“Right after that first heavy spring rain, people will notice termites swarming around their homes,” said Dave Wallace, owner of Wallace Termite and Construction in Antioch. “They live in the ground and the moisture brings them up to the surface. Unfortunately, by the time you find them coming out of the house, you already have a problem.”
Each year, termites cause hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to homes; eating their way through wooden structures of all sizes and shapes. In East County, the most common type of termite is the subterranean variety – a small black pest with four wings that resembles a flying ant.
“I refer to them as Mother’s Nature’s way of disposing of old, rotten dead wood,” said Wallace. “And your house is one big piece of dead wood.”
But nature’s tenacious pests won’t destroy a home overnight, and with a little pro-active maintenance, the damage can be minimized. “Most people do inspections only when they’re selling their homes,” said Wallace. “But we recommend doing an inspection every two years as part of your general property maintenance. If you keep up with it, you won’t have as much of a problem.”
When it comes to treating termites, Wallace warns consumers not to be fooled by gimmicky sales pitches or organic products. It’s the tried-and-true method that works. “Generally speaking, traditional pesticides are the best,” said Wallace. “Orange oil is a crock – it doesn’t work. If you ever look at a treatment report, it will say that orange treatments were used in conjunction with other chemicals, not alone.
“There are all kinds of things you can do to try and treat termites. You can spray them with salt water, you can use Raid. But those methods aren’t going to get rid of your problem. For that, you need a professional.”
Since 1985, the family-owned and operated business has treated local homes for termites as well as other pests, and has taught homeowners not only how to eradicate the pest, but prevent initial damage as well.
Wallace’s relationship with termites dates back to his childhood. “I remember when I was about 8 years old, we had a missionary come to our church and serve us fried termites,” laughed Wallace. “And they were good. They tasted like bacon. I guess you could say termites have been a lifelong interest for me.”
Today, Wallace and his crew – including wife Jean – stay away from termites as a culinary delicacy, opting instead to help area homeowners avoid the damage the delicious but deadly pests can inflict.
“The bottom line is that people need to have their homes inspected on a regular basis and set up a scheduled maintenance plan,” said Wallace, who added that customers should be sure the companies they use are licensed. “There is no way to avoid getting termites, especially if you have a home in the area that was built on an orchard or other landscaping, but you can minimize the damage.”
Wallace Termite and Construction is located at 331 Sunset Drive, Unit D in Antioch. For additional information, call 925-706-2424.