Need information on termite "protection"

Hello,
We have a five year old wood frame/stucco home in Southern Arizona. Termites are a big problem here, or so "they" say. I have not seen a home tented yet, though I saw many in my hometown in central California.
Our initial treatment (the one the builder had done) is up and we are being pressured to retreat and get another 5 year contract. I refuse to go with the company that did the initial treatment and looked at quite a few companies. They all do the Sentricon baits, chemical barriers (Prevail, I believe), or some combination of the two. Orkin had some serious consumer complaints when I checked online and with the BBB, so I eliminated them. Truly Nolen seems okay, they drill a hole every eighteen inches around your foundation and inject termiticide treatment and then you renew your "insurance" every year for about $175. Their big treatment is $805, half the cost of Orkin's, but they do nothing inside the home and Orkin treats around the plumbing inside.
One company, Five Star, does something different. They drill holes above the foundation and inject a foam barrier into the walls. They say it poisons the wood and the termites can't eat it. Of course, all of the companies badmouth the others and claim their way is the best way.
I should state that there is NO detectible termite activity around our home and it has been inspected by quite a few companies in the course of my research.
I have many questions, but my main concern is this: Is this really necessary, or is the preventative re-treatment and annual "insurance" renewal fee just a way to bilk consumers out of money? It is better to do something on your own, or nothing at all and keep watch for any activity? I don't like having my only source of information come from the people who have a vested interest in pushing the treatments.
I also don't like the fact that they are going to drill quarter sized holes every 18" in my newly laid front brick walk and fill them with concrete.
Much thanks for anyone with any insight.
Dawn
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Dawn wrote:

Different areas have different termites and require different approaches. Hopefully someone will have experience in your area. Have you checked with friends and neighbors?
--
Joseph Meehan

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one is getting a re-treatment. My guess is they just aren't thinking about it, but I'm pretty proactive when it comes to prevention of damage.
We have the subterranean termites here, if that helps. No grass, nothing near the foundation but rocks or bricks, no sprinklers (drip irrigation). Our front and back yards are rock.
Thanks again,
Dawn
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The idea of drilling holes all over the house scares me, and it is really a crap shoot, IMO. Foundation barrier treatment during construction can be iffy, too, since many contractors skimp on chemicals or disturb the barrier after treatment.
Tenting is not done, as far as I know, for subterranean termites. Insurance here is Florida that I have experience with is for future damage after an infestation has been treated.
Best source for info is state extension service, which can give you information on dominant termite species for your locale and information on most effective controls. Read up on prevention and inspection - it isn't rocket science. You can't sterilize the soil under and around your home, and there is always natural cellulose debris that termites eat. I personally prefer a private pest control contractor with good refs and long experience, and don't like subbing it out, but that might be hard to find.
Our 35 y/o condo building has been tented twice, and neighbors on both sides, in much newer buildings, have been tented within past 5 years. Can't get away from them :o) I find them in lots of places, including a wood partition that is exterior and not attached to wood; also palm trees, dead branches of shrubs, etc. The wood partition had subterranean termites coming in because it was damaged by sprinkler hitting it. Repaired sprinkler, scraped away the mud tubes and they didn't come back. When you inspect your home, be sure to inspect inside of crawl spaces and plumbing access panels. Plumbing entries are the favorite.
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Thanks for your advice. We definitely have subterranean termites, so I guess the lack of tenting is not indicative of an absence of termites.
I called my state extension service today and they gave me some information, but it wasn't anything I didn't already know. I wish someone we knew was having treatment, but everyone is taking their chances I guess.
Thanks again,
Dawn
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I have a yearly contract with Western Pest here in NJ. Originally, the house had a contract with them for termites and carpenter ants when I bought it. At the time I bought it, the inspection found carpenter ants and since it was covered, they treated it for free.
Several years later, I decided to drop the yearly coverage. About 2 years later, termites showed up near the front door. They came, drilled holes, treated it, wound up costing me $600. With it I got on board the yearly program again. I think it's costing me about than $85 year. For that, they come and do a quick yearly inspection and will treat the house for free if the termites return. I think it's worth the money and peace of mind.
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Based on further research we've decided not to do it here. It will cost us $800 to have the soil treated and $175 a year to renew (they'll inspect once a year). That means they'll treat anything for free, but repairs will be our responsibility.
Too rich for my blood. We'll save that money and if and when we get termite activity, we'll treat. We will have someone come out once a year to inspect.
Thanks for your input, though. If it were as cheap as yours we might do it.
Dawn
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Dawn wrote:

We had the full Terminex treatment, and I was told the new chemicals only last 7-8 years, then decompose. Also, we have so much water flowing around and through the soil near the foundation, that I assumed the chemical would at least wash off. We paid the insurance for 7 years and, SURE ENOUGH, the termintes were back at the same spot. Terminex then came and gave a partial (only) retreatment. (After arguing at the start that I had to have full initial treatment of a sprawling home, even though the infestation was at one extremee end, it then became good enough for them to do partial retreatment for warranty work.) So we do pay the insurance, however, this is a high risk area: lots of tree cover, lots of downed trees, lots of wetness around the foundation. My next seven year anniversary is approaching: will the termintes come back??????
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Dawn wrote:

Another thought, which you probably know, is the hazard of having a stucco coat that goes below grade so that subterranean termites can go up the inside surface and the mud tubes are hidden from view. Should be minimum 6" (some authorities say more) between soil and any wood.
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We have a good 6-8", so no worries there. Plus, we're in Arizona, so only rocks go against the foundation. No plants or water anywhere near it.
Thanks,
Dawn
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