As termite swarming season peaks in Florida, homes and businesses need to heed the signs and also make sure that they do business with reputable companies.
Some termite advice from Suncoast Pest Control (toll-free 1-855-786-2847; suncoastpestcontrol.com):
• Seal all holes and cracks around the outside of the home or business.
• Make sure wood is not damp or weakened from water, as Florida termites like to make their homes there.
• Clean up wood debris and remove it, including tree branches and other loose wooden items.
• Check for fecal pellets and mud tubes, indications that an infestation is under way.
Before you contract
In addition to termite protection, homeowners need protection from possibly unscrupulous pest control outfits. Here are some observations from Pete Cardillo of the Cardillo Law Firm, based in Tampa, who specializes in termite damage and property insurance law, prosecuting termite damage claims (toll-free 1-877-642-2873; cardillolaw.com):
• Select a good, medium-sized regional company that's well established in the community.
• Read your contract, including the back, with its disclaimers of liability and arbitration clauses. If there's a dispute later, you'll want to know where you stand.
• Get a repair guarantee. Even seemingly minor termite damage can cost a lot. Extensive damage may require a house to be torn down.
• Make sure the contract spells out annual mandatory, routine inspections of your property, inside and out.
• Cardillo recommends Termidor, a liquid chemical pesticide, as superior to other treatment approaches (www.termidorhome.com; search for pest control companies by ZIP code).