(Scorpion in my cereal bowl photo at bottom of post.)

It is starting.

The warm weather is turning winters corner, and careening into us early next week, up to 78 degrees.

Good that I am finishing my window and wall around it block project before heat becomes a diverting issue. In summer, as they say in the southwest; “But it’s a dry heat.” Then someone might say; “Yea., but so is a blowtorch!” or “Yea, and so is a hot oven. Doesn’t mean I want to live in it.”

That said; I have been in 80 degree weather at near 80 dew-point, that will feel more uncomfortable than a dry 105. The heat index is a scale created to suggest comfort of ones bodies evaporative cooling abilities, and how temperature and humidity feel in regard to how well my bodies air conditioner can work. It was not made up by westerners to make the people they left behind back east to feel bad. They can feel bad all by themselves. Thank you very much.

Here in high sun and hot day land, in construction, people may start work at sunrise in many places. When that sun starts getting up around 4:30 am, people will be at the job up on the roof or out at the wall or pavement. It gives you a long afternoon off, but you can be so drained by being out there still at 1pm, probably after just 5 hours sleep, that those afternoons of coffee and staring out in the distance drinking in times are a vacation. You wish! There are home projects to do. Get up on the roof and get the “swamp” coolers going.


If you do ever move to Tucson I have some advice if you are buying a home. Tucson’s natural disaster is—-termites. They are in ways weather related.

Use both gutters (if possible) and have the ground slope away from your home. Try to keep the roof in good condition, as to not let water into the wood. Most building codes try to cover these issues (except gutters), but you unfortunately may need to have a termite companies service contract to make sure.


If you are building new, the ground gets treated under slab-code. There are many non wood, or treated wood alternatives, even heavily reinforced monolithic slabs that will not crack (fingers crossed) and let the subterranean little munchers in. Their tunnels can reach up from the ground to a second story in a garage or a plants shade right at a wall, so you do have to keep an eye out for quarter inch dirt lines. Termites are possibly scurrying inside in the controlled atmosphere until they reach something the queen likes.

I suggest gutters since I have seen many a home have its footings crack from the year by year soaking parts of them get by the occasional pooling or runoffs from storms. Get that water some feet away from your homes foundation.

If building during the beginning of monsoon season when the dry wood termites spread, if you are using plain old wood, don’t let them leave it out in the open where it will get extra wet. Probably should cover it and even have a pro spray a borax solution (or whatever they use), or find out how to do this yourself. Every board could end up with a potential “dry wood”queen in it.

A company can come and spray all the boards once the roof is dried in if you feel no one is paying attention to the strange ants walking around, or circular pencil lead round holes showing up. Salt and pepper like small sand on the floor can mean dry wood termites are already enjoying your hospitality. There is an easy finger and palm test to distinguish termite debris from crickets kind, which look a bit similar.


If you get your periphery walls and plumbing inlet areas treated for subterranean, don’t freak out days later and call your lawyer (yet) when stalactite trails start descending over your bed. The bugs have been cut off from mom and are trying to figure a safe way from where they are stranded. Remember, termites are most helpful in removing wood debris from the ground. You just don’t want them thinking your house is really a dead tree laying around your new 60” HDTV.

I also believe that most pluming ground access has (possibly code) rubber like flanges that act to keep things from coming through what in olden days was a dirt opening in the floor. You might be able to get these retroed in when a plumber does work there.

The good news? Many old buildings that have been well protected never get termites because the woods moisture content, in these deserts, is generally too low for them to live in. Yea!

If you do end up with termites, they can be terminated. Bad damage that you might see can just as quickly be absent from the rest of your home. Don’t completely freak out until a thorough assessment is done by a professional. Then have tissues at hand.


Dry wood type (the last I have heard) require your home to be tented and gassed. They are a larger termite somewhat independent of ground moisture, but usually have quite relatively smaller colonies than subterranean ones.

I am not otherwise a professional in this area, once worked at termite home restoration to make homes look like they did before they were torn apart to get the bugs out, even cabinets!(15 years ago). It is kinda creepy when you find out termites were crawling all over just behind your wonderful sink tile!

This photo shows dry wood termites evidence.  It looks like sawdust, a kind of salt and pepper.  As I understand it, it is compressed wood.  Cricket droppings are a bit similar.  Those tend to be darker, larger, and squish much easier when rolled between fingers or in the palm.  If what you have looks quite like this photo, it is likely dry wood termites.  They have or had an electrical way of dealing with them in isolated small areas.  You will likely notice a small pencil lead like hole above the sawdust pile, it can look like some nail hole.  They eject this material out of there.




If you have a nice wood burning fireplace, make sure the wood you bring in and store is bug free. Best to leave most of it outside until needed. But always keep an eye out for scorpions. I have seen hundreds but never been bit or know of someone who has. One was in my bowl of cereal once last year! I felt it brush my finger as it came out of the box. It was the same color as the cereal. I took a picture of that. I don’t have a scanner, so will find the photo and put it on this post whenever I get a chance to.

Here is that picture of a photo




Now lets go run blindfolded through the cactus patch!