good exterminator, you're going to be needing one, over the years.  Different things are going to pop up, so if you have a name to call, that you know and trust, you'll be ahead of the game.  But this is true with any of the trades, so you'll actually need to do the same for plumbers, etc.  Best way to get these guys (us too!) is to get a referral from someone you know and trust.

Frankly, (and personally) I think you might be just as well off waiting for things to happen...  I would suggest you go through my termite page (if you haven't already) and see if you can get some further sense of what you think you want to do.

And, of course, you can always trust any of the guys on my good guys page, if you ever need to have an exterminator step in and give you a hand.  Just tell them "John from United" sent you.  

Our Termite Message Board will have other ideas, solutions and people in your same or other situations.

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