The most frequent kinds of termites found in Florida are drywood termites, dampwood termites, and subterranean termites.
Dampwood termites like wet wood, thus they are most frequently found in areas of the country where there are wet forests. Drywood termites, on the other hand prefer dry wood, which is commonly found in older homes and areas that have trees that are not in damp areas. Subterranean termites like moisture, preferably soil. Subterranean termites are known to moist environments, live mainly in the soil and are the most destructive species.
There are various ways to prevent and detect termites, but the best prevention is to have your home inspected once a year by a pest control professional.
Other preventative measures are: to keep moisture away from the exterior of your home. Mulch, flower beds, and firewood create moisture. Additionally, don’t store items in your crawl space. Crawl spaces are moist simply because they do not get sunlight; therefore, any items stored in a crawl space will most likely become moist. Try to keep air flowing through your crawl space as much as possible.
Again, the best defense is a good offense. Have your home inspected by a professional at least once a year. Prompt treatment and regular inspections may save thousands of dollars in damage repair.
Not all pest control companies are alike. Some provide great service and use the most up-to-date treatments, others have been accused of using toxic chemicals, failing to retreat, faking company reports, and falsifying records. There have been complaints against some termite protection providers who failed to follow through on their contract and left homeowners with termite-damaged homes.
When a plaintiff files a lawsuit against a pest control company, the he or she must show that the exterminator was negligent, breached the contract, or committed fraud. Sometimes, a lawsuit might allege inadequate termite treatment, inadequate inspections, and unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Some pest control companies are huge corporations with the money to hire attorneys to fight lawsuits for them; they often drag out the lawsuits for years leaving clients with termite-damaged homes and no money to allow them to move.
Many termite contracts specifically exclude any damage that results from termites, even while promising the customer that they guarantee termite protection; instead, they often offer to retreat the property.
Some cases on this issue are listed below:
The court in Orkin Exterminating Co. v Callaway (1972) 126 Ga. App. 431, 190 SE2d 827, held that the evidence supported a finding that the pesticide company was negligent in its failure to eradicate pests in the owner’s residence under a contract for lifetime control where it made two inspections during the period after treatment when at least some of the damage occurred, reporting after each that the house was in satisfactory condition when there was in fact widespread damage and clouds of swarming termites. The court noted that the homeowner was never informed that the construction of her house inhibited the type of treatment and control for which she had paid. Negligence may be proved by circumstantial evidence where there is an inference of a cause-and-effect relationship which preponderates toward the theory that the damage resulted from the defendant’s negligence rather than to any other reasonable hypothesis, the court concluded.
The court in Higdon v Orkin Exterminating Co. (1982, La App) 412 So 2d 720, cert den (La) 416 So 2d 117, affirming a judgment for a homeowner against an exterminating company for damage done to his home by termite infestation, held that where there was evidence that the exterminating company had agreed to protect the home against invasion and infestation by subterranean termites, and where the homeowner later discovered live termite damage in several areas of his home and called the exterminating company to investigate, with the result that the exterminating company’s supervisor reported that he found no live termites, where upon the homeowner hired another exterminator to treat the home because the problem persisted, the evidence was sufficient for the jury to conclude that the termite damage occurred after the date of the contract and that the exterminating company was liable.
In action brought by homeowners against exterminators for breach of contract for protection of home against termites, trial court properly determined that exterminator breached contract and was liable for mental anguish as result of breach, where termite treatment was improperly applied at least three times, every room in house with exception of two bathrooms was infested with termites, damage to home was so pervasive that repair necessitated replacement of over half of interior walls, exterminator’s agents were needlessly dilatory in handling claim, and where, under circumstances of breach, exterminator’s conduct could reasonably be foreseen to affect solicitude and well-being of homeowners and thus cause of mental anguish. Orkin Exterminating Co. v Donavan (1988, Ala) 519 So 2d 1330
In the mid-1990’s in Florida, Attorney General Bob Butterworth came to an agreement with Terminix International Company Limited Partnership to settle allegations that the company failed to provide consumers with promised services at various Florida locations. “Our joint investigation revealed that in many instances, Terminix failed to fully treat properties for subterranean termites despite its promise to lay down a complete protective barrier against the destructive insects,” Crawford said. “On the properties we inspected, we found that as many as 25 percent of the holes drilled for chemical injection were in effect dummy holes with no chemicals applied,” Butterworth added. “We also found supposedly treated areas where the company had drilled no holes at all.”
Bob Crawford, who was the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at the time, stated, “On the properties we inspected, we found as many as 25 percent of the holes drilled for chemical injection were in effect dummy holes with no chemicals applied…”