Termite Season Is Here Early

Termite season is here in East Texas. A relatively warm winter and a wet spring have created perfect conditions for termites to move into your home and eat away at it. Every year in the U.S., termites cause more than $2 billion in property damage, repair, and control costs.

A house in Lindale was recently under attack by thousands of termites.

"You can see the trails going through here," Tony Santangelo, owner of Innovative Pest Control in Lindale, said. "That's these trails right there, just under the paint."

The termites eat at the wood and the studs behind the walls, hollowing out baseboards and causing paint to peel.

"Termites are always associated with dirt," Santangelo said.

Santangelo says termites bring dirt with them to keep moisture inside the walls so the termites can survive.

"You can simply lean your hand on the wall," Santangelo said. "And if your hand goes through it, that's a pretty good sign you got termites."

Normally, the wall trim is solid, but after termites have had their meal, a light jab with a knife will go right through.

It took five months to kill the termite colony in the house we visited. It's one of the worst cases Santangelo has seen in East Texas. If a problem like that goes un-treated, termites can cause thousands of dollars in damage, like in this case, or even take down an entire house.

"They can ruin the structural integrity of a structure, if they get into a place that's a wall, a low-bearing wall or something of that nature," Santangelo said.

There are two ways professionals treat termites: the barrier system, which can cost several hundred to more than $1,000; and the new baiting system, Sentricon, which can also be used to pre-treat a home before it's attacked. The baiting system will cost upward of $1,000.

Pest control experts say peak termite season is expected to last through the summer. But they say termites work year-round, so you should constantly be on the look-out.

Julie Tam, reporting.